Anxiety – an emotion, not a sin

By Dave Henning / March 11, 2018

“Anxiety is not a sin; it is an emotion. (So don’t be anxious about feeling anxious.)”- Max Lucado

“Let your gentleness be evident to all.  The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, with prayer and thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”- Philippians 4:5-6 (NIV)

Max Lucado concludes Chapter 1 of Anxious for Nothing as he explores what the apostle Paul meant in Philippians 4:6 when he said, “Be anxious for nothing.”  In addition, Pastor Lucado observes that Paul wrote the phrase in the present active tense.  Thus, that implies an ongoing state.  In other words, Paul wanted to address the life of perpetual anxiety (emphasis Max’s).

Therefore, Max offers the Lucado Revised Translation:

“Don’t let anything in life leave you perpetually breathless and in angst.”

However, even though anxiety is an emotion rather than a sin, anxiety can lead to sinful behavior when we:

  • numb our fears with six-packs or food binges
  • spew anger like Krakatoa
  • peddle our fears to anyone who will buy them

As a result, Pastor Lucado offers the acronym CALM, based on Philippians 4:4-8:

  • Celebrate God’s goodness (v. 4).  Find ways to express your joy for God’s goodness today.
  • Ask God for help (v. 6).  Consider starting a prayer journal.
  • Leave your concerns with Him (v. 6).  At bedtime, review your concerns of the day with God.  Thank Him for relieving your anxious thoughts.
  • Meditate on good things (v. 8).  Schedule daily time alone with God.

In conclusion, Pastor Lucado notes that everyone needs some calm and a word of comfort.  Hence, on Kindle, the Bible represents the most highlighted book – and Philippians 4:6-7 the most highlighted passage.  Finally, Max offers these words of comfort:

“With God as your helper . . . you’ll reframe the way you face your fears. . . .  You’ll . . . view bad news through the lens of sovereignty, discern the lies of Satan, and tell yourself the truth.  You will discover a life that’s characterized by calm and will develop tools for facing the onslaughts of anxiety.”

Today’s question: Do you view anxiety as an emotion or a sin?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: the annotated bibliography of Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God

About the author

Dave Henning

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