Your thoughts can take you to destinations of anxiety and in directions away from peace. It’s impossible to live a peaceful life with anxious thoughts, so how can we experience real peace? In this message, we learn how to replace the anxious thoughts that result in our anxious feelings with truth from God’s word.
What's up, everybody joining us from wherever you are tuning in from. We are continuing this series Therapy where each week we are exploring a biblical perspective on mental health. For the last few weeks, we have been diving into anxiety and a perspective that the Bible says is helpful as it relates to anxiety.
Now we're going to finish off really the last of the handful of weeks that we've been diving into the topic of anxiety, which is such a big issue that we didn't think we could do it justice by doing it in one night. Mental health was a problem in our society well before COVID ever took place, and Corona has only escalated and made things worse.
So we have been camping out and talking each week in Session 1, Session 2, Session 3, going week by week what it looks like to walk through therapy, getting healthy. We are covering anxiety, depression, general healing, and recovering from our pasts. Tonight, we're finishing off just looking at anxiety.
I'm going to start like this. A couple of years ago, I got invited with a friend of mine who was in ministry, JP, if you're familiar, who now leads a church called Harris Creek in Waco. The two of us were invited to go to London to be a part of a conference for next generation pastors. There were 75 of us from all over the world. We were hanging out in London for the week.
So we decided, "Hey, we're going to make this like a bro-cation. Plan it out. Have a game plan for going to see all that London had to offer." Neither of us had ever been to London before, so we're researching. We have the plan. We're going to see Buckingham Palace. We're going to see the Churchill War Rooms.
We're going to go see the Bridge and the London Eye. We just had everything worked out. When we got there, because I had never been to London, I didn't know how similar it was to New York City in that the primary way that most people get around town is taking something called the… Anybody know? My staff team is right here.
Yes. The Tube. This brother has been to London. You take the Tube. The Tube is the subway version in London of how most people get around. It's basically a train that will take you all over the city. Here's why I love the Tube. Much like the subway in New York, for five dollars, you can go anywhere you want in the city, unlike an Uber.
If you pay an Uber five dollars, you're going to get like one block over. If you take the Tube, you put five bucks on something called an Oyster card, and it loads you up to be able to go anywhere you want. You can go up to Chelsea. You can go over to Kensington. You can go see all that there is to see for such an incredibly cheap price.
So we loaded up, got ready, and took the Tube everywhere that we were going to go. Something happens whenever you're not familiar with the gridlines of a train organization or train system, so to speak. There are times when you want to go to some area in north London or in east London or some area to go see some tourist attraction, and you get on a train that you think is taking you in that direction, only to realize that you are headed in entirely the opposite direction of where you want to go.
This happened multiple times for us because neither of us had really been to London. So we looked at it, and we're like, "Oh, we need to get on the A line and come up here," only to realize we were headed in the complete opposite direction of Buckingham Palace or of whatever site that we were going to see.
So in that moment, what did we do? Well, we get off the train, we identify, we begin to try to attempt to find, "How do we get to the destination we're actually attempting to go?" The answer, of course, you need to get on a train headed in the right direction of that destination. Now what does that have to do with anxiety?
Really a lot, because just like there are trains and depending on which train you get on it's going to take you in a direction and ultimately a destination, our minds and our thoughts work in really similar ways. In other words, every time that you have a thought, if you and I choose to allow and dwell on that thought, we continue to invite other thoughts like it that lead us in a direction in life.
They begin to fill our minds, fill our mindset as it relates to anxiety or anxious thoughts, and they take us in a direction. What I want to cover tonight is one of the most important aspects of experiencing a peaceful life, and that is learning to think rightly. The Bible, over and over, hits that there are thoughts that should fill our minds.
There's a way that you and I are to dwell on truth. This we'll talk about here in a second. But if you cannot conquer the ability to think rightly, you will not be able to address your anxiety. So we're going to dive in for the next handful of minutes and really look at two ideas or two points from this text. One of them is related to realizing. The other is replacing. In Proverbs, chapter 23, verse 7, the King James Version says, "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…" Your thoughts take you to destinations. I'll unpack and explain more what I mean.
