Bringing Anxiety Captive
by Annette Capps
Webster defines anxiety as “a state of being uneasy, apprehensive, or worried about what may happen; concerned about a possible future event.” Anxiety is a fact of life in our modern day society. Stress related illness is one of the most popular topics in today’s health magazines. Although some people are more prone to worry than others, I don’t think anyone is immune to anxiety and worry. That is the reason the apostle Paul wrote to the church at Philippi: “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts, and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
The Concordant Literal translation says, “Let nothing be worrying you...” Nothing worrying you??? Sounds impossible doesn’t it? This translation continues with verse 7, “and the peace of God, that is superior to every frame of mind, shall be garrisoning your hearts and your apprehensions in Christ Jesus.”
God’s peace is superior to every frame of mind! Where does worry and anxiety begin? It begins in the mind, with thoughts. Thoughts of fear produce worry and anxiety. Do you have any fears that cause you anxiety and worry? You need peace in their place. You always overcome the negative with the positive. God’s peace is positively greater than all your fear. One translation says, “... and the peace of God which surpasses all power of comprehension shall mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” You may not be able to comprehend it, but the peace of God will guard your heart and mind from anxiety.
The Word of God states that you can have peace if you will do three things.
- Supplicate (ask or request)
- Give Thanks
Focus on God’s power, not on the fear.
There are many different types of prayer, but all kinds are effective against anxiety. Many times I have worried about something for days before I finally prayed about it. Often I have just prayed in the spirit about something and felt a release. Sometimes as I prayed in the spirit, I could picture the worry or care as an obstacle being bombarded by my prayers and being demolished. Regardless of how you pray, any kind or type of prayer will help get rid of anxiety.
Supplication is a simple request. When you are worried and anxious about the future, you can simply ask God to direct you and to change circumstances to His will. If you are not clear on what needs to change, it is much more effective to simply ask God for His will to be done in that situation.
There are some things that we do know how to pray about. We know that it is God’s will to heal, although we may not know exactly how He will accomplish it. You could receive a miracle, or be directed to the right doctor, but asking God to move on your behalf or the behalf of others will bring more peace.
Personally, I like to “call things that are not.” I always call for God’s “highest and best” to be manifest in every area of my life and the lives of others.
Worry, stress, and anxiety decrease if you are giving thanks. When you begin to give God thanks for things present, past, or future, you are painting a positive picture and giving yourself a good image. There is a lot of value in the old song “Count Your Blessings.” Counting your blessings and giving God praise will change your frame of mind---from negative to positive! The word “thanksgiving” comes from a Greek word meaning “grant freely” and “will.” So the giving of thanks opens the heart as it freely grants gratitude to the Lord.
Change Your “What Ifs”
If you want to remain in peace after praying, you need to change your “what ifs.” What if I get sick? What if I have a wreck? What if my son is hurt? What if my husband loses his job? These “what ifs” will bring anxiety right back on the scene.
What if you change your “what ifs” to “What if something good happens? What if my husband loses his job and gets one that pays twice the salary? What if I live to be one hundred years old? What if my son graduates from school with honors and lives a long, healthy, successful life?”
Thinking on those “what ifs” will change your whole attitude! If you think on positive things, you will have peace and good expectations in your life. I challenge you to change your “what ifs”!
Face Your Fears
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
The word fear is interpreted from the Greek as dread, terror, cowardice, timidity, and fear certainly produces anxiety! Fear comes from a dark place. God’s light and the light of the Word will cause it to disappear, dissipate and cease to exist.
I read an article recently that was interesting. It stated that people who do not face and deal with their fears find that the fear grows larger. Fears seem even bigger if you continually try to ignore them. Pulling them out into the light, looking at them, and acknowledging them makes them smaller. Confronting them in a practical manner and dealing with them will take away their power.
Only a small percentage of things you worry about actually happen.
We do not have to face our fears alone; we can face them with the angelic host surrounding us and the Greater One within us! Perfect love casts out fear and turns it out the doors. If you have fears that you have ignored, you can safely deal with them and get rid of them forever through the power God!
Change the Channel
Have you ever had the devil flash pictures of tragedy, death, and destruction before you? Many years ago, he used to play movies before me to try to bring fear and anxiety. Praise God for the Holy Spirit! He showed me how to overcome these negative movies by changing the channel.
When you watch TV and see a show you do not like, you simply change the channel to something you do like. When the devil would give me pictures of car wrecks, I would see myself supernaturally delivered by the angels of God. I changed the channel to a movie that I picked. I replaced the negative with a positive picture. I have found that this is a very good way to get rid of anxiety. If you do not like the picture the devil gives you (sickness, death, poverty), change the channel!
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.” (1 John 4:18)
Guard Your Thoughts
Worry and anxiety begin in the mind; therefore we need to guard our thoughts. There is such a small percentage of things that we worry about that ever happen. Think about all the things you have worried about in your life. How many of them ever took place? Now think of all the time and mental, physical, and emotional energy wasted. That’s energy that you could have spent meditating on the good “what ifs.” Bring that worry and anxiety captive. Don’t let your imagination run free unless it is on the positive side.
Wuest’s translation of 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 is excellent: “... the weapons of our warfare are not human but mighty in God’s sight, resulting in the demolition of fortresses, demolishing reasonings and every haughty mental elevation which lifts itself up against experiential knowledge of God, and leading captive every thought into the obedience of Christ.”
How can you bring anxiety captive? Focus on God’s power over your fear. You can do it by prayer, by counting your blessings, and making supplication in faith. Then you can do what 1 Peter 5:7 says, “…tossing your entire worry on Him, for He is caring concerning you.” Concordant Literal Translation
Act on God’s Word
Here are some practical ideas for capturing and releasing anxiety:
- Write your worry on a piece of paper, hold it up to God and tell him you are giving it to Him. Then crumple it up and throw it in the trash can. Toss it over on Him!
- Make a place to put your written concerns and worries.
I once made a lockbox and put God’s name on it. Every night before I went to bed, I wrote my concerns on a piece of paper, gave it to God, locked it in the box. I cast my cares on Him and left them there!
Write Your Prayers.
There is something very powerful about putting words on paper. Several years ago I began a prayer journal and each day wrote my request to God for guidance and help. I listed each area of challenge I was facing, like writing a letter to God. It was short, just a list and a request for God’s guidance & help. I can look back 3 days, 3 weeks, and even 3 years and be amazed at the outcome and how God handled each challenge I faced. Much more effective than worry!
“Father God, today I cast all my cares upon You. You have not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love & a sound mind. Thank you that the peace of God which passes all understanding keeps guard over my heart & mind in Christ Jesus. Amen.”
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- Annette Capps