The Anatomy of Anxiety, Part 16: God Is Faithful Even When I Am Unfaithful
Note: For previous posts in this blog mini-series, please visit: 1: http://bit.ly/aHstk, 2: http://bit.ly/20R01P, 3: http://bit.ly/HAoxI, 4: http://bit.ly/1I6XmF, 5: http://bit.ly/19Jdqt, 6: http://bit.ly/19vCXx, 7: http://bit.ly/21wPLg, 8: http://bit.ly/m50On, 9: http://bit.ly/4vhNIt, 10: http://bit.ly/1ClPr4, 11: http://bit.ly/2Sb2Ec, 12: http://bit.ly/2xv4BV, 13: http://bit.ly/baNuS, 14: http://bit.ly/UFIy1, 15: http://bit.ly/31fQYo.
Does worry, doubt, or fear get the best of you sometimes? Do you wonder where anxiety comes from and how to defeat it in your life and the lives of those you love? Then we need a biblical anatomy of anxiety. And, we need God’s prescription for victory over anxiety.
He Is Faithful to Forgive Us Our Sins
Discussing “sin” and “anxiety,” with a person struggling with anxiety can produce…more anxiety. However, we would be naïve to try to be victorious over anxiety without addressing personal responsibility.
The core heart sin with anxiety as we’ve defined it in this blog series is failure to trust God. We decide to trust our puny resources rather than to entrust ourselves to Christ’s infinite resources.
We can trace the tracks of mistrust to our sinful suppression of the truth that God is strong and caring, holy and loving, in control and comforting.
Based upon our failure to hold God in awe, we self-protect through flight and fight behavior.
You think, “Well, that sure helps a lot, Bob! Now I’m anxious about my relationship with God!”
And I say, “Good…as long as you deal with those concerns biblically.”
We need to confess our sin of self-trust and self-protection and of mistrusting God and believing lies about God. We need to repent of our sin of turning God’s good gift of “vigilance” into the haunting sin of “stuck vigil.”
And, we need to accept His forgiveness; we need to accept our acceptance in Christ.
God is faithful even when we are unfaithful.
God still forgives, loves, cares, and controls even when I doubt His faithfulness, even when I choose to self-protect, to turn to my own idols to make my life work. Even when I refuse to fear God and I choose to fear others, I never need to fear that God will refuse to forgive me.
Freedom from Final Fear
Interestingly, we can ultimately trace all anxiety to what I call “spiritual separation anxiety.” Luther used to call it by the German term “anfectungen”—the primal fear that God will reject us.
So, what can conquer our ultimate fear more than knowing that even when we fear man instead of fearing God, we never need to fear God’s ultimate rejection?
If the God of the universe forgives me for failing to trust Him, if He is faithful to me in Christ even when I am unfaithful to Him, then do I really have anything to fear in life? Since Christ has conquered my ultimate fear, I can face all of life’s daily fears.
So, while some may balk at my insistence that we address the sin aspects of anxiety, I would insist that addressing the sin lying within anxiety is the only cure for anxiety! By dispensing Christ’s grace for our disgrace of self-trust, we finally grasp that there is nothing to fear in life because Christ has faced and conquered our greatest dread—separation from God.
In confessing the sin of anxiety and receiving Christ’s forgiveness, we learn life’s ultimate lesson—nothing can separate from the love of God in Christ. Fearless spiritually because there is no condemnation in Christ, we become fearless personally and relationally.
The Rest of the Story
Having confessed and received forgiveness for sinful anxiety, we still need to put off the old habits and put on the new fearless person we are in Christ. In our next post we learn how.