Life gives us so many reasons to be anxious. From world events, natural disasters, crime, and politics, to health concerns, broken relationships, and financial instability. Not to mention our day-to-day living filled with school, work, home life, appointments, tests, deadlines, and other unspoken pressures.
But have you ever heard someone say that Christians shouldn’t have anxiety? Or that people with anxiety are weak and don’t have enough faith? Or that anxiety is a sin? I’ve even read articles stating that there is no place for God in the mental health space.
If you are struggling with anxiety, know someone who is, or have ever encountered any of the statements above, this post is meant to equip and encourage you with biblical truth regarding the topic. We will dive in to see exactly what the bible says about anxiety and how we as Christians should approach the subject.
This post may contain affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure here.
- What is Anxiety?
- What Does the Bible Say About Anxiety?
- God is Bigger Than Our Anxiety!
What is Anxiety?
Before we get into Scripture, let’s first look at what anxiety is from a medical and scientific perspective, what causes it, how it manifests, and a few statistics regarding how many people are affected by it.
The Webster’s Dictionary defines anxiety as:
- an apprehensive feeling of worry, nervousness, concern, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome
- distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune
According to Medical News Today, anxiety itself is not a medical condition, but a natural emotion that is vital for survival when an individual finds themselves facing danger. It is something that we all experience at one point or another, and it is a normal and often healthy emotion.
For example, when in the face of impending danger, it’s good to feel anxious, as anxiety triggers our bodies to respond correctly (“fight-or flight”) and can often save our lives.
General anxiety can however, produce a host of unwanted physical and emotional effects including, but not limited to:
- Excessive worry
- Trouble sleeping
- Trouble concentrating
- Muscle tension
- Panic attacks
- Onset of phobias
An anxiety disorder can develop when a person regularly feels exaggerated levels of anxiety that are out-of-proportion to the trigger that causes it. Once anxiety reaches the stage of a disorder, it can interfere with daily life functions.
There are several types of anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, phobias, and social anxiety. Anxiety disorders can be caused by environmental stressors, genetics, medical factors (it can be a symptom of another disease), brain chemistry, and withdrawal from an illicit substance.
Because people don’t control their body’s reaction to these outside stressors, anxiety disorders are often uncontrollable. In other words, it is not something an individual can simply turn on and off at will.
According to Medical News Today, in 2019, 301 million people around the world (40 million in the United States) were living with an anxiety disorder, including 58 million children and adolescents. In the US, it is the most common group of mental illnesses in the country and is highly treatable. However, only 36.9% of people with an anxiety disorder receive treatment.
Estimates suggest that females are more affected than men. Symptoms and effective coping strategies can differ between the sexes as well.
Considering the definitions, causes, effects, and statistics listed above, you can see that anxiety is a common, world-wide issue with many layers. The good news is that God doesn’t leave us in the dark. The Bible does speak about anxiety and provides some guidance on how to deal with this common struggle.
What Does the Bible Say About Anxiety?
So, how many times is anxiety mentioned in the Bible?
Well, depending on the version of the Bible that you read, the word anxiety or anxious is only found less than 15 times. And some versions, like The King James, don’t use the words at all.
The Bible does, however, have a lot to say about anxiety. Oftentimes synonyms like worry, trouble, heaviness, distress, and cares are used in its place. And the causes and examples of anxiety in the bible are numerous.
In this post, I have summed up what the bible says about anxiety in six key points.
1. God Cares About Our Mental Health
Since anxiety falls under the category of mental health, I thought it would be best to start by addressing the common misconception that there is no place for God in the mental health space.
Note that in Scripture the words heart, mind, spirit, and soul are used interchangeably to denote the same thing.
The Word of God teaches that we are all born as sinners, and therefore by nature, have sinful hearts/minds.
- Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Psalm 51:5 NIV
- The heart is deceitful above all things and it is extremely sick; Who can understand it fully and know its secret motives? Jeremiah 17:9 AMP
- For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. Matthew 15:19 NIV
- For as he thinks in his heart, so is he [in behavior—one who manipulates]. He says to you, “Eat and drink,” Yet his heart is not with you [but it is begrudging the cost]. Proverbs 23:7 AMP
As Christians, we know that a relationship with Jesus is the only thing that can overcome this “sinful heart/mind problem” that we are all born with. In fact, we don’t even enter a relationship with Christ without first having a change of heart/mind that God initiates!
