Ruling Your Spirit: Anxiety

18 September 2022 PM – Proverbs 25:28 – RuleSpirit22 – Scott Childs
Introduction: Read Proverbs 25:28. If you do not rule your spirit, your spirit will rule you. You will be like a defenceless city that is broken down and without walls. In Romans 6:13 we read, “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” If you yield your spirit to the flesh and the devil, you allow your members (body parts) to be used for unrighteousness unto sin. If you yield your spirit to God the Holy Spirit, you allow Him to use your members for righteousness unto God. That is how we must rule our spirits.
Transition: This evening we are going to examine what God has to say about ruling our spirit to control anxiety.
  1. Anxiety can be a Big Problem
Oxford defines anxiety as “a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome.” Another definition is, “Feelings of fear, dread, and uneasiness that may occur as a reaction to stress.”
From these definitions, we see that anxiety has two roots.
a.         Anxiety may be rooted in worry.
1)         Worry or fretting is an extremely common problem. Life is full of uncertainties and these can lead to worry.
2)         The “What if?” question is a major contributor to worry. What if the car breaks down? What if I get cancer? What if my parents die? What if I cannot pay that bill on time? The what ifs continue endlessly.
b.         Anxiety may be rooted in fear.
1)         Fear is also a common problem today. It is closely linked to worry and anxiety.
2)         We may fear failure, rejection, problems, bad news, the unknown, persecution, or the opinions of others.
2.        The Bible Often Addresses Anxiety
a.         Anxiety is a lack of trust in God.
1)         Our God can do for us as he promised Joshua, (Deuteronomy 31:8) “And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.
2)         David wrote, (Psalms 55:22) “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” (Psalms 56:3) “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.
3)         Solomon wrote, (Proverbs 3:5) “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
4)         God can do for us as He promised to do for Israel. (Isaiah 41:10) “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
5)         Jesus taught that worry accomplished nothing. Read Matthew 6:25-31. “Take no thought,” means, do not worry. It is the opposite of trusting God.
6)         Paul admonished, (Philippians 4:6-7) “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” We are not to “be careful”, that is, to be care-filled or worried.
b.         Anxiety shows a lack of knowing God.
1)         Note what God told Jeremiah. (Jeremiah 9:23-24) “Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.
2)         God always does what is kind, just and right.
3)         If you know that God is Jehovah, the eternal, self-existent one, the Sovereign of the universe, who always does what is loving or kind, just or fair, and what is right, you have nothing left to be anxious about.
4)         Here are questions that should never worry a Christian who knows how great God is.
a)         Will God ever leave me? (Hebrews 13:5)
b)         Has God unforgiven me? (1 John 1:9)
c)         Does God care about my burden? (1 Peter 5:7)
d)         Could I sin and lose my salvation? (John 5:24)
e)         Does God still love me? (Romans 8:35-39). Did you know that God cannot love you more than He loves you right now? No failure on your part will every change God’s love for you. In love, He may chasten you or test you, but His love remains the same.
3.        If You have been Anxious, Admit it.
a.         It does no good trying to hide anxious feelings.
1)         The Lord knows very well if we are fearful or worrying. (Psalms 44:21) “Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.” (Psalms 139:1-2) “O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.
2)         Others often see it too. (Proverbs 12:25) “Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.” The word translated “heaviness” actually refers to anxiety. When we are worried or fearful, it shows on our faces.
b.         God wants to help, but you must admit your need.
1)         Our pride is our worst enemy.
2)         Recall Peter’s words, (1 Peter 5:6) “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
4.        Rule the Problem
a.         Does God want you to be anxious? No!
1)         Then you must say, “If God’s against it, so am I”.
2)         Here is a principle that can help. “It is not possible to satisfy a fleshly appetite by indulging in it.” RU Recovery #4 Allowing yourself to worry or fear never satisfies. It accomplishes nothing. It never solves the problem.
b.         Yield your spirit to the Holy Spirit.
1)         Submit to Him. He will enable you to give your concern to God and trust Him with the results. He promised to give you peace when you do (Php 4:6-7).
2)         Focus on God’s character and ability to meet your need. Ponder Bible examples like Noah and the flood, Abraham’s servant finding a wife for Isaac, Joseph in Egypt, David before Goliath, Daniel in the lion’s den, disciples in the storm, or Paul in the shipwreck.
3)         Focus on eternity, not on today.
4)         If you know how to worry, you know how to mediate. Worry is a sinful form of meditation. It is imagining every bad scenario about your burden that could possibly take place. It is playing and replaying it repeatedly in your mind. That is sinful meditation. Stop it!
5)         Instead, memorise God’s character qualities and God’s promises, then meditate on them in your heart. Replay them nonstop in your thoughts. Let them fill your mind instead of anxious meditations. Trust God!
6)         In addition, meditate on things that please God. (Philippians 4:8) “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest honourable, whatsoever things are just right, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely acceptable, whatsoever things are of good report well-spoken of; if there be any virtue excellence, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” The word “think” is often translated reckon, but it also means to meditate.
Conclusion: Knowing God well, trusting Him, yielding to the Holy Spirit, and always thinking right are the keys to conquering anxiety. You can rule anxiety! If you are struggling, spend more time getting to know God. Find God on every page of your Bible.
Song: Great is Thy Faithfulness 40