Philippians 7: “Anxiety vs. Peace” (4:6-8)
We all want peace. Many of us have struggled — or know someone who has struggled — with anxiety and/or panic attacks. As I say in my opening: “If you are struggling with significant anxiety and mental health issues…a 25-minute sermon is not going to fix everything instantly. You may need help, a team of professionals and friends, and a journey to rise above that. However, this sermon may be an important component of your journey, in giving you some tools to overcome anxiety.”
What are those tools?
In brief, they are:
- Do not choose anxiety
- Choose to pray
- Choose to think on the good
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Thank you, and God bless!
Scroll down for the sermon notes.
PEACE VS. ANXIETY: THE SOLDIERS OF JOY
NOTE: This sermon/text does not claim to be the only answer, for some it may be a small part of a journey towards mental health
Central Question: “How can I have peace, rather than anxiety?”
- Do not choose anxiety
Why would anyone choose anxiety?!
- They have learned to manage their laziness through stress
- They have learned to optimize their performance through stress
- They believe it is responsible to be stressed
- They believe it is godly to be stressed
- They are used to it
“For those habituated to high levels of internal stress since early childhood, it is the absence of stress that causes unease, evoking boredom and the seven of meaninglessness. People may become addiction to their own stress hormones, adrenaline, and cortisol…To such persons, stress feels desirable, while the absence of it feels like something to be avoided.” – Gabor Maté, M.D. “When the Body Says ‘No’: the cost of hidden stress”
6. Your subconscious is aware of a wound or danger that your conscious mind choses to ignore
An incomplete list of alternatives to anxiety
- Buy a calendar
- Use a journal
- Be honest with one good friend
- Make a list, _____________ it
- Break down “big” deadlines into “small” tasks
- Work today on the “evil” of the day (Mat. 6:34)
…but bottom line, do not choose ___________!
- Do chose to Pray
- “In all things”
- “by prayers and petitions” (wishes and requests)
- “with thanksgiving”
d.“let your request be made known to God”
1. Does God know what you want?
2. Do you know what you want? (Mark 10:36)
3. Have you made it known to God?
4. If God answered you, would you know about it?
- For Greeks, an absence of conflict
- For Jews, the presence of wholeness
- Literal heart-muscle (first thing affected by long-term stress)
- Emotions, spiritual life, feelings // Body, “guts,” bowels
- One’s “thoughts”
- One’s literal “brain” // Ideas, thought processes, worldview
“In the internal city of our heart & mind, the peace of God is the doorman and guard. We bypass him when we chose to let in stress & anxious thoughts. We equip him when we make our requests known to God through grateful prayers.”
- Do chose to dwell on the Good
- DO dwell on truth, honour, justice, purity, loveliness, good repute, excellence, things worthy of praise
- DO NOT dwell on untrue, vile, naughty, impure, disturbing, trashy, despicable things
Note: this can include education, ideas, culture, & media
- “DWELL” (count, contemplate, mediate, think about) the good
Objection 1: Isn’t this escapism?
Response 1: We are still aware of the bad: we turn it into prayer,
then we dwell again on the good.
Objection 2 : Isn’t it godly to point out flaws & sins?
Response 2: Yes, but seeing the good in people is a rare skill
It is often more important to encourage than correct.