Crude way of saying that within the Christian fellowship and The Family of God there are privileges, referred to as blessings within the faith. To lead a christian life is difficult and requires a great deal of faith and perseverance. You will at times fail and sometimes the way back is not that easy. Today’s world has many hills to climb and every now and then a mountain to climb and the pressures of this life will bring about a certain amount of anxiety, depression and can overwhelm your faith. There are many ways to comfort those who we know to be facing these things in their life, the most common being a kind word, offer of help and one that I hear often, the quoting of scripture. One of the most quoted is from Philippians.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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” (Philippians 4:6-7).
You might say it is a family tradition, this comfort found within the word, of which there are according to my research at least 53 relevant verses. Something about this family thing you should know. When Christ died on the cross, was resurrected and ascended to heaven to sit on the right hand of the Father, you were, on the blood of our savior adopted into the Family of God. What does that mean? To us, all of us there is the gift of salvation and all the rights and privileges of the Family of God, it is our inheritance.
Psalm 69: 29
29 But as for me, afflicted and in pain— may your salvation, God, protect me.
The Bible refers to anxiety, but the word itself may not be found all that often. In the English Standard Version, it is used 8 times. In the New International Version, it is found 7 times. The King James Version does not use the word at all. Words often used in its place are trouble, heaviness, distress, and cares. There are many causes for anxiety and the severity of which will vary from person to person. Broken relationships, guilty conscience, unfilled desires and the list goes on. One primary reason is the weight of sin. All sin separates us from God and many times we forget the way back due to the weight that anxiety puts on us. We must learn to look to our God for restoration and forgiveness, remember it is a family thing.
Psalm 68:20 Our God is a God of salvation, and to God, the Lord, belong deliverances from death.
As Christians we must recognize that there are times that more than words are needed.
Acts 3 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
3 One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, at three o’clock in the afternoon. 2 And a man lame from birth was being carried in. People would lay him daily at the gate of the temple called the Beautiful Gate so that he could ask for alms from those entering the temple. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked them for alms. 4 Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.
Note here in this story from Acts that Petter reached out and physically took the man’s hand, assisting him to rise up. There will be times when more than just words will be needed to assist those for whom the anxieties of life have overwhelm their faith.
Matthew 6: 25-26 NRS
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
Let’s take a moment and go beyond the words. Why would you not worry about your life in general? It would seem that food and clothing would be a natural. God gave us life and it should follow that he would provide us with the lesser things in life. We should also have the faith to believe that He who gave us life would also give us food to sustain that life and garments to clothe those bodies which He created for us. Verse 26 does not imply that the birds do not work hard for what they have but rather they do so not worrying about tomorrow. They do not waste precious time worrying about accumulating stuff for the future, God will provide.
Matthew 6: 32-34
32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Anxiety destroys faith and in verse 33 we have a very specific command for living a Christian life. I will close with these verses from Philippians 4: 8,
8 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Life is Good God is Great