The first aspect to you addressing your anxiety… This is so huge. You have to realize your anxious thoughts lead you in the direction or destination of anxious feelings. Listen to me. Every time you feel anxious on the inside, those anxious feelings are coming from some anxious thinking that is behind them.
Your thoughts direct and influence the destination of your life, and they direct and influence the experience that you're going to have with anxiety. The anxious feelings often lead us to reach out. Out of the fact that nobody likes to feel anxious, we turn to anything that can kind of give us some sort of peace.
You turn, in order to numb yourself, through a bottle or just check out through scrolling through Instagram. Anytime there's some sort of anxiousness, out of the overflow of trying to get relief from that, we will reach out to find something that will help us experience more peace. But tragically, we seldom address the anxious thoughts that are behind and fueling and feeding those anxious feelings.
In other words, the first idea is that you have to realize anxious feelings come from anxious thinking. Just like I mentioned getting on a train and how there are trains of thought that we get on, if you allow your thoughts and the idea of a train of thought… We even recognize, "Hey, thoughts can lead you places," which is why we have this term of train of thought.
If you get on the wrong trains of thought, they will take you towards the wrong destination and lead you in the wrong direction away from peace and toward anxiety. You have to begin to address, "What are the anxious thoughts that are feeding and fueling the anxious feelings that I have on the inside? What are the trains of thought that I'm getting on that are taking me away from peace and toward anxiety?"
Some of the more common trains of thought that I think are common just in my life or young adults and have seen over the years would look like some of these. This is what I call the WebMD train. This is the train of thought that you get on. You get up in the morning and you have some weird neck pain or something in your back and you're like, "Oh man, what is going on?"
Rather than just saying, "It's probably that I slept weird; my pillow was in a weird position," you begin to go, "I think I may have something. There's a growth or something inside here." Neck pain. I go to WebMD. I pull up the app. I type in my symptoms on the symptom checker, and I walk through, "This is what I'm feeling."
Inevitably, when it pulls up possible diagnoses, it always includes things like, "Oh, you have back pain? That could be kidney failure or an appendix rupture." Cancer is in there. For some reason, cancer makes every single list of, "Thank you WebMD for just making me anxious." All of a sudden, what was just a little back pain from sleeping in a weird way, you begin to go on that WebMD train of anxiousness
You begin to go, "Oh my gosh! I'm going to die! I'm too young to die! I didn't know back cancer was a thing. Who is going to take care of my dog whenever I die?" What could've been a moment that wasn't filled with anxiety, all of a sudden is. You feel anxious because anxious thoughts fueled and fed that. If you're going to address that anxiety that you feel, you have to address the anxious thoughts that are behind it.
Another one that is common is the reading into the relationship train. So this happens early in a dating relationship. It happens anytime in a dating relationship, really. Let's say you just started dating a guy. You're three dates in. He drops you off at your house. You get there, and he comes up, gets out of the car, and says, "Man, I had a great time." He proceeds to give you a side hug.
You turn away after getting that side hug, and you begin to walk into your apartment, and all of a sudden, you start overanalyzing, "What does 'I had a good time' mean? Side hug? What am I? Your cousin or something?" You begin to play on your tape, "Oh, he's going to break up with me. He's not interested in me. He was just doing this, like giving it one last chance. I'm not even sure I want to keep moving forward with this. This thing is over, Rover."
You begin to play on your tape, "There's probably some other girl out there. I'll bet he likes Sara." And without even realizing it, you jump on that train of thought. The next thing you know, you're scrolling through Sara's Instagram checking out how many times your boo (you thought he was your boo, but no more) has been liking her posts and her pictures. You begin to think, "Maybe I need to break up with him before this thing ends. I never even liked him that much to begin with!" Because you jumped on that train. Trains of thought take us places.
Another one would be the my boss doesn't like me train. Lauren has this one all the time at work. She's on my team. No, I'm totally kidding. This is where all of a sudden, in a moment, you send an email, you say something in a meeting, you do something where you're like, "Here's what I think we should do," and you begin to go, "Oh man, he did not respond to that the way that I was hoping he would respond. I felt like everyone thought that was a really bad idea."
