Want victory over anxiety? These keys to victory help those who fear and worry. This is the second of a three-part series on finding God’s solutions to ungodly fear. Read the first post here. Biblical counselors Sherry Allchin and Lucy Ann Moll wrote this series.
Philippians is a great book to show 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 (Phil. 1:6).
Also, he gives us purpose and meaning for life and death:
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Phil. 1:21).
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 comes in chapter 4 of Philippians. So 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 (Phil. 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 Phil. 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 the speculation.
Then we wonder why we are anxious with minds running every direction, 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 Phil. 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.
Tools for Victory over Anxiety
2 Timothy 1:7 gives us thre power 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. Then the third tool, “Sound Mind / Self-control” is commanded and He gives us the ability to put wrong and anxious thoughts out of our mind (2 Cor. 10:5). Then we replace those thoughts with Christ-like thinking that is controlled by the Spirit and that is based on Truth (Phil. 4:8). God has already granted every believer these power tools. Now we need to use them to access victory through Christ over anxiety!
DOWNLOAD: A worksheet I use to help my counselees through anxiety can be found at Biblical Counseling Center’s website. Please feel free to download this anxiety help bundle for yourself or to help your counselees to work through their anxiety.
COUNSELING: Struggling with anxiety, fear and/or worry? You may want to get guidance from one of our biblical counselors who meet in person in the greater Chicago area and by Skype. Check out our counseling info page.