Last time, we began to go over how anxiety can cripple a person by affecting their mind, strength, heart, and soul. Anxiety can rule over a person’s life. This week, I would like to cover whether or not all anxiety is sinful, and how the end goal of anxiety is death. But before we talk about that, we need to continue how anxiety can cripple us.
Scripture farther explains in (ESV) Proverbs 17:22, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
The word “crushed” in this verse means “broken” in Hebrew. This is where the next part of our study happens.
We need to understand that anything in this world not of God has the end goal of seeking death. Anxiety is not of the Lord. Anything that is of God is good, leads us to Him, and points us to life. Anything of God is used to serve Him in our life. Anxiety wants us to reject God, trust our feelings and fear, and eventually (the end goal) is despair, which leads to death.
If an entire person is crushed, in a physical sense, he or she dies. Anxiety affects the entirety of a person. Thus, its end goal is death.
Anxiety is a state of unknowing. It’s a desire to put our hope, trust, and sense of control into something that will never be sufficient. Worry often accompanies anxiety. Anxiety’s goal is to focus on how much lack of control we have and reject focusing on the One who DOES have complete control.
The lie is thinking we have all the answers and can bend time to our will. Then when anxiety happens we act as if we’ve screwed up the system and need to fix it.
We are not God, and yet, anxiety reminds us how much we want to be God.
We want to be the ones in control. We want to control life the way we desire. And when we can’t, anxiety happens. (This isn’t to say sometimes anxiety is also produced because of an imbalance of hormones, etc, because it certainly can be. But the illustration here is to focus on the hopelessness anxiety brings, along with the lie.)
With the depth anxiety can go, could anxiety be sinful? Is it always sinful?
Now, in the study I went over, a view was brought up. “Since scripture says we are not to be anxious, then this means if we are anxious, then we must be sinful.”
I’m positive there are people who share a similar mindset. All anxiety and fear must be sinful. But in order to trust this viewpoint, we need to prove this with scripture. I would like to go over why I believe this mindset is not Biblical.
There are no scriptures that directly say anxiety is a sin. There are no scriptures in the Old Testament that say if someone became anxious, there was a particular animal sacrifice he needs to present to be forgiven.
And furthermore, because we believe Jesus Christ is the God-Man and He was sinless, if He experienced anxiety, then that would mean ALL anxiety cannot be sinful because Christ did not sin.
So, did Christ experience any form of anxiety? This is where it really helps to understand the human nature of Jesus Christ. (Christians call the God nature and human nature of Christ the hypostaic union). Check out Why Is The Humanity Of Jesus Important?
Let me remind you of the basic definition of anxiety. A painful uneasiness of mind. Possible body reactions (like sweat) in relation to fear.
(ESV) John 13:21, “After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, “Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.”
Definition of agitate – to excite and often trouble the mind or feelings. Agitation, in fact, is synonymous with anxiety. (From Merriam Webster Dictionary)
I think it’s clear to say we can see that Jesus experienced anxiety.
In John 14:01, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.” (ESV)
Even though Jesus experiences His own spirit being troubled, He encourages the disciples, just a chapter later, not to be troubled. Troubled is the same definition in John 14:01, as it is in John 13:21, Greek 5015.
If all anxiety was a sin, then Jesus’ statement would be hypocritical, and our Savior would not be sinless, which means He could not be a sufficient atonement sacrifice. But He did experience a form of anxiety, and He WAS sufficient as our atonement sacrifice. Christ experienced anxiety, and He still remained sinless.
From this, we can take away that anxiety is not always sinful. But now the question becomes is anxiety NEVER sinful?
(ESV) Psalm 38:18, “I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin.”
I am sorry – reads as I am troubled in Hebrew. Strongs 1672 defines troubled to mean anxious, to fear, or to be concerned.
This scripture seems to indicate anxiety can sometimes be related to sin. This does not mean anxiety itself is a sin, rather, that sin causes us anxiety. But there is a type of anxiety that can lead to repentance.
(ESV) 2 Corinthians 7:09, “As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.”
You were grieved– reads as you were made sorrowful in Greek. Strongs 3076. This means to experience deep emotional pain.
We do see a bit of a difference between grief and anxiety, however, both do trouble the mind and emotions in a heavy way.
What is most encouraging is knowing that though anxiety is extremely unpleasant, even with anxiety, God has not deserted us. In fact, He can use anxiety to draw us closer to Him.
I will be talking about this more in a following post. How can we strive for the peace of God during anxiety? As we saw today, Christ experienced anxiety, and so we will be looking at Him for our example on what to do.
- What Is The Gospel – To learn more about what Jesus did on the cross and why His atonement sacrifice is so needed please see: Why Did A Loving God Kill His Son? (Does God Hate?)
- If you think you know the Gospel, check out these questions and see how prepared you are for the day someone might ask you why you believe: The Gospel Challenge (30 Question Quiz) – Are You Ready To Defend Your Faith?
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