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Jesus presents anxiety as one of the biggest impediments to seeking the Kingdom of God. For many of us, worries and anxiety in life keep us from all we are meant to be under God.

In this six-day track, Ben Stuart reminds us that there is an invitation to cast our cares on Him. Our anxieties are not too heavy for God — He is there waiting for us to release them. Let’s get started.

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11.10.2023

About this track

Jesus presents anxiety as one of the biggest impediments to seeking the Kingdom of God. For many of us, worries and anxiety in life keep us from all we are meant to be under God.

In this six-day track, Ben Stuart reminds us that there is an invitation to cast our cares on Him. Our anxieties are not too heavy for God — He is there waiting for us to release them. Let’s get started.

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Day 02

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Release Worry With Prayer

Day 03

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Release Worry With Thanksgiving

Day 04

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Embrace God's Word

Day 05

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Enjoy God's World

Welcome to day one of our track, From Anxiety to Intimacy. Today, Ben Stuart shares his personal experience with anxiety and asks how we move from the world’s anxiety to intimacy with God?

And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you. “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Luke 12:29-32

We can be comforted by these words of scripture when we’re feeling anxious, understanding that intimacy with God is the ultimate remedy to anxiety.

So, let’s start by just processing these words that God has given us.

Video

Summary

Anxiety does have power.
It can even impactsus physically.

In this Track, we will look Biblically at anxiety in the world and intimacy with God.

Matthew 6:25-34: Jesus presents anxiety as one of the greatest impediments to our God-given destiny. Anxiety gets in the way of us seeking the Kingdom.

Luke 8:11-15: In the parable of the sower, Jesus says there is a soil that the seed grows well in, but is then choked out by weeds. He calls one of the weeds the worries of this life. His point is that worry chokes out life.

Luke 10:39-42: Martha was anxious about many things and getting annoyed with people around her. She was so focused on her anxiety that she was missing the major thing…the Messiah was right in front of her.

Luke 12:29-32: It’s God’s pleasure to give us the Kingdom. Be comforted by these words.

Jesus addresses us as a little flock. We are sheep in need of a Shepherd, and He longs to care for us.

What's next?

Today, open a dialogue with God about your anxiety with a simple prayer. Ask him to move along with you from anxiety to intimacy. Intimacy with God is the remedy to anxiety in the world.

Today, as we enter day two of our track, From Anxiety to Intimacy, we are faced with the ongoing question: how do we move from people caught up by our anxiety and become individuals walking in peace and intimacy with God?

“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Philippians 4:6

We first need to create an environment where those anxieties can rise up and leave us by using prayer and supplication. Prayer means to create a space to interact with God, and supplication means to make a request.

Give yourself permission to find space for prayer and allow your requests to bubble up. Then, offer them to God in supplication.

Video

Summary

Anxiety can be a powerful motivator of activity; it just doesn’t lead you in the most productive of directions.

How do we move from being caught up in anxiety to people who are walking in intimacy and peace with God?

Philippians 4:6 says “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Paul is saying to release your anxiety to God in prayer. The verb Paul uses for “let” is one that implies that the anxiety wants to get out, so let it.

Prayer, here in this passage, refers to the general space we open to interact with God. People don’t think that they have time for this, but as they say in sharpshooter school, “slow is smooth, smooth is fast.” They mean that hurry costs you your accuracy. So many people are busy, but they are not efficient. If we can slow down, we can be smooth, even fast. We will become comfortable being with God, and as it becomes a habit, we will cultivate that vulnerable space even quicker.

Supplication is to make a request. We have the opportunity to sit with the Creator of the universe and make a request.
Many believers try to jump straight into reading the Bible first thing in the morning, but they have all these stresses and anxieties in the front of their minds. They try to power through and read the Scripture, but they are so preoccupied with everything going on that they don’t comprehend or retain anything they read. Then, they get frustrated and feel like it all was a waste of time. They spend the rest of the day pinging around as a giant ball of anxiety. Maybe try something different that Ben practices.

First thing in the morning, ask yourself how you feel and write it out. Before getting into the Word, check yourself. Writing out your anxiety externalizes it and lets it be made known as a request to God. Lingering in the intimacy of Him brings you out of a state of anxiety.

What's next?

First thing in the morning, before you jump into Bible reading, write out what is on your mind. Externalize your anxiety and rest in His presence.

It’s day three of From Anxiety to Intimacy. We’re looking back to Philippians 4, except this time, we’re focusing on thanksgiving.

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Philippians 4:6

Ben Stuart addresses the question many of us may ask ourselves: Why would I be grateful if I’m anxious?

We offer thanksgiving to God, acknowledging that He not only rules the world and all that we’re concerned with but invites us to bring our requests to Him because He cares. Our worries are not too heavy for God; He is strong enough to hold us and loving enough to want to.

When we are able to not only release our worries to Him and allow Him to carry them, we can then express our gratitude. So, stop for a minute and tell God what you’re grateful for. Search for the things you’re thankful for, even if it’s hard initially. We can stop focusing on what we lack and instead focus on Him.

Video

Summary

In Ancient Rome, a man was baptized, and his name changed from Titedios to Titedios Amerimnos. “Amerinmos” signifies “without worry.” We all have the opportunity to trade our worries and to rest in intimacy with our King.

Modern researchers are seeing the benefits of meditation and thanksgiving, which Christians have been practicing for thousands of years. Gratitude can be a remedy for anxiety. We trade in chaos for a sense of contentment because Godliness with contentment is a great gain.

In Philippians 4:6, Paul says to offer up our prayers with thanksgiving. Why would we be grateful if we are anxious? We have so many things we are concerned about. Where do I work? Will it provide enough money? Where should I live? Will I ever get married? Gratitude has a way of interrupting that anxiety.

How does this work?

