Anxiety, fear, even depression are common issues among modern people. One might think that with the rise of technology, the prevalence of medications, and the ubiquity of mental health language, we would be a people who are the happiest and healthiest ever. But, in truth, we as a society are as frightened and miserable as any generation before us.
The reasons for this are many. Modern psychologists have a faulty understanding of humanity. They miss the significance of what it means to be created by God or to sin against that God. They also miss the comforting concept of the presence of God, the Holy Spirit, or the promise of eternity. And so the psychological community continues to try to work people through exercises and medications to be able to limp into the future.
But the word of God is clear that there is something else that brings peace to the mind of a child of God. And it is not a modern, atheistic, psychological technique.
You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
Who is in peace? The one kept by God is at peace. Why is she at peace? Her mind is stayed on the Lord. Why is he stayed on the Lord? He trusts in the Lord.
Friends, when our souls are not at peace, our first test needs to be one of where our minds are stayed. Where do you let your mind go? Where do you let your thoughts rest? Is your mind centered on the truth of the Lord and his promise of eternity? Or is your mind centered on the things you fear might come, the things you are afraid could happen?
Many people have told us not to borrow trouble from the future. Jesus himself warned us at the end of Matthew 6 that to worry about the future is a gentile activity. But those who truly consider the Lord and truly believe, they find their minds comforted and their hearts at peace.
Have your minds stayed on the Lord. Make the truth of God the center of your thoughts, and do not let your thoughts move away from that truth. This is where the rubber hits the road in dealing with anxiety. Is the Lord we claim to serve real? Is he capable? Is he good? Are his promises true? Do we understand that any earthly outcome is tolerable in the light of eternity? Do we understand that God will do perfect justice in his time? Do we understand that our light and momentary affliction builds up for us an eternal weight of glory to come (cf. 2 Cor 4:16-18)?
How do you keep your mind stayed on the Lord? There are lots of answers to that. But let’s simply suggest a few:
- Regularly spend time in the word of God so that your mind will be stayed on the Lord.
- Talk about the things of God with mature Christians who will direct your mind toward the Lord.
- Encourage younger believers to focus their lives on the glory of God, and this will focus you as well.
- Attend worship service and take part in the glorious opportunities we have to hear the word preached, to pray, to sing, to participate in Lord’s supper, and to encourage other believers.
- Cut out of your life worthless things that trap your mind in worldliness and fear.
- Intentionally force yourself to think eternal thoughts, thoughts of heaven and the return of Christ (cf. Col 3:1-4).