You begin to think, "Oh, I'd better look for something else to do. I'm on the chopping block next." Or you send some email to your boss about whatever it is, and he doesn't respond for a few days. You go, "Man, did he not get the email? No, of course he got the email. It couldn't have gone to spam. We work at the same company. Oh man, I bet he is going to let me go. I'm next on the chopping block for sure. He thinks all my ideas are stupid and dumb."
The next thing you know, you're looking up your LinkedIn profile, trying to find your password, because you can never find the LinkedIn password, trying to update your resume because you're afraid you're going to lose your job. You hopped onto that train. Without ever even trying, all of a sudden, you are moving toward the destination of anxiety and anxiousness.
The most common train of thought that a lot of people get on… I was talking to a counselor just preparing for this series. He described it as the "What-if" train. We hop on this what if and we begin to think about the future and think about hypotheticals and "What if this could happen?" and we begin to fill our minds with the ideas of, "Man, what if I get COVID-19?
What if something does happen to my parents? What if they're not able to afford retirement and I end up having to take care of them for the rest of my life? What if I'm single for the rest of my life? What if I get married and I can't have kids?" You begin to live in some future hypothetical land out there that only robs you of peace right now and moves you in the destination of anxiety, because your thoughts… If you do not address your anxiety at a thought level, you're not going to experience peace. You have to recognize and realize, "My anxious feelings are a trigger. There is anxious thinking that is coming into my head, and I have to address and deal with that anxious thinking."
The apostle Paul, in Philippians, chapter 4, as we read last week, launched into a conversation about anxiety. Last week, we laid out that in Philippians, chapter 4, verse 6 he said, "…do not be anxious about anything, 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…" Can't understand it. It's beyond words. "…will guard your hearts and your minds…"
Then he immediately launches into this next thing. So he says, "Don't be anxious, pray to God, and also do this." "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
So he doesn't just say, "Hey, don't…." Remember the biblical definition. This is going to be really helpful for you. Maybe this is your first time tuning in. The biblical definition of being anxious is not having an anxious thought; it's dwelling on anxious or fearful thoughts. It's sitting there, replaying them, rehearsing them, thinking about them, focusing on the them, and dwelling on those things.
Paul says don't do that. If you have fearful thoughts, they're going to pop up. They're occasionally going to fill your mind, but don't dwell on them. Don't hold onto them. Don't meditate on them. Instead, meditate on these things. Get on these trains of thought. He lays out, "…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence…" These are the things that should fill and flood your mind.
The second idea that Paul talks about is that if we want to experience peace, we have to replace our trains of thought. Before I launch into that, here's one thing that is highly related to whether or not you're going to experience peace or highly related to how you can address the trains of thought. You have to examine what is feeding your anxious thinking.
Your anxious feelings come from anxious thoughts. What is feeding those anxious thoughts? I don't know what it is for you, but I know every single one of us, there are things that can fill our anxious thinking in a moment. Maybe it's scrolling through social media, and you need to take a break from social media.
Because you get on there, and every time you do, it fills your mind with how much you don't have, how discontent you are with life, how sad you are that you saw a picture of somebody posting their engagement pictures. What floods your mind is, "I'm going to be single forever. I'm going to be the cat lady who grows into old age with 47 cats. Nobody cares about me."
What could've been a moment of peace is a moment of anxiety because you jumped on that anxious train because something was feeding it: social media. Maybe it's the news. It's borderline impossible to turn on the news and not feel anxiety coming up. Being bombarded with virus spread, political craziness, racial tension, and that's just in America.
Then now we have global news versus back in the day. In order for you to be anxious about Pakistan 50 years ago, it would take a while to get over here. Now with the click of a button, you can be worried about things you didn't even know existed until five minutes ago. You need to watch what you are feeding yourself. What is filling your head and your mind and your thoughts?
