"Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me" John 14:1
Written by Kevin L. Howard   
Have you ever had a doctor's appointment scheduled several weeks in advance, and the closer you got to the date, the more anxious you grew?  Or perhaps you've needed to talk with someone about a troublesome matter, and you've brooded over how it would go?  Most of us can easily find things to worry about.  How do we live free of it?


The only true defense against worry is faith.  Philippians 4:6-7 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  While it sometimes seems trite to quote this verse, we should grasp its truth.  Our path to victory over worry starts with turning our focus to God.  One key way to focus on God is through prayer.  When we pray our stresses over to him, we could hold onto them, or we might just leave them for him to sort through.  We can choose, by God's grace, to thank him throughout our trials, and as a result, he will build a fence around our lives to shield us from the worry that would otherwise consume us. 


Again, we slay the dragon of stress with faith.  And faith grows by feeding on a steady diet of God's Word.  The more we delve into God's Word and spend time with God's people who delight in his Word, the better our chances of putting a sword through the heart of worry. 


Ps 119:15-16 says, "I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.  I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word."  As one pastor likes to say, if you can worry, you already know how to meditate.  Meditation, in this context, means focusing all your thoughts on one topic.  And that's what worry is-thinking only about your problem.  Meditating on God's Word involves the same type of focused attention on God.  This is not a new age gimmick to trick you into forgetting, or denying, your problems, rather it's a strategy for seeing your problems in light of God's sovereignty.


Acknowledge your problems, but keep taking that worrisome thought to God.  "Lord, I'm stressed about [fill in blank].  I don't know how to handle it.  Forgive me for trying to handle it without you.  Forgive me for running it over and over in my mind until it seemingly has grown bigger than you.  I know you are sovereign and I place my hope in you to work out my situation, or to give me the wisdom to know how to respond.  Thank you for my friends and family [or, fill in blank].  You reign supreme and I'll believe in your goodness no matter what my circumstances."


In the book Future Grace, John Piper says, "Let us make war, not with other people, but with our own unbelief.  It is the root of anxiety, which, in turn, is the root of so many other sins" (61).

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