God’s recipe for handling anxiety (Part 3 of 3)

anxietyPhilippians 4: 6, 7 – 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. [New International Version]

It is time to say “No” to anxiety. God provided a step by step recipe to eliminate  – not just manage – anxiety. Today, let’s resolve to adopt this recipe for the rest of our life.

When to do it? All the time

We saw earlier how we should pray. Now we want to know when, and why? Verse 6 says, “do not anxious about anything, but in every situation…” God is saying that there is no special case of anxiety where His recipe will not work. He is saying that whenever, and wherever anxiety kicks in, we should immediately enact these steps. We should deliberately decide “not to be anxious”. Then using that time we are no longer wasting being anxious, we should present our requests, lifting prayers and petitions with thanksgiving. We should do it all the time!

So why does it work?

At first, the reason God gives us for following His recipe may be surprising (verse 7). Why does He not start in verse 7 by saying “And you will receive what you are asking for”? This seems like it should have been the logical ending. However, upon closer inspection, we shall see how God is truly in the business of fixing problems permanently!

God says that doing what He instructs us to do causes us to be filled with His peace! In addition, He tells us that His peace, which not even the best of the brightest of human minds can comprehend, comes with the specific objective of keeping our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Reading carefully these two verses, it becomes clear that the first problem here is actually not  the stressful situation in which we are, but the anxiety that the situation has just caused. It is anxiety which is the biggest barrier to our solution, not the problem itself. That is why it is so destructive! So anxiety must be dealt with first.

Anxiety is in essence the absence of peace, just like darkness is the absence of light! And that is precisely what God gives us first! What we need is true peace, which only God can provide.

Going back to the mom-child example. Mom’s love and know-how will bring peace to the child even before the problem has been solved! And in many instances, the child will come to realize that the problem was not that big at all to begin with!
With the peace of God now in place, our hearts and minds are fiercely protected, and focused on Christ Jesus. With our hearts and mind secure from the attacks of the devil, the very situation – which caused us to be anxious in the first place – may still be present, but now will appear much smaller, its true size! And with that peace, we are now ready to wait patiently for the solution to fully materialize, knowing with absolute certainty that God will indeed bring the solution to pass.

God’s recipe is guaranteed to work, because of His Love and Power, all the time, and in every situation! Let’s learn to apply this recipe in our lives.

God’s recipe for handling anxiety (Part 2 of 3)

anxietyPhilippians 4: 6, 7 – 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. [New International Version]

This recipe is guaranteed to work, all the time! There is no special case!

How to do it? Pray with Thanksgiving

In the previous article we saw what we should do first. Here, we see how. We present our requests by prayer and petition, and verse 6 adds with thanksgiving. Our prayers to God, in which we present our requests, should be prayers of thankfulness! For example, we should say “God I thank you because I know that you have already resolved my situation”. Here are two examples of how NOT to pray “Oh God please help me just this once, please I am desperate…” or “God, if you do this for me this time, I will…”

One reason we thank God is because He has already received and accepted our requests even before we knew we would have it. The reality is, the focus of our prayer should not just be about informing God about our challenges, because He knows them already ! Even more important, our focus should be about thanking Him, believing that He already has the desire and ability to resolve our challenges. Our prayer of thanks demonstrates our knowledge and conviction of this magnificent reality – that He already knows and wants to solve our problems!

Thanking God in our prayers in the midst of a challenge helps us set our sight on the end of result, the deliverance, rather than on the challenge itself. How wonderful!

However, there is more to God’s recipe. God also tells us WHEN we should do all this, and probably more important, He tells us WHY this recipe actually work, all the time! We discuss this in the next article.

God’s recipe for handling anxiety (Part 1 of 3)

anxietyPhilippians 4: 6, 7 – 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. [New International Version]

This recipe is guaranteed to work, all the time! There is no special case!

If you have ever experienced anxiety, then you know how wickedly destructive it is, pure and simple! But in two short verses, God has given us a detailed step-by-step guide to eliminate – not just manage – anxiety. In Philippians 4: 6, 7, He tells us at least four things: what we should do? How we should do it? When we should do it? And why we should do it? This and the next two short articles dig into God’s magnificent recipe to completely eliminate anxiety in our lives!

What to do? Stop being anxious, and then present your requests

There are two things we ought to do: We should stop being anxious and then, during that free time we now have, present our request to Him. It seems counter-intuitive that the first step toward eliminating anxiety is to stop being anxious! However, this reveals to us God’s perspective on anxiety: Anxiety is actually something “wecan stop! Then God tells us what to replace anxiety with: we should get busy presenting our request to Him. Think about it; parents actually apply this very principle every day. A child may come to his mother crying uncontrollably. Unfortunately, unless the child calms down first, he will not be able to tell clearly to his mother what is wrong. The child should calm down first, at least for the time necessary to tell what the matter is. Then, after telling his story, he will rely on his mom’s love and expert know-how to calm him down permanently regarding the matter at hand.