Because if it's filling your thoughts and it's anxious or fearful, it's going to fill your heart with anxious feelings. You have to address what you're feeding yourself. Maybe you need to get off LIKEtoKNOW.it or Pinterest or online shopping because when you do, you get on there and you scroll through a thousand different bridal dresses or clothing that you can't afford or whatever it is, and it just feeds something inside of you.
It is impossible to live a peace-filled life with anxious thoughts, to live a content life with discontent thoughts. As we read earlier, the Proverbs say, "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…" Your life is being shaped by how you think. What you think is being shaped by what you're feeding it. You may need to take a break from dating apps, because every time you're on there, your emotional joy of that day goes up or down based on whether or not you got a match.
You find yourself quickly scrolling through, disappointed, almost self-loathing because you're like, "Man, another day and nobody liked me. No one will ever like me." You're feeding something that is not helpful. If you want to experience peace, you have to address the anxious thoughts. If you want to address those, you have to address, "What's feeding those?"
Because Paul would say you need to replace that with the truth. You need to replace that with God's Word and hold on to what is true by thinking about what you're thinking about. Over and over, the Bible talks about this. If you want to experience transformation in your life, you have to change the way that you think.
Which is why Paul said, to get off those trains, you need to get on these trains. If the trains of thought you're dwelling on are not true, lovely, good, right, pure, noble, you need to get off of those. Imagine how our lives would change if what filled our hearts were not thoughts of fear but of faith, not thoughts of how temporary things around us are but eternal.
This life is a vapor. "I'm going to be in heaven forever and ever. No matter what I face, I can handle it." Because this life, the Scripture says, is like a vapor. It's like when it's cold outside and you breathe. It's there and it disappears. It puts it into perspective. So now whatever I face today, I'm like, "Man, I'm going to be okay."
If my life was filled with thoughts, not about myself, but about others… If it was filled, not with thoughts about negativity, but positivity… If you were to examine the thoughts that you've had today, how would you describe them? Were they more all like the world thinks or more like God describes and what God says is important? Were they more peaceful or more anxious?
Were your thoughts about yourself more negative today or positive? __________ (18:12) think about, "What am I thinking about?" Because you're going to experience an anxious life if what fills your heart or fills your mind are anxious thoughts. Imagine how our lives would change if what flooded through our mind constantly…
I know my life does and would and is and experiences peace when what floods my mind are thoughts like these. "God is good. He is in control. I can trust him. God is good. He is in control. I can trust him. No matter what I face. God, you're good. You're in control. People think they're in control. People think that society and the population decide what's going to happen.
You've already determined, and you're over everything. I can experience peace. You promise that no matter what I face, God, you are going to work it together for the good of those who love you. You're going to work it together for good in my life. You're going to use it no matter how hard it is to bring about good in my life. God, no matter what I walk through, I'm not alone. You are with me. I've never been alone. I'll never be alone because you promised in your Word, you'll never leave me nor abandon me."
How about thoughts like, "God has promised, 'I'm going to meet all of your needs.' God will meet all of my needs. If I need it, God will meet my need because he cares about me. That's like, my sexual past doesn't define me. Sin that I've committed doesn't define me. What Christ did on the cross, that's what defines me. That's what defines me. That's what defines me."
How would your life change? How much negative self-talk would end? How much more peace would you experience? Paul would say you have to begin to replace the trains of thought if they're not noble or right or pure or lovely or admirable, or really just if they're not consistent with God's Word. You have to begin to replace those trains of thought in your life.
The final idea, I know I just said two, but I'm going to almost bracket into a third one, is that in order to experience peace, you have to realize the full truth in your life. You have to begin to realize, "In the midst of those moments where I feel anxious, what is the anxious thought? Here's what I'm feeling. I feel anxious. What anxious thoughts are informing this? Man, I feel anxious that my mom is getting older, and I'm worried she may get COVID. She could get sick and die.
Okay, so now I'm feeling anxious about that and the thoughts that are informing that. In order to experience peace from that anxiety, I have to address those thoughts and address them with the truth from God's Word." What do I mean by that? Here's the power of a lot of the anxious thoughts. This is so important, so stay with me and I'll try to explain it as best I can.
