Anxiety: Into The Lion's Den
From time to time, the path of anxiety will beckon you along a shady narrow path; a path leading to the dreaded lion’s den. You know you shouldn’t go there, but the more you try not to overthink the more you actually do. The empty pit in your stomach is a microcosm for the empty darkness that looms inside the den. You begin to worry, as an overwhelming feeling enslaves you. You begin to tremble and your heart begins to pound in your chest - you wish it would stop but the more you try to control it the more anxiety chokes you from within. You begin gasping for air, struggling to breathe, gritting your teeth with tears streaking down your face. Enough is enough. You want your life back. For anxiety sneaks up on you like a thief in the night. It robs you of your peace and keeps you hostage to your own mind…
Anxiety may be something you struggle with, for it’s a weapon that the enemy uses to attack our identity. Yet, if we stand firm in our identity as a Child of God, God promises to deliver us from the pit of our anxieties.
The Book of Daniel is key to understanding faithfulness in the midst of anxiety. Daniel wasn’t ashamed of his identity or of the persecution he faced because he trusted that God would deliver him. Daniel knew that he might die in the lion’s den, but without prayer, he certainly would be dead.
Sometimes, I guess we underestimate the power of prayer. Yet for Daniel, prayer was a lifestyle - it was the oxygen to his faith. Without prayer, his faith was dead. There was no way he was going to sacrifice his relationship with God, to escape persecution from the King. As a result, Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den, the pit of despair.
“My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight.” - Daniel 6:22
Both Daniel and Jesus experienced the pit of death to be raised alive in God. The story of Daniel in the lion’s den alluded to the resurrection to come. If we want to be raised alive with Christ, we must endure the trials, wearing our scars as a testimony to the God that delivers.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”— 1 Peter 5:7-9
If God can shut the mouth of a lion, God can shut the mouth of the enemy. Be alert – do not allow the enemy to speak anxiety into existence. Instead, resist and stand firm in the truth of God
Prayer is a form of spiritual armour, that invites the angels of Heaven to guard us. The enemy wants to get into your head and devour your identity. Daniel cast his cares onto the Lord so that when he prayed God could protect him.
If you don’t pray God can’t answer. You need to make it known to God that this lion in your head is messing with you. You need to make it known to God that you need His help. Even if it’s out of your control, nothing is out of God’s control.
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” — Matthew 6:31-34
The Bible tells us to shift our focus from the worries of tomorrow to the worries of today. Don’t waste your emotional energy worrying about the things you can’t do anything about. For the enemy uses anxiety to distract us. Yet if we seek first the Kingdom of God, we align ourselves with the right priorities and allow His peace to reign over us.
The root of our anxieties is where the real issues lie. We might be able to escape our anxieties once or twice, but if a similar situation arises the same anxieties will resurface. Either we try to run away from our anxieties, or we face them with God. Opening up about these worries allows us to seek help within our struggles.
When you change your mindset to view anxiety as an opportunity for intimacy and a closer relationship with the Lord, you allow the Lord to take control. When you walk in the authority of the Lord, you can fight off anxiety because you know that the Lord guards your life. When anxiety comes your way, allow the Lord to make a way…
POINT TO PONDER: If God can shut the mouth of a lion, He can shut the mouth of the enemy that speaks anxiety into existence.
VERSE TO LIVE: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”— Philippians 4:6-7
QUESTION TO CONSIDER: What is the root of your anxieties?
PRAYER: Lord help me to trust in you and give me the strength to overcome the anxieties that I face every day...
If you liked part 3 of #intothedeep Bible Study, stick around for part 4 next week!