Want victory over anxiety? These keys to victory help those who fear and worry. This is the second of a four-part series on finding God’s solutions to ungodly fear written by biblical counselors Sherry Allchin and Lucy Ann Moll. Read the first post here, the third here, and the fourth here.
Philippians is a great book that shows us how to confidently walk in the peace of God. God is present with us and is committed to perfect us in Christ Jesus.
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6, ESV
Also, he gives us purpose and meaning for life and death.
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21, ESV
And then Paul tells us how to walk in the peace and joy of the Lord (chapters 3 and 4).
The keys to victory over anxiety come in chapter 4 of Philippians. I regularly take my counselees to this passage to help them evaluate where they’ve gone wrong.
Paul begins with a plea to help two women in the church, obviously friends and co-workers with Paul and one another, but who are now in a disagreement. It must have been a public brawl since everybody knew about it, and Paul addressed it publicly. A major relationship was out of sync.
Key 1: Anxiety and Relationships
This is the first question I ask: “Are there relationships that should be meaningful and peaceful, but that are now messed up?”
When relationships are right, there is peace, both vertically and horizontally. And “when out of sync,” all must “be of the same mind in the Lord” if peace is to be restored. Sins need to be confessed with repentance and forgiveness to right relationships.
Key 2: Prayer and Victory
The second consideration in victory over anxiety is learning to pray right (Philippians 4:6), asking God to supply our needs and then trusting Him to do that according to His will and wisdom, not demanding our own selfish desires.
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. James 4:1–3, ESV
Key 3: Attitude and Peace
Third comes the attitude of gratitude, thanking Him for His provision even if it is different that what we originally wanted. This right attitude stabilizes our hearts with peace and joy.
Key 4: Anxiety and Right Thinking
The fourth may be the hardest for most of us in the midst of anxious thoughts: right thinking. In Philippians 4:8, we are commanded to think on what is true. Anxious thoughts naturally begin to speculate on what might be true . . . but might not be!
An example is to be worried about an accident that might have been, but never happens, and there are no calls to that effect . . . just no calls, period. So anxious thoughts run away with us and we imagine our loved one in the hospital dying. Or we may suspect someone has cheated us, or been unfair. We begin to believe the worst about someone—sure, they have betrayed us—yet no facts to back up the speculation.
Then we wonder why we are anxious with minds running every direction, with uncontrolled thinking and no peace or joy!
Key 5: Anxiety and Right Emotions
Last, Paul concludes by telling us to live out the gospel, the truth, the things we have learned from him that honor God. When we do those things consistently, the God of peace will be with us. Right actions lead to right emotions, joy in the Lord, and the peace of God ruling our hearts. There is victory over anxiety, and Philippians 4:13 assures us we can live in this victory through the strength we have in Christ.
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13, ESV
Tools for Victory over Anxiety
2 Timothy 1:7 gives us three powerful tools for victory over anxiety:
1. The first is “power” that comes from the Holy Spirit using the powerful Word to change us into the image of Christ who knows no fear.
2. The second is “love” that turns our focus from inward to upward and outward.
3. The third tool, “sound mind / self-control,” is commanded and He gives us the ability to put wrong and anxious thoughts out of our minds (2 Corinthians 10:5). Then we replace those thoughts with Christlike thinking that is controlled by the Spirit and that is based on truth (Philippians 4:8). God has already granted every believer these power tools. Now we need to use them to access victory through Christ over anxiety!
Anxiety Help Bundle
This is a bundle of worksheets I use to help my counselees through anxiety. Please feel free to use for yourself or for your counselees to work through their anxiety.
COUNSELING: Struggling with anxiety, fear and/or worry? Find out the names of Biblical Counselors at your church. If there are none at your church or a church in your area, please contact us at Biblical Counseling Center. We counsel the hurting and help churches care for people. Some of our counselors meet over Skype.
This is a very good article and I have passed this onto my daughter who is dealing with some anxiety issues. I would like to download the worksheet to work with some of these issues with her but the link keeps directing me to a page that I do not have login information for. Can you send me the sheet or direct me to where I can download the information?
Hi Greg. Sorry for the late response. Here’s the link: https://biblicalcounselingcenter.org/anxiety-help-download-bundle/
God bless you, Lucy Ann Moll
Pingback: Biblical Counseling Center | The Truth of a Panic Attack - Biblical Counseling Center
Thank you for your blog article. I am looking for the fourth part of this series. Would you please provide the link.
Sorry, none of your articles are helpful. It seems you put all the responsibility and work on the ones experiencing anxiety and panic attacks. Take control of your anxious thoughts, put them out of your head and replace them with Christ’s words.
And the notion that sin is at the root of all anxiety disorders is simply misguided and harmful.
Thomas, I’m sorry these articles were not helpful to you, but you are right, they will NOT be helpful if you cannot take responsibility for your own thoughts and beliefs and do not see that you can work on your emotions, with Christ’s help through His Word. No one else can help you change your thoughts or beliefs. Only you can do that, and you can only do that in a biblical way with Christ’s help. He commands us to not be afraid. He then equips us to follow that commandment … which is NOT just a suggestion! He holds us responsible for every thought and belief because He has given us a guide book to tell us how to think and act. You are also right that some physiological conditions make anxiety a bigger, more difficult problem, but they still cannot control your thinking. You ultimately must approve or disapprove every thought and action you take. I challenge you to take responsibility to read His Word and then to live it out every day. You will see change! I will pray that you do!
I just started having these panic attacks. I started searching for information on panic or anxiety. I found the articles very helpful. I’m still a bit confused about why this is happening. I hate it. Do you have to take medication for this. I hope not.
No, you do not HAVE TO take medication. Some feel that it helps and others don’t like the way the meds make them feel. I always encourage people to first explore why it has started now (what are the triggers? what are reoccurring thoughts in the midst of panic? what do you fear the most? etc.), and how changing their thoughts about the circumstances and their beliefs about their God can help to change both heir actions regarding the circumstances and their emotions that display a working of the Holy Spirit in their life to give them a new confidence and trust in their Lord God. Panic is a fear of fear….fearing that same horrible feeling happening again and again….which triggers even more fear. Facing your fear is a better approach and dealing with the triggers instead of running from them. This build confidence and trust in the Lord who loves you beyond what words can express and who is for you, not against you. I pray that you will soon experience the peace of God that surpasses all understanding!
Pingback: Laughter is the Best Medicine – Faith & Work in the Bay