The power of the anxious… The reason why you're anxious is because a lot of those thoughts that fuel your anxious feelings, there is some truth in them. That's what makes them powerful. If it was like, "Oh my gosh, I'm anxious right now because my mom is going to get eaten by an alien." You probably don't struggle with that. You probably have never been like, "Oh man, that's a realistic scenario."
What makes our anxious feelings so strong or the power in them is that there is some truth in the ideas or the thoughts that are feeding that anxious thinking. Does that make sense? So in order for you address that, you have to get into, not just a partial truth, because there is some partial truth inside of the things that feed our anxious thoughts, but the entire truth.
What do I mean by that? Let's use that example. "Man, I'm anxious right now. I feel anxious because I'm worried my mom is only getting older. Maybe she could die from COVID." That's being fueled by anxious thoughts that, "Okay, she is 68. She has an autoimmune disease. She has whatever. Yada, yada, yada." Those are all realistic thoughts. She could die by COVID.
That's true, but it's only part of the truth. The entire truth, God's Word tells us, is that God is in control over everything. He has determined your mom's days before she ever existed. He will not allow her to die one second before he has already determined. She is going to live the number of days, whether or not COVID is there, that he has allotted and planned out for her.
That's the entire truth. So I give you the rest and probably say, "God, you're over all of that. Nothing is going to happen that you didn't see coming, that you're not in control over. I can have peace or I can just be anxious, but I'm believing part-truths that are behind that." The weird thing about part-truths, which are generally speaking what is filling…
Honestly, I think it's almost always half-truths or not the entire truth that fuels and feeds our anxious feelings and our anxious thinking. By nature of being half-true, that means they're half not true. It could be true or half-true, which means they could be half-lies. They're not necessarily the truth.
The way that you and I combat them is with the entire truth, which comes from God's Word. What does God actually say about this? He gives me a perspective and an ability to address the anxious thoughts that I have. Maybe you find yourself wrestling with half-truths, if you will, of things like this.
"Man, I'm never going to be able to conquer my depression. My brother will always be an addict. I'll never be able to get out of debt. I don't have friends who care about me. I'm never going to get married. I'll always be alone." The power of those things is there is some truth in them, it's just not the entire truth.
"I'm never going to be married. I'll always be alone." What makes that powerful is there is some truth in that. You may never get married. But the entire truth is that if you're a follower of Jesus, you'll never be alone. You've never been alone. God has promised. You may be single, but you're not alone. The only thing that can fill a hole in your heart that lacks some relationship that you want is not a relationship with a person. It comes from God.
You may not believe it right now, but that is the truth. That's the entire truth. You could allow those anxious half-truths or anxious thoughts to fuel your anxious feelings, but if you begin to address them with the truth from God's Word, "God, I'll never be alone. This life is a vapor. Whether I'm single or not, I can experience an amazing life. Jesus experienced an amazing life. Paul didn't lack anything in life. He experienced the abundant life, the Bible calls it. Neither of them was married. They didn't get heaven experiencing lack here."
So as I begin to combat the lies or the half-truths with the entire truth, I begin to experience peace. Maybe you find yourself thinking, "Man, I'll never be good enough. I'm never… All the other people, they're so much better than me. They're gifted in ways that I'm not. I just feel so insecure about myself." There's a part-truth in that. You'll never be good enough, but the Bible says that's not the whole truth.
The entire truth is that because of Christ and your relationship with him and Christ in you, you are more than enough. It even says that in our weakness, in the places where… (This is 2 Corinthians, chapter 12.) It says wherever you are weak, aka not enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough, not talented enough, in all of those places, God is more than enough and, "…for my power is made perfect in weakness."
So I can either dwell on, "Oh my gosh, I'm so embarrassed. I'm so insecure. I don't like who I am." Or I can say, "Man, all of the weaknesses that I bring to the table, God is bigger and better. In the midst of the weakest places in my life, God can show his power. Show up and show himself. He is more than enough." That's the whole truth.
