Fear, Anxiety, and Panic (Part 10) - Causes of AnxietySubmitted by Pastor Chad Wagner on Sunday, October 22, 2023.
Fear, Anxiety, and Panic (Part 10) - Causes of Anxiety E. Our Lord Jesus Christ was distressed and anxious in anticipation of His crucifixion. i. He was straitened (constricted, under pressure) until it was accomplished (Luk 12:50). ii. He was so stressed and in mental agony that He sweated drops of blood (Luk 22:44). a. Agony n. – 1. a. Anguish of mind, sore trouble or distress, a paroxysm of grief. b. Anguish n. – 1. Excruciating or oppressive bodily pain or suffering, such as the sufferer writhes under. 2. Severe mental suffering, excruciating or oppressive grief or distress. iii. He was “going out of His mind” because of the pressure He was under (Mar 14:33). iv. Amazed - 1. Driven stupid; stunned or stupefied, as by a blow; out of one's wits. 2. Bewildered, confounded, confused, perplexed. Of things: Thrown into confusion. v. When Jesus hung on the cross His heart was melted like wax in the midst of His bowels (Psa 22:14). vi. Jesus understands what it feels like to suffer with severe anxiety, and He is there to help us when we are anxious (Heb 2:18). F. It is possible to be enduring external trouble from every side, yet not be distressed (2Co 4:8). i. However, the same apostle Paul also suffered with fears within himself when he was troubled on every side (2Co 7:5). ii. Having fears is one thing, but letting them overcome you and undo you is another. 10. The Bible refers to anxiety as dread. A. Dread n. - 1. Extreme fear; deep awe or reverence; apprehension or anxiety as to future events. B. Fear and dread accompany one another (Exo 15:16). i. Also associated with dread is: a. Sorrow (Exo 15:14) b. Amazement, trembling, and heart-melting (Exo 15:15) c. Anguish (Deut 2:25) C. God repeatedly tells us to dread not (Deut 1:29; 1Ch 22:13). D. Only God should be our fear and dread (Isa 8:13; Dan 9:4; Mal 1:14). 11. The Bible refers to anxiety as perplexity. A. Perplexed ppl. - 1. Of a person: Involved in doubt or anxiety on account of the intricate character of the matter under consideration; bewildered, puzzled: see perplex v. 1. B. The knowledge of a coming calamity is a source of perplexity (Est 3:13-15). C. Though we may be perplexed, we should not be in despair because God is always with us (2Co 4:8). 12. The Bible refers to anxiety as astonishment of heart. A. Definitions i. Astonishment n. – 1. Loss of physical sensation, insensibility; paralysis, numbness, deadness. 2. Loss of sense or ‘wits’; being out of one’s wits or at one’s wits’ end; mental prostration, stupor. 3. Loss of presence of mind, coolness, or courage; dismay, consternation, dread. 4. Mental disturbance or excitement due to the sudden presentation of anything unlooked for or unaccountable; wonder temporarily overpowering the mind; amazement. ii. Astonished ppl. – 1. Bereft of sensation; stunned, benumbed. 2. Stunned or paralyzed mentally, bereft of one's wits; stupefied, bewildered. iii. Astonied adj. – 1. Stunned, stupefied, deprived of sensation; primarily by a blow, but subseq. also by anesthetics, cold, etc.; insensible, benumbed, paralyzed. 3. Bewildered, filled with consternation, dismayed. iv. Dismayed ppl. – Overwhelmed with fear, etc.; appalled. B. Being astonished sometimes refers to being afraid (Jer 2:12; Eze 27:35). C. Astonishment is sometimes associated with care which is a synonym of anxiety (Eze 4:16; Eze 12:19). D. One of God’s judgments on those who forsake Him is to smite them with astonishment of heart (Deut 28:28). E. King Belshazzar’s lords were astonied when they saw the hand writing on the wall and how the king was greatly troubled over it (Dan 5:9). 13. Causes of anxiety A. Distressing circumstances such as our Lord Jesus Christ and the apostle Paul faced (see above). B. Being too busy doing too many things. i. Martha chose to be busy with many things. ii. She was cumbered about much serving (Luk 10:40). a. Cumber v. - 1. trans. To overwhelm, overthrow, rout, destroy. 2. To harass, distress, trouble. Obs. (exc. with mixture of sense 4: to incommode, bother). 1611 Bible Luke x. 40 Martha was cumbred about much seruing. 4. To occupy obstructively, or inconveniently; to block up or fill with what hinders freedom of motion or action; to burden, load. b. She was troubled and distressed (stressed), or, in other words, suffering with anxiety. iii. She was careful and troubled about many things (Luk 10:41). a. Careful adj. – 1. Full of grief; mournful, sorrowful; also (of cries, etc.), expressing sorrow. Obs. (last usage in 1599) 2. Full of care, trouble, anxiety, or concern; anxious, troubled, solicitous, concerned. b. Because she was so busy tending to so many things, she was full of anxiety and concern. c. She was mentally disturbed, disquieted, agitated, troubled, and anxious. iv. She needed to give priority to those things which were needful, the most important of which is learning Christ's doctrine (Luk 10:42). v. Anxiety