- At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:3-7 NIV
- Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation. Colossians 1:21-22 NIV
- The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:15-16 NIV
Once we receive the mind of Christ as a result of our salvation, through the power of the Holy Spirit we have the capability to become more like Christ and live in obedience to Him. This, however, does not happen overnight. The Bible is clear that the more time we spend in God’s Word, the more our minds can be transformed to be Christ-like.
- Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 NIV
- You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV
With such an emphasis on transformation at a heart/mind level, it is evident that God cares about our minds. God knows every thought that we have and how deceitful our hearts can be. Which is why in all of Scripture, God is always after our obedience and service to Him on a heart/mind level:
- You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. Psalm 139:1-2 NIV
- But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7 AMP
- All the ways of a man are clean and innocent in his own eyes [and he may see nothing wrong with his actions], But the Lord weighs and examines the motives and intents [of the heart and knows the truth]. Proverbs 16:2 AMP
- Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ Matthew 22:37 NIV
- Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2 NIV
- In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. Philippians 2:5 NIV
- And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8 NLT
As you can see from Scripture, to say that God doesn’t care about our mental well-being or what goes on in our minds as Christians, is simply unbiblical.
2. Anxiety is Real
As human beings in a fallen and sinful world, there are literally hundreds of emotions that we can exhibit at one point or another. And that includes everything from excitement, joy, delight, and calmness, to annoyance, loneliness, nervousness, fear, doubt, stress, and anxiety.
We learned earlier in this post, from a medical and scientific standpoint, that anxiety can sometimes be a healthy emotion that saves our lives, as well as an unhealthy emotion that produces a host of negative unwanted physical and emotional effects.
The same holds true from a biblical perspective regarding anxiety as well:
I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord. But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband. I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.1 Corinthians 7:32-35 ESV
In this passage, Paul is writing to the church at Corinth on the topic of marriage and the benefits of staying single versus getting married. He says a single person can be anxious about the things of God and focus solely on what pleases Him and living a godly life. While a married person by nature will have divided interests as they will be anxious about how to please their spouse, as well as God.
This type of anxiety or concern is an example of the healthy kind of anxiety, as Scripture does teach us to be concerned about the affairs of our households (Ephesians 5:24-26, Colossians 3:18-20). In this case, the anxiety isn’t a sinful fear but a deep, proper concern. We will and oftentimes should exhibit some anxiousness or anxiety when it comes to the well-being of our spouse, children, and family.
Another good example of this is how Mary and Joseph responded when they lost track of twelve-year-old Jesus in a crowd:
When they saw Him, they were overwhelmed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You treated us like this? Listen, your father and I have been [greatly distressed and] anxiously looking for You.”Luke 2:48 AMP
In this verse from Proverbs, we see the unhealthy kind of anxiety:
Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.Proverbs 12:25 ESV
This verse shows us that anxiety can indeed be a significant negative force in our lives, to the point that it weighs our heart and mind down. Have you ever felt so anxious, that you believed your situation was completely hopeless? Or so worried about something that you felt the crushing weight of despair that led to a full-blown anxiety attack?
That is literally how anxiety can affect us. Thankfully, this same Scripture teaches that a good word of encouragement can help to dispel anxiety, which we will get to a bit later in this post. But for now, it is important to note that we experience the effects of the fall of man daily, which is the spiritual root of anxiety for everyone.
Regardless of the individual triggers that we may have, anxiety is a very real and natural emotion that we exhibit as the result of our sinful nature, which is corrupted with unbelief in our hearts/minds.
So, is anxiety real? Yes. Can a Christian struggle with anxiety? Yes.
3. Everyone Experiences Anxiety to Some Degree
Everyone (Christians and non-Christians alike) experiences anxiety to some degree. And the Bible is full of examples! Let’s take a quick look at some well-known people from Scripture who experienced and struggled with anxiety.
