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 Anxiety and Faith
{From the book -"Living Through Christ" - by G.D. Watson/Steve Bray}   


     Anxiety and faith are just the opposite of each other. By contrasting the two we will learn how to lose the one and acquire the other. It will also help us to see how our faith has begun to recede as soon as anxiety begins to develop.

     Anxiety has its center in the creature, but faith has its center in God. Anxiety can only occur when the soul has placed some of its trust in something other than God.

     Reason is the parent of anxiety. Because it naturally looks at the creature, at friends or foes, at works of nature, at circumstances and probabilities, which are all unstable, it can never produce perfect confidence.

     In contrast, faith pierces through all creatures, and all circumstances, and fastens itself upon an infinite, loving, and Sovereign God - a God who knows all and superintends all.

     Faith is the eye of the human spirit looking at God; and, in a certain lofty sense, ignoring everything but God. In childlike faith it trusts in His promise to work out all things for the good of His children.

     Anxiety originates in the unfulfilled desires that come out of the fallen state. Faith, on the other hand, has its origin in the fullness of the provisions of God. The fallen condition of the soul causes it to have many overreaching desires and excessive feelings of want. Its spiritual life is dependent on what is taking place around it in the natural realm. Reason is therefore always busy with these wants, constantly searching for ways and means to improve the situation and gratify its desires. It sees the many instances where its plans are hindered - where these wants are not supplied - and this creates anxiety. And since these wants tend to grow as they are brooded upon, the natural life eventually becomes an endless reaching out to do something about these unfulfilled desires, which continues to compound anxiety.

     In contrast, faith goes out from the creature and looks upon the fullness of God. It searches into His character, His benevolence, and His inexhaustible power to supply whatever is needed, including His heavenly spiritual life, and then simply rests in Him.  This vision of the fullness of God destroys anxiety.

     Anxiety is related to what it can see through the natural perceptions and is attached to how the human will chooses to deal with its immediate surroundings. But faith has a wonderful expansiveness to it, and is attached to God's will wherever His will leads. It enters into His Sabbath-rest, ceases from its own works, and learns to trustingly live by God's Spirit.

     The natural reason is nearsighted and sees things only that affect the present hour and emergency. It sees things fragmentary, and so it becomes perplexed at the problems and complications of men and things. It attaches itself to this or that thing or enterprise, and when something does not work, or there is a disappointment, it is in consternation.

     In contrast, faith is long-visioned and is expanded whenever there is trust in God. It is firmly attached to the Divine will, so that it does not cling to any creature, or human plan, or circumstance, or nation, or position, or church, or earthly prop. It is internally united to God Himself, and thus it can easily let go of all things and circumstances to be in harmony with God's providences. And in this place where the will is in complete union with God's will, it finds perfect rest of soul.

     Faith looks at passing events from the standpoint of eternity, as they will appear thousands of years from now. On the other hand, anxiety results from seeing all creatures and events out of their proper proportion. With its microscopic view, it sees things to be giants - things that faith is able to look at in the light of eternity and regard as only tiny insects.

     Human reason, which is the instrument of anxiety, fixes its hope first on this person, then on that, first on this party or government, or enterprise, or prospect, or plan and then on that. Anxiety is therefore like a person crossing a river of floating blocks of ice, stepping on one and hoping it will float them over, but when they find it is melting or sinking they step on another. The mind never reaches a solid rest and deep repose in God.

     In contrast, faith has gotten down through the shifting sands on the earth's surface and is anchored in the primeval rock of God and His promises. It never changes its object. Because it has learned to find its perfect rest in an infinite God, it spurns everything that is separated from God's eternal purposes. It has complete assurance that the will of God is always accomplished. And the more it expands and apprehends God, the farther it gets from ever wanting to look to the temporal realm for hope.

     Perfect faith in God reduces all things in life to a state of simplicity. The reason, the judgment, the affections, the words, the labors of such a soul all move in straight lines under the dominion of a deep and simple faith in God. It knows that nothing can occur that is not according to God's will. It therefore shuns the complex where reason naturally goes in an attempt to work out its own results.

     We should begin to see how those who still become anxious and uneasy have a mixed religion. "For he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind." (Jam. 1:6) It comes from trying in some way to depend on human reason rather than walking by the Spirit with faith in God. It results in chronic worry and distress. These souls find themselves continually caught up in a fruitless effort to accomplish their own will rather than simply trusting in what God is already working out for their good according His Sovereign will.

     "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good  part {enjoying the peace of God}, which will not be taken away from her." (Luke 10:41-42)

     There is a sweet satisfaction when faith in God has become perfect. It drinks continually from the sun bright fountains of God Himself through the person of Jesus Christ and by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. With the soul always satisfied, and with the reason and the will always in harmony with God's perfect will, it finds a heavenly rest. And nothing can take it away. It is able to wait on God to bring about His purposes, without ever depending on the outward signs of apparent success or failure. It is set free indeed from all anxiety that originates in the laborious, demanding and tiresome struggles of the natural mind.

     "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 understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:6-7)

 
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