Capture every thought and make it give up and obey Christ. — 2 Corinthians 10:5
The good news is that while there are many things in life over which you have no control… you get to choose what you think about. ~ Max
Welcome to our final week of the Anxious for Nothing Online Bible Study with Max Lucado!
Abide in Him. I remember the first time I heard that exhortation and thought, What does that even mean?
Do you ever look around at your circumstances, your troubles, those pesky trouble-makers causing chaos at work, your finances, or your worries and just freak out? It’s like the volume turns up to 10, your mind starts racing, spinning, and catastrophizing, and now it’s DEFCON 1. The tidal wave is headed right for you. Nuclear war is imminent. You’re convinced the worst will happen. You’re dead meat for sure this time.
Those of you who’ve been through studies with me before have heard that for me, the spiritual battleground is usually in the middle of the night. That’s when the enemy knows I’m most vulnerable and comes after my thoughts provoking fear and panic. That’s when I have to pull out my Bible and start slaying those dragons with His Word, and surrendering my mind to what God says is true, and realigning my focus.
…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. — Philippians 4:8
So what is abiding? Abiding is knowing Him. Practicing His presence. Listening for His gentle whisper. Leaning into His goodness. The more we know Him, the more we hear His voice, the more we rejoice in His goodness, the more we metaphorically tattoo what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy onto the inside of our eyelids… the less we will fear and freak out and believe those negative thoughts that assault us.
What we think about matters.
Margaret Thatcher, former PM of the UK said:
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become your character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
So, are you thinking about positive things? Are you trusting that God is good and He has good in mind for you? Are you telling yourself the truth? I think it’s so easy to slip into catastrophizing, especially when the issue is something close to our hearts or important to our future. That weird skin bump gets mentally inflated to lethal cancer. The little bit of bleeding gets instantaneously ramped up emotionally to impending miscarriage. The snarly look from a boss who’s having a bad day gets ballooned into “I’m probably getting fired and I’ll be homeless.”
Exaggerated, overstated, inflated, irrational messages are the devil’s specialty. And they are all lies. ~ Max
Fear is never from God. Never. Fear is never the right emotion for decision-making, or conflict-resolution, or building relationships, or even just moving through normal daily life. When stressful situations arise, we mustn’t freak out, my friends!
Anxiety is best faced by clear-headed, logical thinking. ~ Max
In the middle of fear, take a breath. Remind yourself of what is true. God’s got me. He loves me so much. I can thank Him for His long history of caring for me and trust Him whatever may come. Yes, we will face difficulty and troubles, suffering and hardship, confusion and anxiety, but it’s in Him that we find peace and security. No matter what. That’s abiding. Trusting in God through panic or fear, with our minds focused on His Word, our hearts choosing to praise and worship through storms, our defenses down, and spiritual ears open.
Lay claim to every biblical promise you can remember and set out to learn a few more. Grip them for the life-preservers they are. Resist the urge to exaggerate, overstate, or amplify. Focus on the facts and nothing more. Pray and trust. ~ Max
Are you worried? He loves you, friend. He wants to comfort you, give you His peace, and cause you to flourish and produce much fruit.
Come and abide.
This week in your study:
1. Watch the video for session five on our study home page or live with other participants… Take notes in your study guide on pages 97-103.
2. Go through the study questions and activity with your group or on your own on pages 103-109.
3. Review Chapters 9-11 in Anxious for Nothing.
4. Enjoy your personal study this week on pages 110-118.
5. Join us for our final watch party on Monday at 8pm CST.
6. Join the conversations about the study and get to know fellow participants in the private Facebook group!
Scriptures this Week
2 Corinthians 10:5
I Timothy 6:15
Prayer for the Week
Jesus, we love You. Help us to abide in You. No matter what difficulty we’re facing and when we feel afraid and anxious, please bring Your peace. Turn our hearts to Your Word and help us to hear Your gentle, kind voice. You love us, Lord. And You have good planned for us. We trust You. And, we want to bear much fruit for You! Amen.