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Understanding mental illness - Anxiety

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The fourth segment in our series of articles dealing with mental illness will examine anxiety. Beside the mental disorder of depression, anxiety would have to be another prevalent mental disorder that many suffer from today.

According to the Mayo Clinic, individuals with anxiety disorder, “frequently have intense, excessive worry and irrational fear about everyday situations.”

Worry and fear are human emotions that everyone may experience from time to time in their daily life. Simply looking at the evening news can sometimes be enough to bring out these tendencies.

Yet, these emotions become a disorder when it causes such an intense worry and fear in a person’s life that it keeps them from leading a normal life. A Harvard health publication states that normal anxiety is the “flight or fight” response that we all have. It is when we have anxiety even when there is no need to fight or run when it becomes detrimental to our mental and physical health. How can we prevent such a disorder to control our lives?

Well, an article on the KPRC Houston television station website mentions such techniques as taking “calming breaths,” not “magnifying problems,” stopping “worrisome thoughts” to “shifting your point of view.” Psychotherapy uses such techniques. These techniques confirm that the solution to the problem to such mental disorders is something we have examined in the introductory article of our series, having right thinking.

It is unfortunate when born-again believers in Jesus Christ resort to the humanistic techniques of psychotherapy when they have available a much higher solution. There is a difference between the solutions of psychotherapy and Biblical solutions. The Biblical solution to worry for the believer has a basis on the Lord himself and not the self-determined techniques of psychotherapy (Phil. 4:6-7):

Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (KJV Phil. 4:6-7)

The word ‘careful’ in Philippians 4:6 is a translation from the Greek word merimnate, which has a reference to being anxious or worried. Thus, the command to believers is clear, do not be anxious or worried about anything.

According to Philippians 4:7, the “peace of God” is how we can face any situation in our lives without worry. The peace of God is a tranquil state in a believer’s soul with the assurance that we have salvation in Jesus Christ. With a solid assurance in the Lord Jesus Christ, we do not have to have any worry and fear about dying. We have victory over death through Jesus Christ. For the believer death is simply a state of sleeping and afterwards waking face to face with the Lord, and no one should be afraid of sleeping (2 Cor. 5:8).

We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (KJV 2 Cor. 5:8)

For the believer who is living in the confidence of their eternal future in Christ, fear of dying should not be an issue. Fear of dying will not prevent us from dying, but it will prevent us from living.

Worry and anxiety neutralizes our spiritual life and distracts us from advancing in our spiritual growth. The command for the believer is to live each day as unto the Lord with the assurance that he will provide any need in our daily lives. Our past or concern about the future should not be a hindrance to any believer. Instead, we are to put all our concerns on the Lord (1 Pet. 5:7).

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (KJV 1 Pet. 5:7)

Therefore, when the stress of fear, worry or anxiety attacks our soul, we place it in the Lord’s hands. Whatever our worry may be, or problem of any kind, the Lord wants to handle it for us, as his children. The Lord knows all our problems and needs and has designed a solution for them all through Jesus Christ our Lord (Phil. 4:19).

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (KJV Phil. 4:19)

Worry and fear destroys the stream of consciousness of any person and will result in mental illness. Worry and fear are mental attitude sins that ignore the doctrinal truth of the Word of God. One of the motivations for becoming addicted to drugs or other substances is having fear of life, anxiety, worry and tension.

Therefore, for the believer in Jesus Christ the solution to fear, worry or any anxiety is in learning the plan of God for your life. The design of God’s plan for any believer is to remove fear and replace it with confidence in the Word of God. This confidence carries over into confidence in the Lord himself. The result is having a mental courage in life, not only in all relationship but in all circumstances in life. Who in their sound mind would not want that?

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