Maybe you find yourself thinking, "I can't change. I'll always be depressed. I'll always be addicted. I'll always be…whatever it is. I'll always have dysfunctional relationships." The reason why that I can't change is powerful is there is some truth in it, but it's not the entire truth. It is true. You can't change, but the Bible says the entire truth is that through Christ, God can change you. That's the entire truth. He can bring that about in your life.
As you walk with Jesus, as you study his Word and you begin to apply it and you surround yourself with God's people, he will begin to change you. Maybe you struggle with thinking that your value is found in how you look. Here's what… Let me just tell you. It is. Your value is found in how you look, how much you make, how much is in your bank account to the world, to people who do not matter, whose opinions do not matter.
You get to decide, "Am I going to let the opinions of the world around me determine my value or am I going to embrace the entire truth? Which is that it may matter to them, but my value is not determined by them. My value has already been determined by God who gave his life for me by sending his Son on the cross. He said, 'This is how valuable you are.'"
It has nothing to do with how much you make, what your figure is, what job you have, the car that you drive, what family you came from, the color of your skin. Your value was determined when Jesus gave his life on the cross. You can either allow that entire truth to define you, or you can allow the opinions of people who don't matter or whose opinions don't matter to define you.
That's a half-truth. It's a part-truth. It's not the entire truth, which is found contained in Scripture. As I've already mentioned, there are so many people who experience fear, panic, and anxiety. Right now, it seems like it's as high as it's ever been in culture. There's a pandemic going on all around us. People flooded with fear over what if.
"What if I die? What if my parents die? What if I get sick? What if something happens?" The worst thing I could say is, "Oh no, that won't happen. God is for you. Nothing can stand against you, even viruses." That's not the truth. There's a part-truth. You may get sick. Someone you love may get sick. Something could happen like that, but it's not the entire truth.
Everything you have faced in life, you will face, you have faced, God is in control over. He has numbered your days. He loves you, and he is for you. You can trust him. Worrying about it is not going to help you. It'll just make you anxious. Having anxious thoughts over what if is not going to help you. It'll just make you anxious and feel anxious.
In those moments where you begin to go on that train, you begin to fear, you begin to, "What if, what if, what if?" hold onto what is true, truths that you find in God's Word. A lot of us… I'll close here. You may be thinking, "Man, I just don't know how to study God's Word. I just don't know where to go in the Bible. I don't know what to do."
So here's what I want you to do. In that moment as you begin, hopefully you have a small group or a Community Group. I want you, as you feel, you go, "What am I feeling right now? I'm afraid. I'm anxious. I'm worried." Begin to ask the question, "Why? What are the anxious thoughts that are informing that? What truth from God's Word would apply to those?"
If you don't know, then bring your small group in, and go, "Hey, here are the anxious thoughts that I'm having. What would God's Word say? Because I don't know it as well as you guys do. Will you help me understand? What would God's Word say about the fear that I'm going to lose my job and I'm really afraid that I'm going to be single forever? What would God's Word say? How can it help me understand what lies I may be believing from there?"
This is also why it's so important for you to begin to spend time in God's Word. Doing what Romans chapter 12, verse 2, says is the way that you and I experience transformation. "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…" Have your life transformed by changing or renewing your mind, by reading God's Word and beginning to apply it.
When I find myself anxious, asking, "What anxious thoughts are feeding into this? The anxious feelings I'm having. What lies may be behind that? What's the entire truth from God's Word?" Do you know what's going to happen as you begin to do that? This is the truth about anxiety. It doesn't go away overnight. Anybody who tells you that… Generally, maybe every once in a while. I just have never seen it.
It takes a process. It's a journey in life. If you struggle with anxiety, it takes time, it takes working through, and it takes renewing your mind in order to retrain the way that you think. As you do and you study God's Word and you begin to address the things that make you anxious with God's Word, you're going to experience increasing amounts of peace.
You'll experience the ability to more quickly recognize, "Hey, I'm getting on a really anxious train that is not helpful. It's going to take me in a direction. It's going to take me to destination anxiousness and I don't want to go there." You'll quickly say, "I have to get off that. I'm going to hold onto what's true."