Called to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and into the promised land, Moses often had feelings of anxiety in his leadership role as he dealt with the complaints and sins of the people. In fact, he got so overwhelmed once that he approached God in this way:
Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.”Numbers 11:13-15 NIV
As Israel’s most illustrious king, David was described by God to be a “a man after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22). Known for killing the giant Goliath in his youth, and for being a great warrior and leader, David wrote several well-known psalms of praise to God. However, even kings experience anxiety. From faintness of heart due to suffering, adversity, and years spent on the run for his life, many sleepless nights, tears, fear, and numbness, David wrote many Psalms in which he expressed the anxiety he felt during trying times in his life:
- I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes. Psalm 6:6-7 NIV
- How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Psalm 13:1-2 NIV
- Look and see, there is no one at my right hand; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life. Psalm 142:4 NIV
- The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in the darkness like those long dead. So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed. Psalm 143:3-4 NIV
As a test of faith allowed by God, Job loses his material possessions and children all in the same day. Then he suffered health issues when he was afflicted with painful sores all over his body. Although Job did not curse God or turn his back on his faith, he experienced much distress regarding the situation and even cursed the day he was born:
- After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. Job 3:1 NIV
- Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb? Job 3:11 NIV
- What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me. I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil.” Job 3:25-26 NIV
Elijah was a prophet of God whom God used to demonstrate his power in Israel on several occasions. However, not shortly after one of the greatest demonstrations of God’s power on Mount Carmel, Elijah received news of a death threat on his life, and fear and anxiety crept in immediately:
Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there. Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.”1 Kings 19:3-4 NLT
The Apostle Paul
Paul was called directly by God to be a minister of the gospel in the first century church. He was a great evangelist, preacher, and teacher, and wrote the bulk of the New Testament. In his letters to several of the churches he planted, he often wrote about his many trials and tribulations that he suffered as a result of preaching the gospel. Although he endured and never stopped ministering for Christ, Paul too had his moments of distress and despair:
- For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 2 Corinthians 1:8 ESV
- Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. 2 Corinthians 11:24-28 ESV
As you can see, from these examples of anxiety in the Bible, that even these faithful servants of God struggled at one point or another. Whether due to emotional despair, ongoing trials, fear of death, or stressful leadership roles, anxiety can be easily triggered.
I personally love reading how these influential people in Scripture struggled with anxiety. It is a great reminder that they were human and susceptible to severe pressures just like us. If you know their stories, you know that though they suffered, they recovered and went on with their lives, serving God. They were able to do their God-given tasks and fulfill their mission, even though they walked through seasons of anxiety.
And in the next section we will look at how they were able to push through during those difficult times when anxiety arose.
4. We Are to Go to God About Our Anxiety
So, how does God want us to deal with our anxiety as Christians? He wants us to go to Him about it!
The demands of this world and even religion will have us nearly killing ourselves trying to conquer life and find peace in the midst of chaos. Which in essence triggers a lot of our anxieties, stress, depression, sadness, frustration, etc.
God knew that this was an impossible burden to carry, as we cannot attain true rest or peace in this life on our own. Rest for our hearts/minds is ONLY found in Jesus, and as Christians, we have that rest already!
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”Matthew 11:28-30 NIV
We must keep on coming to Him daily to enjoy the ongoing benefits of the rest that God provides. And we do that by going to Him with our anxieties, leaning on His Word, and learning to trust in Him. And we are to do so from a heart posture of humility that recognizes that God is both sovereign and good.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.1 Peter 5:6-7 NIV
The Bible never promises that bad things won’t happen to us in this life. In fact, oftentimes God allows difficult situations and circumstances to teach us to depend on Him, and to remind us that He cares for us. As Christians, we have the privilege of being able to go to God and give Him every one of our anxieties as they arise.
This is not about pretending that things don’t affect or hurt us. Rather, it’s about learning how to run to God when hardships and trials happen. It’s going to God and telling him exactly how you feel, presenting your frustrations, fears, confusion, and sadness to Him. It’s about being honest with God about your emotions and asking Him for help – just like our bible heroes did in all the passages we looked at earlier.
This is why, after experiencing his own anxiety, Paul could write this to the Philippian church:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
What a turnaround from the anxious thoughts about despairing of life that Paul had in the verses we looked at earlier! And the fact that he wrote this letter while he was imprisoned in Rome for preaching the gospel adds another layer of appreciation for his words. Here we see the difference it can truly make in one’s mindset when we give our anxieties to God.
