Be Anxious for Nothing
Posted On April 24, 2018
As I look back on the past ten months, feelings of both thankfulness and anxiety wash over me. As a student who has resumed his schooling after an intermission of some years, I am excited that in one more year I will finally be a college graduate. Equally so, as a young man transitioning further into adulthood, I struggle with the pressures and expectations that often press upon those at my stage in life. I am a student, yes, but I am also an adult, growing toward a career, marriage, and an eventual family. These things that once seemed so far off are now sitting at my doorstep, and I must answer their knocks sooner rather than later.
Like many others, I have struggled with anxiety for much of my life. If there is any sense of uncertainty in a situation, my brain seems to latch onto it and torment me with hypothetical possibilities and extreme potentialities. I will rest my thoughts on the worst outcome rather than the best. I will exchange faith in God’s providence for what seems to be an assured reality.
Since mankind’s fall into sin by the acts of Adam, humanity has persistently struggled with anxiety and unbelief. Man was once together with God in unity, but now because of sin, a divide has been placed between us and our creator. What was once a certain and comfortable relationship dramatically shifted into an uncertain and uncomfortable existence. Even though we are God’s children, redeemed by the blood of Christ, grafted back into unity with God, and recipients of the promise of salvation, the effects of the fall are still readily identifiable both in our hearts and our lives. The New Testament authors thus spent quite a bit of time speaking to the nature of anxiety and fear among the people of God. Often, when looking for comfort in the midst our our anxiety, we will appeal to Matthew 6:25–34 (“Do not worry about tomorrow…”). This is perhaps the most straightforward passage that speaks to the nature of anxiety in the lives of God’s people, but there are other passages that are also encouraging.
One such text is Ephesians 1:3–14. Paul reminds the Ephesians—and us by proxy—of who they are in Christ. In Christ, we were chosen “before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4). We were “adopted as sons through Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1:5). “We have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses” (Eph. 1:7). Mysteries of God have been made known to us “according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” (Eph. 1:9–10) In Christ, we have obtained an inheritance as adopted sons, hearers of the word of truth, the gospel of our salvation. All of this is “sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” (Eph. 1:13–14)
As Christians, these words should give us a sense of assurance in God. Whatever our anxieties or our concerns or our fears may be, do these verses not speak to them in a real way? They most certainly do. For this reason, among many, we are to give thanks to God who assures us of our salvation in Christ.
My mother used to tell me when I would whine, complain, and despair about uncertain circumstances in my life that the source of my anxiety was a lack of trust in God and His plans, His promises, and His will. Paul makes the same point. We have been chosen by God through Christ before the beginning of time, adopted as sons, set apart for His divine purposes, and sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who has been given to us for the preservation and perseverance of our faith. With this in mind, truly, what is there to be anxious for?
Mark Triplett, Jr. is a junior student at Reformation Bible College.