“For everything that was written in the past
was written for our instruction, so that
through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures,
we might have hope.”
I am always grateful to get to my office early enough to settle in and pray before my Clients arrive. During that time I ask God for wisdom and sensitivity in how I minister to each one. I also ask Him for direction when it comes to encouraging each Client with Scripture. Last Wednesday was one of those times when God gave me not only the sensitivity needed to respond to each Client– He also provided Scripture that benefitted each uniquely.
To appreciate what happened, here’s a little background on the women I saw that day. All three are serious about living out their faith yet struggle with anxiety and have experienced panic attacks.* One of them I’ve worked with for more than a year; the others I’d seen for about six weeks. Each one is aware of the biblical admonitions regarding fear and anxiety: Do not be anxious about,
- Your life . . .
- What you will speak . . .
- About how you should defend yourself . . .
- About tomorrow.**
They also understand the admonition to be strong and courageous given throughout the Bible.*** They have responded well by learning to face their anxiety by answering their fears with Scripture. In the process they learned to turn to God with thanksgiving for His love, mercy and sovereign goodness. As they have done this, they have discovered courage not from within themselves, but through faith in the One who suffered and died for them.
The passage I received after praying that morning was Ephesians 5:8-21. The passage talks about being light in the Lord:
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.”
After reading the passage aloud, each then responded to my question, “What stands out to you?” Each responded differently, but all were encouraged (one with tears of gratitude) by the call in verse 14:
“Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
We then focused on verses 15 and 16:
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,
making the most of every opportunity,
because the days are evil.”
Ephesians 5:15, 16
We talked how one of the reasons we have been given the Scriptures by God, is so that we will not be naive. We also talked about the danger of naivety in a corrupt, evil world and how, even so, the Scriptures offer HOPE. It is in that eternal hope promised by Jesus that we find courage to stand and move forward despite our fears.
So how are we to be freed from anxiety that can be so debilitating? How can we live courageously in an increasingly unpredictable and oft times frightening world? The Apostle Paul’s words proclaim truth and direction to all who love and serve Christ:
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.
Put on the full armor of God, so that
you can take your stand
against the devil’s schemes.”
Ephesians 6:10, 11
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement
give you the same attitude of mind toward each other
that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice
you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Romans 15:5, 6
God calls us to look beyond ourselves and our circumstances. He encourages us to rely on Him for what is needed to be courageous as we face challenges large and small. No matter where you find yourself in your walk with Him today, put your life (your day!) in His most capable hands as you give thanks for His Plan and Purpose being worked out in your life. When it comes to dealing with anxiety, it is faith in Him that gives us courage like nothin else can . . .❤️
All to His Glory!
*Where in past years depression was the primary focus of help given in the Counseling Room, today the majority seeking help suffer from an anxiety that imprisons or impairs their ability to function.
**Matthew 6:25; Matthew 10:19; Luke 2:11: Matthew 6:24.