is an alarm system in our body that alerts us that we have been stressing it for too long. a. “Anxiety is just an alarm system. Nothing more and nothing less. Anxiety is our body’s internal notification that our brain is detecting danger, that our body is in desperate need of sleep and restoration, that we are disconnected from our tribe or community, or that we are lonely. “Our anxiety alarms cause restlessness, racing hearts, panic attacks, a stomach drop, hypervigilance, and looping, intrusive thoughts. They do this because it’s our body’s way of screaming, “DANGER! NOT SAFE! RUN!” “But . . . Anxiety is not a permanent medical condition. Anxiety is not an identity. Anxiety shouldn’t be a way of being, an excuse, or a reason for giving up on connection and joy. “It’s just an alarm. And in our never-ending quest to avoid pain, negative consequences, or uncomfortable feelings or any kind, we’ve channeled all of our spiritual, pharmaceutical, medical, and psychological energies into trying to fix or disable the alarm system instead of putting out the fires and clearing out the smoke.” (John Delony, Redefining Anxiety, p. 6-7) b. “If you’re struggling with anxiety, remember you probably don’t have a disease that can only be solved with medications. Instead, you may be stuck in or choosing an unsustainable, overwhelming life―dragged into or leaning into the chaos and disconnection of our modern world. Or you may have found yourself lonely and without relationships. But you can change.” (Ibid, p. 17) C. The death of a loved one. i. David was distressed because of the death of his best friend Jonathan (2Sa 1:26). ii. The death of a loved one can be a traumatic event which can cause anxiety. a. “At first glance, the relationship between anxiety and grief might not seem obvious. But grief and anxiety are intimately connected. Grief provides an opportunity to examine the people and situations that have hurt us so we can learn from them and move forward. Grieving is about acknowledging, processing, and putting down the bricks of deep pain or regret, unmet expectations, shame, different life paths, or change. Unresolved grief can become a breeding ground for the nameless, low-level anxiety we can’t shake.” (Ibid, p. 55) b. “Acknowledging what you’ve lost shines a light on your pain. Light takes away the power and mystery of darkness. We will never heal from our trauma until we’ve processed it. We will never move on until we’ve allowed ourselves to feel the weight of the loss and hurt so we can make sense of it all. Give yourself permission to grieve. Cry. Yell. Be angry. Connect with a trusted friend or a therapist to work through lingering pain. Sit in your pain and loss, maybe even schedule time with it, but don’t bathe in it. Eventually, you will move through the grief and find meaning on the other side. Acknowledging loss and finding meaning helps us silence the alarms.” (Ibid, p. 57) D. Obsessing and worrying about things that we cannot change, such as evil happening in the world. i. The evil men of this world and their wickedness can cause God’s children to fret (worry, be distressed, or anxious), which we are commanded not to do (Psa 37:1; Pro 24:19). ii. Fret v.1 - 8. trans. To chafe, irritate. Chiefly with regard to the mind: To annoy, distress, vex, worry. Also, to fret oneself; and to bring into or to (a specified condition) by worrying. Cf. fret v.4 1. iii. Instead of worrying and being anxious about what the wicked may be plotting, we should rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him to judge them (Psa 37:7; Psa 37:2, 9-10, 12-15). iv. If the evil happening in the world is causing you anxiety, turn off the TV and stop reading the news for a while, and instead read your Bible and pray to God. E. A moral collapse of society. i. When a society becomes corrupt, it causes perplexity (anxiety) for those who live in it (Mic 7:2-4). ii. Such a situation is a source of anxiety because nobody can be trusted (Mic 7:5-6). F. Political and national upheavals. i. Great national and political upheavals cause men to be perplexed and fearful (Luk 21:25-26). ii. This is probably contributing the heightened anxiety levels in our world today. G. Extreme poverty i. The Lord sent a famine to Jerusalem and the people ate bread by weight with care and drank water by measure with astonishment (Eze 4:16). ii. Care n. – 1. a. Mental suffering, sorrow, grief, trouble. 2. Burdened state of mind arising from fear, doubt, or concern about anything; solicitude, anxiety, mental perturbation; also in pl. anxieties, solicitudes. iii. Famine and destitution cause perplexity (anxiety) among both man and beast (Joe 1:15-20). H. Being in debt i. The men that followed David were in distress, in debt, and discontented (1Sa 22:2). ii. Discontentment leads to debt (Heb 13:5). iii. Debt leads to distress. a. Being in debt causes worry and anxiety. b. Owing no man anything leads to freedom and peace of mind.
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