How often do we fail to benefit from the rest we have been given through Christ, by trying to handle our problems on our own? By seeking help from everyone but God, or by trying to numb our pain and anxieties with alcohol, drugs, sex, social media, the internet, TV, gambling, etc.
God doesn’t want us to allow anything to disrupt the rest, joy, and peace He has given us. Instead of worrying, being anxious, and pursuing our own means of resolution, God wants us to learn to pray and seek Him more.
Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.Hebrews 4:16 NIV
Like Paul, both Job and David had a shift in mindset as well, once they gave their anxieties to God:
- David – Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. Psalm 55:22 NIV
- Job – I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. Job 19:25 NIV
- Job – Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him. Job 13:15 NIV
Staying anxious and constantly worrying NEVER resolves anything. And oftentimes, there is actually very little we can do to help our situations anyway, so why not just surrender it to God. One of my favorite passages says it best:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.Matthew 6:25-34 ESV
Placing our focus on Christ’s kingdom helps us to take our eyes off our own troubles and circumstances, which are often the source of our anxieties. This does not mean that we should ignore our troubles as if they didn’t exist, but it does mean that shifting our focus can help keep us from being anxious and worrying about them.
There is no one who, when faced with some new problem, obstacle, difficulty, threat, or danger, will never have anxiety pop up in their life. And we don’t have to feel shame when we can’t quiet our anxieties on our own. We were never meant to handle them alone!
We can’t prevent the anxious thoughts from entering our minds, but we can practice the right response when they do. In fact, since we have the mind of Christ, we are equipped to fight against ALL mental and emotional strongholds (i.e. anxiety, depression, doubt, fear, sadness, loneliness, worry, stress, frustration, etc.)
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NIV
The godly opposite of anxiety is peace and contentment rooted in trust in God’s Word. And that is what God wants for us!
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.Colossians 3:15 NIV
NOTE: This does NOT mean that there is no place for therapy or medication when it comes to dealing with anxiety. Whether we experience general anxiety, or if we are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, God should ALWAYS be a key part of our coping and healing process! Period.
To rely solely on any and everything else (therapy, medication, and other resources), while excluding God from the process altogether, is not only detrimental for us as Christians, but it’s also sinful. And that is what we will address in the next section – what happens when we don’t go to God about our anxieties.
5. Anxiety Can Become Sinful
We’ve seen that we can’t avoid anxiety. But is anxiety a sin? Is anxiety a lack of faith?
We have already seen how anxiety can be an important emotional and necessary response in some instances. So in and of itself, anxiety is not a sin. However, just like with anger as taught in the bible, anxiety can become sinful depending upon what we do with it when it arises.
The reality is that oftentimes, we don’t go to God about our anxieties. In fact, if we are being honest, sometimes we choose to sit in our anxiety, letting it fester and grow. Then we seek help or comfort from everyone and everything but God.
When we don’t handle our anxiety the way Scripture tells us to, that is when it becomes a sin. When we find ourselves failing to include God in the equation by NOT talking to Him about our situations at all and even refusing to trust Him, that is sinful anxiety.
I’ll even go a step further to say that when we refuse to go to Him with our anxieties, He will see to it that we don’t get the rest and peace we are looking for.
And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”Hebrews 12:5-6 NIV
God won’t reward us for trying to figure out life on our own, apart from Him. In fact, sometimes He may increase our anxiety for failure to obey His Word and trust in Him. A good example is found in the Old Testament where God laid out blessings for the nation of Israel for the obedience to the law, and curses for their disobedience. Part of those curses included giving them an anxious mind and terrified hearts:
Then the Lord will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods—gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your ancestors have known. Among those nations you will find no repose, no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the Lord will give you an anxious mind, eyes weary with longing, and a despairing heart. You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life. In the morning you will say, “If only it were evening!” and in the evening, “If only it were morning!”—because of the terror that will fill your hearts and the sights that your eyes will see.Deuteronomy 28:64-67 NIV
Jesus made it clear in the passage we looked at from Matthew chapter 6 earlier, that certain worries or anxieties of life are the things that should be troubling for non-Christians, but not for us! (Matthew 6:32)
Choosing to stay anxious, leaving God out, and pursuing other means is pointless, and brings no resolve for us whatsoever.
