40 million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, making it the most common mental illness in our country. That is 18% of our entire population! Talk about a huge capitalization and market range for Satan to begin his work! It is the man trying to bury himself in a newspaper while riding a metro. It is the woman crying from her desk because she is so overwhelmed. It is the child slitting their wrists in the school bathroom. It is 40 million of our brothers and sisters. It is even the writer of this blog. While there are people who probably are in need of medication and treatment, I believe that my anxiety is an issue of the heart not a depravation or imbalance of any chemical. I believe that my anxiety is a sin and not a condition. Maybe you will be able to relate.
Our society has gone to great lengths to convince us that every struggle or trial, resulting in anxiety, is a condition that needs to be managed. Because we live in a sinful world there will always be things we can choose to be anxious about. In contrast, because God never changes and is always good there will be things that we can choose to rejoice over. So, lets play a round of ‘sin or condition?’. If you choose condition you will have to carry the weight of your anxiety. You will have to figure out how to manage it all on your own, day in and day out. You will be dependent on your own abilities. For the rest of your life you will live in fear and frustration in trying to deal with this issue finding yourself always falling short. Now, lets say that you decide to go with sin instead. If anxiety is a sin in your life then Jesus has already paid for it. Instead of working to manage and treat it like a condition, you can destroy it because Christ has overcome sin! You can turn to the hope and peace in God’s word on days that seem to be more difficult. For the rest of your life you will have the victory, the peace, the security, and the freedom because of the work of your savior. You can choose how you will respond to life’s hardships. You can choose to look at your circumstances in light of your own abilities or in light of the work that Jesus has finished. “Some people think anxiety is a condition to be managed but it is really a sin to be repentant of.”
I don’t want to make this seem like an easy thing to conquer. If you struggle with being anxious, and we all do in certain times in our lives, then you need to know that it will be a challenge. It will be a temptation to pick up the weight again. This hits me right in the heart. I had convinced myself that my trials and my pain had given me the right to be anxious. I believed that my anxiety was a condition. It is something that I will need to be habitually repentant of. This doesn’t mean abusing God’s grace as an excuse to fall back into sin. It means that in temptation and in trials I will fall short of what I am supposed to do but I can maintain hope because our God is merciful. It means that I will live a life striving after God knowing that when I stray I can turn back to him in a state of forgiveness. Habitual repentance is not an excuse to sin. Rather, it is a humility and confidence in Christ. Start by reminding yourself that you are undeserving and incredibly small, and when temptation starts remind Satan that inside of you is his own defeat because of Christ’s work. I encourage you to spend some time with Christ on this issue. Read through Philippians 4:4-13 (see below) and allow God to convict your heart, challenge you to greater things, and grant you a life of peace in him. Read through it several times and focus on each verse specifically. God will speak to you! Drop self pity, anxiety, fear and run to him in repentance.
Philippians 4:4-13 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. 10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.