The bible tells us to be anxious for nothing and not to have worry. The bible also makes it very clear that we are not given to a spirit of fear.
Philippians 4:6-7 New King James Version (NKJV)
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 1:7New King James Version (NKJV)
7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
So how do we reconcile and justify the fact that we have emotions of fear or even anxiety when something happens to us? Are we sinning when we have an emotional response from something that causes fear or anxiety?
Does God expect us to act in a sublime fashion as if nothing has happened at all?
The answer in short is no.
God created us fearfully and wonderfully. God expects us to have emotions and feelings. This is how we experience things in the natural. We experience joy, love, anger, fear and so on.
Having a feeling of fear or anxiety is not a sin and it is not wrong for us to experience these things in the right context and manner.
Our bodies have a natural fight or flight response that is an automatic body response that takes over when we are startled or come into a situation where our safety is threatened.
It is natural to feel physical and mental effects from these scenarios. It is also natural that our emotions can be affected as well.
A person who gets up to speak in front of a crowd may experience nervousness or anxiety before or during their presentation. Again, a natural biological and mental reaction that ultimately stems from our fight or flight response.
Yet another example is that we may have grief and anxiety when a loved one is hurt, ill or passes away.
There is no doubt in my mind that Abraham was overcome with emotions of anxiety and worry when the Lord told him to sacrifice his son Isaac.
Even Jesus wept when He stood before the tomb of Lazarus.
So the question is not whether we can experience fear or anxiety. The question is whether or not we give it dominion over us and accept the appearance of the situation as the final truth over what God’s Word says.
Ultimately, we must give first place to the Word of God as absolute truth which means that we act in faith and not fear.
In the scriptures I presented earlier, Jesus and Paul both are talking about a mindset, a paradigm, a way of thinking and living, not merely a reaction to something we experience.
Jesus wants us to have faith in Him. Jesus told the disciples that He would never leave them and was in them and with them until the end of the world.
I may experience fear or anxiety, but I don’t have to hold onto it. I can give it to Jesus to bear for me. When I am weakest, He is strong for me.
Jesus also told the disciples that He would leave His peace with them, not the peace of the world, but His peace, a peace that surpasses all understanding.
Paul tells us that we have the mind of Christ because the spirit of God lives in us and because that spirit lives in us, fear has no place of dominion in our hearts and minds. Rather, love rules and reigns casting out all fear.
All of these things still extend to us all as believers.
God designed our confidence and our ability to overcome fear and anxiety on a relational basis.
Our confidence and courage comes from revelation that God loves us so much and that He is always for us and has nothing but good for us. It also comes from a revelation that God wants to and will meet or needs, but not only our needs, He wants to fulfill our hopes and dreams.
This is why for yet another reason the prayer that Paul the Apostle prays in Ephesians 1 is so important for us to continue to pray over ourselves and the Body of Christ:
Ephesians 1:15-21New King James Version (NKJV)
Prayer for Spiritual Wisdom
15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.
Ultimately, we were not created to be subdued by fear or to wrestle ongoing with anxiety. We were created to be conquerors, overcomers and to rule and reign with Christ.
We don’t have to pretend we don’t have emotions or reactions to things that happen to us in life, we just don’t have to be a slave to them, for we have the mind of Christ and the Spirit of God that rose Jesus from the grave living in us.
From faith to faith, glory to glory, through Christ, we will triumph over all things.