Recently the Lord admonished me about anxiousness and impressed upon me why anxiety was holding back the answered prayer so many people are seeking. Worry and anxiety are a form of doubt, and doubt is a form of unbelief. It’s unbelief that is hindering our prayers!
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Phil 4:6-8 NASB)
Call it what you want: anxiety, worry, nervousness, stress, agitation, uneasiness, but it’s all a form of anxiousness, and the Bible admonishes us to be anxious for nothing. Whenever our thoughts are unduly spent being concerned over anything, we are committing idolatry. We are placing our focus on our problems and not the solution. We are magnifying our problems over the power, love, and faithfulness of our God. The solution to our problem is always prayer and faith in the finished work of the cross.
Is there such a thing as a reasonable amount of concern? Absolutely. We are called to be engaged with the Lord Jesus in this life and to abide in Him and He in us. We are neither children nor robots. Only a fool would write a check without first seeing how much money was in their checking account. Similarly, no one takes medicine without first checking what is written on the label. People need to have a reasonable level of concern when driving a car, handling sharp knives, or taking school exams.
The line between reasonable concern and worry is often based upon how much thought we are giving to it. Is the thought consuming us? Is it making us fearful and stressed? Are we losing sleep over it? Is it stealing our joy? If the answer is yes, then we need to repent and be anxious for nothing. Turn it over to the Lord and trust Him to take care of it.
I firmly believe that one of the reasons intercessors often pray more effectively for us than ourselves is that they are able to pray over our issues without the emotional involvement that causes us to worry and be anxious. Their prayers are then heard and answered, while our prayers are often hindered because we don’t realize we have entered into doubt, which is unbelief. This unbelief negates our prayers.
How do we counter these anxious thoughts? By replacing them with positive thoughts! That’s the message of Philippians 4:8. Replace the negative thoughts and mental images you have over your problems with thoughts that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, good repute, excellent, and praiseworthy. Picture your problem as it would look after the Lord fixes it for you, and dwell on these thoughts.
It is only by the grace of God that we can transform our minds to focus on the solution, Christ Jesus, and not the problem. The world cannot understand this or do it. It makes no sense to their intellectual and fearful minds. However, it is through the process of our death, burial, and resurrection with Him that allows us to do it. We receive the grace to die to fear, and as we start abiding in Him, to begin seeing the problems and the solutions from His perspective.
As we spend time in His presence worshiping Him, He becomes exalted, and our problems diminish in size. At the same time, wisdom and understanding are given us to know what we need to do to handle the issue the way Jesus would handle it.
We are in a season where the enemy is stirring up storm clouds over our lives and businesses. The stakes are extremely high. We can no longer give in to fear, worry, and doubt. We need to develop a lifestyle of prayer and believe the Lord is answering our prayers, even when we can’t see it. From here on out, we need to be anxious for nothing at all.
Jeff Ahern is an author, public speaker, and former Naval Officer who has provided management consulting and business process improvement services to Fortune 500 and Government clients for over twenty years. He is co-founder of Sozo Services, Inc., a spiritual advisory firm helping business leaders succeed and achieve their personal and corporate goals by using Biblical, Spirit-led solutions.