It is the same with God. He want us to calm down first! Then He wants us to present our requests to Him. His love and expert know-how will thereafter soon become evident and completely eliminate our anxiety.

But HOW do we present our requests to Him? As we discuss in the next article, knowing how  to present our requests is just as, if not more important than just presenting them. Knowing HOW is a key ingredient in God’s recipe for handling anxiety.

You are untouchable! Literally!

iStock_superhero-300x2231 John 5:18 – We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. [NASB]

Yes, you are untouchable. However, not because you are strong, but instead because Jesus-Christ to whom we belong is strong!

We have already looked at the first part of this verse. Now let’s turn our attention to the second. It says “…the evil one does not touch him”, and the reason for it is because “…He who was born of God keeps him…”. He who was born of God is none other than Jesus-Christ, and Jesus-Christ protects you like a treasure! Jesus-Christ said it himself in John 10.

John 10: 27-29 – My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

This verb “touch” is not any kind of touching. It is the word “haptomai” in the Greek, which literally means “touching someone (something) in a way that alters”. This touching has serious impact! It is used 36 times in the New Testament. Most of the times, it is used to describe Jesus-Christ acts of healing or people touching him to get healing (e.g. Mark 5:28, Mark 6:56). Here however, the impact would be negative and devastating if the devil could indeed touch us.

He will try to lie to you and intimidate you. But the reality is…he cannot touch you!

Claim this wonderful love and protection from Jesus-Christ every day; remind yourself that the devil has literally no power over you! Not because you are great, but because Jesus-Christ our Lord is great!

Yes, you are untouchable!

Really? God’s children do not sin? That’s what 1 John 5:18 seem to say!

iStock_000015240396XSmall1 John 5:18 – We know that no one who is born of God sins; but He who was born of God keeps him, and the evil one does not touch him. [New American Standard Bible]

To understand what this verse is really saying, one must understand that God actually sees two kinds of sin. Here, in verse 18, He refers to one of them specifically, and not the other. Understanding this will clear up all the confusion!

But first, let’s see how some other versions of the Bible have translated 1 John 5:18 in an attempt to clarify its meaning. The New International Version states …anyone born of God does not continue to sin…“, while the New Living Translation read “God’s children do not make a practice of sinning…“. At first, both of these versions seem like the correct interpretation. However, looking at the immediate context of  verse 18 (verses 16 and 17), we believe that God meant literally…“no one who is born of God sins”. But He is referring to a very specific kind of sin.

1 John 5: 16, 17If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this. 17 All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death

One kind of sin leads to death, and the other does not! Also, we see that all unrighteousness is sin, but that it does not necessarily mean that the consequence of all sin is death. Verse 18 actually refers to the sin that leads to death, and therefore to eternal separation from God.  But us who are truly of God (who have accepted Jesus-Christ as Lord) cannot commit such sin, because we cannot be separated from God! Verse 18 is not referring to the kind of sin that everyone makes.We are God’s children for eternity! Once we were declared son or daughter of God, we were promised eternal life. And that cannot change!

To God be the Glory!

Long life without Peace is worthless…but we knew that already, right?

13750212-yoga-hand-of-meditation-isolated-on-green-fieldProverbs 3: 1, 2 – My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.

Man’s obsession with aging and long life clearly shows no sign of slowing down. The amount of funds allocated to anti-aging medical research, or the very lucrative anti-aging global industry (nutrition, physical fitness, skin care, hormone replacements, vitamins, supplements and herbs) certainly support this claim. Yet the solution is right here before our eyes! We ought to keep God’s commandments. Yes it is that simple!

However, there is more to this verse. God promises peace along with that long life. Why has God chosen to add peace as part of His promise package? Well, because a long life without peace is hell, pure and simple!

Now, suppose that after a few millions of dollars invested in research, man does indeed get his breakthrough. Man has fabricated a pill that can truly extend his life, say, by an average of 10 years (let’s call it the life-stretcher pill). What an accomplishment, right? Well, if man does not devise along with it – or at the very least soon after – a way to create peace anytime he wants, at the quantity that he wants, then what life-stretcher will do for him is make his already miserable life, a little bit longer. YES! This is what I call an accomplishment!

By the way, have you notice in this verse that God did not say that He will give us peace…He says He will add peace! Food for thought!

How wise is our God! Praise Him!