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Is Anxiety a Sin?

Anxiety, anxious, fear, stress, faith, God,

I struggle with anxiety. I guess this isn’t too hard to admit here, since many of you don’t know my name.  My guess is that I’m not the only Christian that does.  According to recent statistics about 18% of people over 18 suffer from some form of anxiety.   That’s about 40 million adults in the US.  Actually, anxiety disorders are the number one mental health problem in America, surpassing even depression in numbers.  So, I’m clearly not alone.

Embarrassed by Anxiety

That said, once my anxiety became a true problem a few years ago, I started to also feel guilty.  I thought, if I had more faith, I wouldn’t be anxious.   I felt that my anxiety was a verdict on the state of my walk with God.  It took me a long time to realize that this might not be true.

I read all the scriptures that said we should “be anxious for nothing…” (Phil 4:6) but trust in the Lord who is sovereign.  I tried – but I remained anxious.  Through this experience I realized two things:

  1. God is very compassionate, in scripture, to those that are anxious
  2. Although we are to trust God there are practical things we can do

God is Compassionate to the Anxious Christian

I believe the Bible speaks about anxiety so much because it is one of satan’s tools and God knows that it can cripple us.  (Bible versus on anxiety: http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/anxiety.html).

“…the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” – Romans 8:26

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” 1 Peter 5:6-7

“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

Scripture doesn’t condemn anxiety, it seems to compassionately try to help you avoid it and overcome it.  This is an important difference.  I don’t believe anxiety is a sin, still God doesn’t desire us to be anxious.  He wants us to turn to Him in everything and trust him.

Actually, it is interesting that many famous Christians have suffered from anxiety including Abraham Lincoln, Rick Warren, John Bunyan (Pilgrim’s Progress) and even Charles Spurgeon (known as the ‘Prince of Preachers’) may have struggled with it.  They all had a huge impact and therefore anxiety doesn’t need to stop us.

Practical Solutions to Anxiety

God says that we should trust him with our finances but that doesn’t mean we don’t create a budget.  He tells us that He will always be with us, but that doesn’t mean we should haphazardly walk through a terrible area of town.  Likewise, there are practical things we can do, and avoid when it comes to anxiety.

Please note, there are many reasons for anxiety and sometimes professional help and medication is the best answer.  What I’ve found is that I need to know what I’m trusting God for, and therefore thinking through and journaling about it helps.

In our next blog, we are going to go through two tools.  A simple breathing exercise and what is called cognitive restructuring which is closely linked to journaling but with a focus on dealing with the anxiety of the moment.  Look for this blog on Thursday, November 1st

Let us know your thoughts; does this subject resonate with you?  Have you felt guilty because of anxiety?  What has helped you to overcome your anxiety?  We want to hear what you have to say!

God bless

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Is Anxiety a Sin? by Westchester Men’s Ministry is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://nymensministry.com/2012/10/30/is-anxiety-a-sin/.

Comments

  1. Thanks for the trackback!

  2. journaling, breathing, cognitive restructuring…all wonderful tools that help in dealing with any kind of mood disorder. As a strong (weak?) christian myself, I had to grasp the belief that God made me perfect just as I am and his words are to be helpful and not condemning. The scriptures you quoted ‘mocked’ me for many months. I had to do some cognitive restructuring for sure! Medication & therapy are definitely part of my tool box as well. Thanks!

  3. Personally I have found for my own life that I do believe anxiety is sin. I find that when my anxiety level is rising it is because I am not trusting God and instead am allowing my thoughts to take control.

    • Naomi, there are some sins that are absolute sins. The ten commandments are the easiest example. There are other times when God tells us personally to do, or not to do something. Our disobedience in these cases is sin but it wouldn’t necessarily be a sin for those that were not instructed in this way.

      Please don’t get me wrong. I believe in absolute truth. For example, Jesus is son of God, was born a man, lived a perfect life and died for our sins. This is fact. The fact that I like chocolate chip ice cream is a preference and although true for me, is likely not true for you. Does that make sense?

      Would you say God had revealed to you that anxiety is a sin for you because He has already assured you that the reasons you are anxious, are not justified? In essence, he has assured you of success, victory, peace, etc?

    • Naomi, I was thinking further about your comment and I wanted to share some thoughts that came up in my quiet time this morning:

      From Isaiah 7
      “…’Take heed, and be quiet; do not fear or be faint-hearted…”
      “…if you will not believe, surely you will not be established.”

      Although anxiety may not be a sin, a lack of faith is. God sent Isaiah to Ahaz, son of Jotham but Ahaz wouldn’t believe and his lack of faith was condemned.

      Satan desires us to add guilt to our anxiety, while God says ‘Fear not, I am with you always!’ We are not to live in fear but faith.

      Revelations 2:10
      “Do not fear any of these things which you are about to suffer… Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life”

      Reminds me of the song, “Be Not Afraid…”

      You shall cross the barren desert, but you shall not die of thirst.
      You shall wonder far in safety though you do not know the way.
      You shall speak your words in foreign lands and all will understand.
      You shall see the face of God and live.

      Be not afraid,
      I go before you always
      Come follow me, and
      I will give you rest!

      God bless!!

  4. Eating only fruits, veggies and juicing have helped my anxiety. I know from the Garden Of Eden that we are only suppose to eat fruits and veggies. I know Jesus did eat figs, dates, fruits, veggies, bread, nuts and beans. He ate very little meat. All processed foods makes anxiety worse. I think our diets have a lot to do with anxiety and depression and that’s why the number of people suffering increases.

  5. Thanks for the input. I know this was months ago but am only now realizing how to find the replies to comments I’ve posted on WordPress.

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