When I was in London, we visited some friends who lived in the town. They were really familiar with where everything was. They knew where the Eye was. They knew where all of the tourist attractions were. And not just that. They knew all the Tube routes. They knew all the subway routes, if you will.
So we'd go with them, and here's what never happened, not one single time. We'd ride around with them. Previously, when it was just JP and me, it's be like, "Oh man, I do not know what we're looking at right now. They have some different English words that are different from the words that we use. What are we looking at?" We would, at times, get lost.
Not one single time did we get lost when we were with them. We'd get on, and we were like, "Oh, I think we need to take C." They'd be like, "Nope, don't need to take C. We need to take E. The E line is where it's going to take us up to where we want to go." They knew it because they were familiar with it because every single day, they were around it.
They just kind of eat, sleep, and breathe the Tube. That's how they got around. They were familiar with it. So they didn't get on the wrong trains as easily as we did, but they didn't get there overnight. They didn't grow up or… There was nothing miraculous. They weren't born with the understanding of the Tube layout system.
Now what does that have to do? People who are able to identify, "I don't need to get on this anxious train. I need to get on the train of truth from God's Word." It takes time. It takes knowing it, being familiar with it.
The more that you grow in your knowledge and understanding of God's Word, the more you identify, "Hey, I'm feeling anxious about this. Here are anxious thoughts informing it. I want to fight those with the truth. I want to get on the right trains," the easier and quicker it will be. It takes time. It's a process, but it is the path toward peace. Or you can continue to be anxious, which won't help, always hurts, and it doesn't have to be the experience.
The final half-truth in here some of you are believing is that you are too unworthy to ever go to heaven. That is a half-truth. It contains a little bit of truth in it because you are too unworthy to go to heaven. The Bible says that all of us have fallen short of the standard of God, which is perfection. That all of us have fallen short of God's glorious standard of Romans, chapter 3, verse 23.
That if it came to you on your own, you are unworthy to go to heaven, but that is not the entire truth. If you're buying the lie that, "I'm too unworthy. I'll never be able to go to heaven," that's partly true. You are too unworthy. But because of what Christ has done, he has allowed anyone who would just trust in him as the only one worthy, who gave his life for every unworthy person like me, like every ear and person listening to this message…
If you'll put your trust in what Jesus did on the cross, he will make you worthy. Not because he will change you and make you like this perfect person who deserves to go to heaven. No, it's only by what Jesus did on the cross that you and I are made or allowed or given the worthiness that only Jesus has, that only Jesus deserves, that gives us access to eternal life.
You've embraced a part-truth by thinking you're not good enough to get into heaven or you are a good enough person so, "I'm pretty nice and I'm pretty good so that's probably what will get me in." Those are both lies. Truth from the Bible is that God will allow anyone, and every person is unworthy.
He allows any unworthy person to have eternal life if they'll accept the free gift of putting their faith in what Jesus did for them on the cross, paying for every sin they ever committed. When they do, they have become worthy of experiencing eternal life in a moment by faith. You've embraced a part-truth. The entire truth is that God has gone out of his way to make it so that you can have a relationship with him for all of eternity and have the experience of peace for all of eternity. Let me pray.
Father, I pray for anyone listening to this message who has never put their faith in Jesus that you would make them more anxious than they have ever been about where they stand with you, about what happens after they die in order that it would prick them and lead them to reach out to you and receive the free gift that you gave by giving your Son.
That wouldn't make them try to be a good person or attend church more or do more good things, but it would make them realize they can never do enough. They would experience peace when they trust in what you did on the cross. I pray for every person who is listening to this message. We're all in varying degrees on a journey with anxiety.
Would you help us to take steps by getting off the wrong trains, addressing the lies we believe with the truth? Would you move us increasingly in the direction of peace? Though we may not be fearless overnight that we, as we follow you, would fear less in our lives. We love you and we worship you and we thank you for Jesus. In his name we pray, amen.