What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless.Ecclesiastes 2:22-23 NIV
So, is anxiety a sin, or a lack of faith? Anytime we get so anxious and worked up about something or someone, to the point that we literally forget, refuse, or choose not to go to God about it, then yes – that is when anxiety becomes a sin. And leaving God out of the equation is indicative of a lack of faith in God as well.
NOTE: This applies to those who have been diagnosed with anxiety disorders as well. In fact, at that stage it is even more important to lean into God through His Word and prayer – every single day.
6. We Should Encourage and Pray For Those Struggling With Anxiety
The last key thing that I want to address, is how Scripture says we should treat our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who struggle with anxiety.
There are already more than enough long-standing biases in the non-Christian arena regarding mental illness. Unfortunately, some of the same biases and stigmatization have become prevalent amongst Christians and in churches today as well. For the most part it comes down to the inability to understand and address the issue. It is something, in my opinion that spiritual leaders need to take note of and educate themselves on both from a medical and biblical perspective.
If you’ve never struggled with your mental health, it can be hard to understand what it feels like to have your mind “hijacked” by the crushing weights of anxiety, depression, or other debilitating mental illnesses.
As we have seen clearly from Scripture, there is no need to be ashamed if you struggle with anxiety or even suffer from an anxiety disorder. Whether they will admit it or not, all Christians deal with anxiety to some degree, and we are not less of a Christian because of our anxiety.
As mentioned earlier, God tested Job by taking away all his material possessions and children, and giving him a skin disease, which caused Job to experience some very understandable anxiety. Yet He never cursed God or turned away from faith in Him. However, if you know the full story, you know that his “friends” came to visit him during his time of testing, and basically told him that his situation was due to something being wrong with his life, and that he had a sin problem somewhere.
Let us not be like Job’s friends, ready to judge and condemn, without having any clue what God is actually doing behind the scenes of a person’s situation.
Would we call out Moses, David, Elijah, Job, or Paul for their anxiety or look at them as less of the leaders that they were for the kingdom of God? Of course not.
Just as the church would not shame, discourage, or call out a person with diabetes for taking insulin, we also should be careful not to use words that would stigmatize treatments for a person being treated for a mental illness.
We should be Christians that others can confide in and feel free to share their mental struggles with. People shouldn’t feel guilty or condemned for having anxiety. It’s ok not to be okay! In fact, it’s human. In reality, NONE of us are okay – that’s why we need Jesus. And we don’t need Him any less just because we are Christians.
Scripture teaches us to listen to, encourage, and pray for one another:
- Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” Isaiah 35:4 ESV
- Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad. Proverbs 12:25 ESV
- But God, who comforts and encourages the depressed and the disquieted, comforted us by the arrival of Titus. 2 Corinthians 7:6 AMP
- When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:17-18 ESV
- Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death. When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. Psalm 94:17-19 NIV
- Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 NIV
Sometimes we can help dispel anxiety just by our very presence. Instead of being a stumbling block that adds to a person’s anxiety, we are called to listen in confidence, be a shoulder to cry on, provide encouragement, speak God’s Word of peace, pray, and even refer to professionals if needed.
God is Bigger Than Our Anxiety!
My prayer is that you now have a good understanding of what the bible says about anxiety.
We’ve determined from Scripture that anxiety is a real emotion that everyone experiences to some degree. It exists due to the existence of sin in the fallen world we live in and can be exhibited in both healthy and unhealthy ways.
God knows all this and cares about our mental health. And because He does not want His children living in a continuous state of anxiety, He commands us to come to Him with our anxieties when they arise. When we do so, we will find rest for our anxious minds that only He can provide.
I know trusting God is sometimes easier said than done, but the great challenge to all Christians is to learn to trust God more and more over time. The path away from anxiety and into trust requires surrender, over and over again – coming to Jesus daily (through reading His Word and prayer) to get the mental rest He has made available to us.
I’m a witness that when you seek Him first and foremost, that He will provide comfort and peace through His Word and prayer, as well as, the other things you need like professional resources, and encouragement from others.
God is bigger than ALL our anxieties. Like everything else that is a result of the fallen world we live in, anxiety will be defeated for all of us in eternity. But, until we enter that fullness of his rest in heaven, we will have to keep on coming to Him to enjoy the benefits of the rest he has already given us here on earth.
Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.]John 14:27 AMP
Encourage someone else today by sharing: