Jesus said that “among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:11). As a writer, I am inspired knowing that John was born to deliver one message:
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”Mark 1:15
The greatest prophet of all time came to tell us how to prepare for the promise: Turn from your sinful ways and walk in belief in the good news of Jesus.
After a recent sermon on Mark 1:15, I obeyed the Holy Spirit’s prompting to look up the word “believe”. He used the word study to render the sting of conviction to my anxious heart.
I had to repent of the sins that fuel my anxiety.
First, let me be clear. Anxiety is an emotion we all experience, and in itself is not a sin. Just like anger, God knew we’d all experience it. This is why He devoted a lot of scripture to giving us the tools to prevent and cope with anxiety.
So what did the word study have to do with my struggles with anxiety?
I learned that the word “believe” in Mark 1:15 comes from a Greek verb meaning to put one’s trust in something.
Our feelings hint at what we believe and our actions reveal what we trust. If we believe lies and trust evil, we will feel anxious and try to control people and circumstances. If we believe in the Truth, we will surrender to Jesus and walk peacefully in His promises.
My Anxiety & Jesus
Psalm 34:14 says to “Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”
I was consumed by anxiety for years because I trusted the lies from the enemy instead of pursuing peace. Instead of turning away from evil, I embraced and submitted to it.
When life didn’t turn out as I’d dreamed it would, I consummated anger with disappointment to birth bitterness. Instead of trusting God’s plan for my life, I mobilized fear and helplessness into manipulation and control.
When bitterness and controlling behavior distance me from God, I need to seek Him. But even more so, I need to chase after the Word of God because my very life depends on Him.
When you believe and trust in something, you surrender to it. Here are 4 steps Jesus showed me to surrender and put my trust in Him when I’m anxious.
4 Steps to Trust God When You’re Anxious
Step #1.) Choose To Trust God By Repenting of Your Anxious Thoughts.
We know that believing in Jesus brings peace, but John said we have to repent–to turn away from evil–before we can believe and seek peace. When my anger, disappointment, control, or bitterness feed my anxiety, I admit to Jesus that I tried to handle life on my own instead of taking my hurts to Him on the cross, as though He died for nothing.
Step #2.) Trust God By Crying Out to Him.
Sometimes my heart doesn’t match up with my brain. I know I can trust God, but my heart is still uneasy. So I cry out in my favorite prayer I learned from the father of the demon-possessed boy in Mark 9.
“I trust you, Lord, Help me trust you more.”My favorite prayer to battle anxiety: “I trust you, Lord! Help me trust you more!” Click To Tweet
Step #3.) Trust God By Reading His Word.
After I repent and ask for Jesus’ help, I seek His peace and His will in the Bible. I read about God’s character and His promises with the assurance that He is the same yesterday, today, and always.
Step #4.) Continue To Trust God By Finding Support.4 Steps to Trust God When You're Anxious Click To Tweet
Belief is more than understanding that Jesus died to save me. It’s about putting my trust in His promise to be with me always. It’s about standing confident in who He says I am. Belief is about having courage because He has overcome the world, and as His daughter, I live in that victory too.
Anxiety is not a sin, but our response to it can be. The Holy Spirit’s conviction made me realize I had to repent of the sins that feed my anxiety.
The divine purpose of John the Baptist’s life was to warn everyone that we must turn from sin and instead put our trust in God. My message is that we only find peace when we trust Him and surrender our ways for His.
Your Turn: Anxiety & Jesus
Do you struggle with anxiety?
What will you do today to help you trust God more?