Anxiety is a huge issue in our culture. 43% of North Americans take mood altering prescriptions regularly, many of these people are Christians. Anxiety is the opposite of peace, and the more we grow in Christ and the more spiritually mature we become, the more peace we will have, since peace is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).
Now, this isn’t to diminish the medical conditions of people who struggle with anxiety. However, anxiety is generally not only a physical issue, though that can be part of it. There are emotional, psychological, and spiritual components, too.
I want to briefly discuss three traits, that flow from spiritual maturity, that bring peace.
1. Have an Assurance of Salvation
While most people fret about the mundane details of the here and now and day-to-day, surveys have shown that people do often think of the “afterlife.” As Christians, we should have peace in the here and now because of what God will do in the future. The more kingdom minded we are, the less the day-to-day will stress us out — the more peace you will have.
For I consider that our present sufferings cannot even be compared to the coming glory that will be revealed to us. Romans 8:18 (NET)
Paul had a kingdom mindset, and he knew that his persecution for the sake of the Gospel didn’t even compare to the greatness that was to come. He also had total assurance that God would keep his promises in the future.
It is God alone who saves, and as a result, it is God who secures our salvation, not us. We can rest in the knowledge that we didn’t do anything to earn or merit out salvation, so we can’t do anything to lose it. God does the saving and securing!
2. Rest in God’s Sovereignty and Word
For some Christians, a large amount of anxiety comes from worrying that they are “out of the will of God” or only have found God’s “second best”. In fact, the whole search for the “will of God” has been the main source of religiously-orientated stress I’ve seen in the people around me, throughout my life.
However, there is no hidden will of God that we need to discover. There are no signs and signals we need to divine, no closed and open doors we need to recognize, no fleeces to put out, no “still small voice to listen for”. All of these practices stem from scripture that has been de-contextualized and had faulty application made from it.
Every recorded time God spoke in Scripture, it was clear, and no one needed to strain to hear him. All that God expects of us is made clear in his Word, where he has spoken authoritatively and finally. We need to learn to follow God’s direct guidance in scripture and exercise wisdom in the areas that aren’t addressed. (Much, much more could be said on this topic).
Often times, we act like the Bible isn’t sufficient for life. So, we become very superstitious by trying to divine God’s will from non-biblical sources.
However, great peace can be found by following what God has commanded in Scripture and by resting in the knowledge that God will always accomplish his sovereign will. If he wants it to happen, we aren’t going to screw it up!
3. Save for a Rainy Day
Recently a friend mentioned he had peace that flowed from having an emergency fund (Money for 3-6 months of expenses stored away somewhere that you don’t touch.) This is one of Dave Ramsey’s “Baby Steps”. It’s also firmly grounded in biblical wisdom. For example:
A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children Proverbs 13:22 (NASB)
“60 percent of Americans do not have enough rainy day funds set aside to deal with even minor calamities”. This should not be. As Christians, we have been called to be good stewards of the resources that have been entrusted to us. We also have been called to provide for our families and their security (or ensure they are provided for. 1 Timothy 5:8).
Saving money away for a rainy day is an act of wisdom, because financial storms are going to come. And like most godly wisdom, this brings peace too.
Now, I know some people barely make enough to pay the minimum bills necessary for survival. This is in no way a sleight on those people. However, there are many people who have far too many bills for things that are not necessities (like mobile data, cable, fast food, home internet, new car, etc…), and therefore can’t save to be able to weather the future storms.
The wise life may not always feel the happiest, but it will certainly provide more peace.
Often times, the main source of anxiety in the life of Christians comes from trying to be God, or fulfill God’s role. We may do this by trying to work for our salvation (albeit unintentionally sometimes); by being earthly-minded, instead of kingdom-minded; and by trying to always search for God’s “will”, when what we need to know has been already provided to us.
Peace comes from realizing that God has given us all we need, and he will accomplish his good purposes.
What are some areas where you have peace as a Christian?