We are thanking God, not anyone or anything else. There is an acknowledgment that God rules all of the world even the things we are concerned about. He allows us to bring our requests into the throne room. This is a stunning truth for the believer.

In 1 Peter 5:7 and Psalm 55:22, we see that the command is the same, but the motivations are different. One is saying He is strong enough to hold us and the other is recognizing that He is strong enough to want to.

We, and our burdens, are not too heavy for the Lord. We are going to be taken care of.

What's next?

As you write out your anxieties, start recording what you are grateful for. Thanksgiving is an antidote to rising anxiety, allowing us to shift our focus from what we lack to what we have in Him, who loves and sustains us. He will not let the righteous fall. Psalm 55:22

We are stepping into day four of our journey through From Anxiety to Intimacy. We talked about how we can combat anxiety through release and thanksgiving, and today, we see how we can embrace God’s Word.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Philippians 4:8

God wants to pour blessings into our lives, but we must be stilled by prayer. Our mind, with all of its worries, needs to be freed up so we can then replace it with better thoughts. We can choose to set our minds on lovely, beautiful, and commendable things in the midst of pain.

So, we challenge you to read Philippians 4:8 again and think about how to fill your mind with the Word of God.

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Summary

Prayer frees us up to make good decisions. We can go from being captured by anxiety to being liberated by intimacy with God. We release our concerns in prayer with thanksgiving. One of the greatest things we can be grateful for is the ability to bring our requests to God. We aren’t just emptying our minds. We release our concerns, but then we fill our minds with the character of God, who hears the prayers of His people.

Philippians 4:8 guides us in what we are to set our minds on. So, as we release our anxious thoughts, we embrace lovely thoughts.
What’s true? What is commensurate with reality?
What’s honorable? What is a respectful and dignified way to live?
What’s just? What are the actions that I can take to fulfill any obligation I may have with both God and man?
What’s pure? What is a work of art or music to be appreciated?
What is commendable? What is admirable enough to make sure the masses know about it?
What is an excellent thing worthy of praise?

Think about these things. Take them into account. Let them into your mind.

What's next?

Embrace God's Word. Write out Philippians 4. Slow down and set your mind on His Word, and see if it changes your demeanor. There's quality and beauty there if you have eyes to see it.

Day five, and we’re picking up from where we left off in From Anxiety to Intimacy. This time, we’re introduced to the idea that anxiety can be countered with joy.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.
Philippians 4:4

One of the greatest tools to combat anxiety is the joy of self-forgetting. As we learn about pivotal historical figures in history, we come to see how we can sustain power in the midst of pain with unbounded joy.

Instead of immediately reading the news or scrolling through your phone in the morning tomorrow, try finding the little things around you that bring you joy.

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Summary

Philippians 4:4 says to rejoice always. That can be hard to do when your anxiety is rising, but all throughout history, we have examples of people rising above their sorrows.

William Wilberforce- the tool he used to combat anxiety was what he called “the joy of self-forgetting.” He spent his life leading the Abolition movement and yet was physically in immense amounts of pain. However, his joy was irresistible. He fought the sadness of his difficulty by seeking ways to enjoy all that God had made.

Martin Luther suffered from depression. He found ways not to make the clouds lift but to move through the clouds. He bowled, listened to music, and married a woman who made him laugh.

Charles Spurgeon was melancholy and had bouts of depression. He would look all over in nature and would find great joy. He encouraged others to do the same so they wouldn’t fall into a victim mentality.

Jonathan Edwards said that he had to find what was good in the world for him to sustain himself for the glory of God.
It’s the same with us. One of the greatest weapons against worry is harnessing the joy of the world ourselves.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 talks about how there is a time for everything. Laugh, cry, dance, mourn…and to enjoy what is around us.

What's next?

Write down all your concerns, process them with God, give thanks...and then leave it. Go for a walk in the woods, call a good friend, watch a movie you enjoy, and listen to music that makes your soul come alive. Harness the beauty of the world to fight the tyranny of worry.

Today, we close out From Anxiety into Intimacy. We’ve learned that in order to combat anxiety well, we should release our worries to Him through prayer, practice thanksgiving, embrace God’s Word, and enjoy God’s world. We now focus on how to finish our race well through our productive work.

What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:9

We have done the mental and emotional work of unloading our cares and focusing on God’s Word, but at some point, we must rise up and go out into the world.

We challenge you to enter a productive way of living. Get involved in a church or surround yourself with a community you can serve. And enjoy the pleasure of self-forgetting.

Video

Summary

We get to release worry and receive peace from God. We fill our minds with lovely thoughts and enjoy the world around us that the Lord has given.

In Philippians 4:9, Paul wants to give us another key to this miraculous trade. He recommends to get into God’s work. He lays out a beautiful parallel.

When I release my anxiety to God, the peace of God will guard me.
When I embrace the work of God, the God of peace will be with me.

It’s great to do all the mental work, but you have to get out of the chair at some point.

Be a part of something productive and good in this world. That can actually be a comfort when you have anxiety.
Step into a useful activity and do the next right thing.

What's next?

If you're ready, find some productive work to put your hands to. Get involved in a church, surround yourself in a community where you can serve. Maybe start small, taking food to someone going through a hard time, or letting a friend know you'll help them move this weekend. Set your eyes on something other than yourself, and walk with God wherever He is leading you.

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Ben Stuart Ben Stuart is the pastor of Passion City Church D.C. Prior to joining Passion City Church, Ben served as the executive director of Breakaway Ministries on the campus of Texas A&M. He also earned a master’s degree in historical theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Donna, live to inspire and equip people to walk with God for a lifetime.

Day 02

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We Need to Talk

Day 03

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The Role of the Church

Day 04

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Tearing Down the Veneer

Day 05

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Your Destiny is in Staying