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Seek His Kingdom
Navigating the extremes of life with the help of God
“And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.”
Luke 12:29-32 NASB1995
Our church owes a debt of gratitude to Church of the City, a non-denominational congregation founded in Nashville, TN that has grown to several campuses in the Nashville area. The pastor of that church, Dr. Darren Whitehead, is a friend of several members of the pastoral team at our church (Church of the Front Range, which was founded in 2020 and is now spreading to a possible third campus), so the teams support each other when one or more pastors wants to take a little break. There are many similarities between our churches, from our beliefs to our logos, from our style of worship and teaching to our website design.
We’ve been blessed to hear from Darren the past two weeks while our pastor, Shane Farmer, recharges after leading the church through an unprecedented outpouring of 24/7 worship since February 8, 2023. Being a dynamic and Spirit-filled Australian ex-pat who has gone through his share of troubles in his life, Darren is the perfect messenger to explain the Biblical reasons why no believer should be seized with anxiety. I took copious notes during his message on July 16, 2023, which I’ll summarize here.
Darren alluded to the “Window Of Tolerance” that all human experience falls into. What we hope for in our lives is healthy engagement with the world and all of its issues, where we are abiding (enduring, being steadfast) in Christ. Throw a worldwide calamity like COVID-19 into the mix, and people tend to either get into a state of hyperarousal (angst) or hypoarousal (apathy). When angst hits, our minds and bodies mode into “flight or fight” mode, resulting in unhealthy levels of fear and anger. At the other end of the spectrum, we shut down and become apathetic about what’s going on, going numb to the pressures of life.
The pandemic caused most of us to go through the extremes of angst and apathy. Human minds like to focus on negative feelings (what I like to call “worst-casing”) and if we’re not talking with others about those feelings, we’re alone with our thoughts and things start spiraling out of control. To avoid thinking, we distract ourselves with binge-watching TV or doom-scrolling social media — both of which can feed angst.
As Darren Whitehead pointed out, there are tools Christians can use to survive the effects of anxiety. As believers, we need to look at anxiety differently from “pagans”, realizing that God truly does have everything under control. Scripture is full of admonishments and reminders about anxiety:
“And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span?”
Luke 12:25 NASB1995
“Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”
Psalms 55:22 NASB1995
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
John 14:27 NASB1995
For a Christian, the only reason to be anxious is imagining a future without Jesus! We have our Biblical methods of dealing with both angst and apathy. When we’re anxious, we need to cast our anxieties on Him instead of shouldering the burden alone. And when we’re in the pits of apathy, not feeling much of anything other than numbness, we should acknowledge what we have received from God in our lifetimes:
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7 NASB1995
Your weary heart will leap with gratitude when you thank God for every good thing! Like a rudder on a ship, these tools steer our hearts and minds back to abiding in God’s presence and that healthy engagement with the world.
Heaven On Wheels Daily Prayer:
Father in Heaven, I thank You for Your constant provision and protection. When the stresses of this life create anxiety in my thoughts, remind me to cast my cares onto You, for Your infinite strength can carry that load. If I become numb and apathetic when I’m under pressure, I know that I should acknowledge and give thanks to You for everything You’ve done for me in my lifetime. During the extremes of my emotions, I will seek first Your Kingdom! AMEN.