John is a forty-two year old husband and father of three. John has worked for the same company since college and has provided well for his family. Last June, hard economic times hit his community and John was informed that his position at work would be eliminated within three months. He has now been unemployed for several months and his savings are gone. John never thought of himself as a worrier, but for the first time he is facing uncertain times with great fear. He tries to reason that he is only concerned and not worried, but he is finding it difficult to concentrate, and even to do the most basic tasks around the house. His relationship with his wife has become strained, and the only topic of conversation seems to be about the future and money. John has just begun to realize that worry is beginning to affect every area of his life.

Becky is a single mother of two children ages twelve and fourteen. Recently, after a routine physical, Becky learned that a nagging pain in her left shoulder was more serious than expected. While test results are still pending, she fears that her doctor suspects cancer. Her mind goes immediately to her children. If she is diagnosed with cancer, how will her children make it? Even if she survives cancer, how can they as a family endure whatever treatments will be necessary? She cannot miss work and has no extra money for increased costs of medical care. Suddenly she finds herself in a panic. Sometimes, almost without warning, she begins to sweat, her breathing is labored, her chest hurts, and her vision is blurred. The first time it happened she went to the emergency room. She has since been diagnosed with “panic attack syndrome.” Now she is worried about worrying. The cycle seems vicious, and she wants desperately to find a solution that will break the cycle.

Fear and Worry

Whether struggling with major potentially life altering circumstances or minor circumstances of irritation, fear and worry can become so common in our lives that they affect our relationships, jobs, families, and more.

Fear and worry are both closely related and fall in varied ways on the same spectrum of feelings. They sometimes overlap and can be defined based on their intensity. Fear is the emotion of serious distress, which is aroused by impending danger, evil, or pain – whether real or imagined. Worry is to feel uneasy or anxious about something. Both fear and worry can be experienced over current circumstances, or over what one might believe the future holds. However we define it, we all seem to know when it is present. All is not well, peace seems evasive, uneasiness sets in, and a desire for relief is sought.

What’s the Source of Our Fear and Worry?

The Bible leaves no room for debate. The source of fear and worry is unbelief. The unbelief is specific, spelled out for us by Jesus. When we fail to believe that God is for us, that He will take care of us, has our future in His hands, and is with us right now, we cave in to fear and worry. Jesus says that the root of worry is inadequate faith in our Father’s future grace (Matthew 6:30). As unbelief gets the upper hand in our hearts, one of the effects is anxiety. The root cause of anxiety is a failure to trust all that God has promised to be for us in Jesus.

What’s the Solution?

Believe. What has God promised, and what has he revealed to us that helps us with this problem of fear and worry? Jesus teaches us that we have a God who cares deeply for us, knows all of our needs, meets our needs, and frees us from fear and worry so that we may seek him with all of our heart.

Matthew 6 – Jesus Comforts Those Who Fear and Worry

  • Jesus, knowing our tendency to worry, commands that we not give into such temptation: “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious” (Matthew 6:25)
  • Jesus reminds us of His Father’s care over all of His creatures as He provides food for them, then reminds us: “Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:26)
  • Jesus adds that His Father concerns Himself with our span of life and the covering of our bodies with an illustration of His abundant provision for His creation, then says: “will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 6:30)
  • Jesus reveals that the Father knows all things, including what we need in life; nothing escapes His notice, nothing catches Him off-guard, and nothing is beyond His ability to provide: “and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all” (Matthew 6:32)
  • When worry and fear are held at bay, Jesus reminds us that we will be free to live as God created us, to live our lives for His glory, for His kingdom: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
  • Worry and fear over the future is still worry and fear. Jesus tells us that even tomorrow is in God’s loving hand: “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow” (Matthew 6:34)
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    Does This Really Apply to My Fear and Worry?

    Yes. If you belong to God as one of His dear children, you can be assured that He loves and cares for you today as He has for others so many years ago. God sent His Son into the world to live a perfect life, to die as a sacrifice for our sins, and to be raised from the dead, defeating death and proving His deity, in order that we may believe in Him and be the recipients of His many promises. God is the same “yesterday, today and forever,” and has said, “He will not change.” His loving kindness extends to you as His child, and in that you can experience great joy.

    You may be thinking, “I know that God loves me and wants to provide for me and give me good things, but is He really able to do all that He says He will do?” The simple answer to this question is a definite “Yes!” In fact, God is the only One that we can absolutely trust for all that He says He will do. If God has promised, He will deliver (2 Corinthians 1:20). His promises are as sure as His name, for His power is inescapable. Romans 1:20 speaks of His power as eternal, and Titus 1:20 reveals to us that His promises are sure – He cannot lie. With all power in His hands and the surety of His promises, He is a trustworthy God in whom we can fully trust.

    Will you begin today to put off unbelief, to trust God for His provision and His power for your current and future needs? Jesus was clear: God is in control. He cares for His children, He knows their needs, and gives His grace freely. By His grace and the power of His might, you too can overcome the many temptations of fear and worry.

    While God is faithful to change hearts and minds in the lives of His children, we also understand that change is a process, and often times far from simplistic or quick. Habits of life and thinking tend to change over time as the Holy Spirit works in hearts. This process of change is called “progressive sanctification.” It can be helpful and sometimes necessary to seek help from other Christians who can faithfully lead and walk with us, providing biblical encouragement and instruction along the way for the implementation of God-honoring, Christ-centered change. If you are struggling with life’s challenges, we would encourage you to seek help from your pastor, a godly friend, or a biblical counselor who is committed to seeking answers from God’s Word. To find a biblical counselor you can contact us or visit biblicalcounseling.com to find a counselor in your area.

    Lyndon was born in Midland, TX and grew up in Houston, TX. After meeting Tammy in college, they married in 1984. He and Tammy have five children, all boys, and three daughters-in-law. Lyndon pastored a church in Canton, TX for five years and has been at GBFC since 2003. He is a member of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors and the director of Grace Biblical Counseling Ministries.

    Breaking the Grip of Fear and Worry

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