Millions of Americans suffer from all types of anxiety disorders. Physicians have come up with names for them. There is the Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). There is Panic Disorder. There is Social Anxiety Disorder. The Bible doesn’t mention any of these disorders by name. But, it does have a name for all of them. It is called, “sin.”
Scientists and doctors may identify all sorts of disorders surrounding anxiety, but a rose by any other name is still a rose. And anxiety by any other name, whether it be Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or Panic Disorder or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Social Anxiety Disorder … is still anxiety. And the Bible calls it sin. It is wrong. It ought not to be characteristic of the people of God.
Over and over and over and over again, the Bible calls us not to be anxious. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “do not be worried” on four different occasions (Matt. 6:25, 27, 31, 34). Isaiah 41:10, “Do not fear for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.” Isaiah 35:4, “Say to those with an anxious heart, “Take courage, fear not.” Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing.”
Anytime that we are anxious, we are in sin. Anytime that we worry, we are in sin. And I know how easy it is to sin in this way. And I know how pervasive it is among Christians. Those sins that are so common among us, that we accept them believing that it’s OK to sin in this way. But, it’s not. Jerry Bridges identifies the sin of anxiety as one of those “Respectable Sins” that the church has accepted, rather than dealing with (Jerry Bridges, Respectable Sins [Colorado Springs: NavPress], chapter 8).
Here is a simple antidote to suffering: (1) Say your prayers and (2) Know He cares. This is what Peter tells us to do. “Casting all your anxieties upon Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). We cast our anxieties upon Him by praying, by letting God know of our concerns, by seeking His help. We can have confidence that the Lord will help us, because He cares for us. He not only knows of our anxieties, but is concerned for our well-being. He will help us in our weaknesses.
So, … say your prayers and know He cares.