At this point you might say “No, really, I do NOT think I can do this! In fact, I am not sure that I am even sinning…I think this is unkind of you to say that I am sinning when I try so hard!”
Wait! It’s ok. Wait just a moment and we can walk through this together…I promise it will be ok.
First of all, let’s define sin. Sin is what you do contrary to what the Lord wants you to do. It is disobeying the Lord. Choosing to have chicken instead of fish is not a sin. Cussing at someone is a sin because we are told not to allow coarse talk, and we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. Sleeping because we are tired after a day of work (or are ill, or were up with a child) is not a sin. Sleeping when we are not really tired, but we just love to sleep, is laziness and a sin.
You might not have known that anxiety is a sin. Our society surely never told you. In fact, quite the opposite—our society seems to encourage stressing. It is “normal”. However, it is not normal for the Lord. It is not spiritually normal, it is fleshly normal. Stressing is a lack of faith.
The Lord told all to “be anxious for NOTHING”. We are to pray to the Lord, trust Him, thank Him, and the peace of the Lord will rest in us. Even “normal anxiety” is sinning.
However, you and I went even deeper than “fleshly normal anxiety” to the point where we are anxious about ridiculous things. We cannot praise Him. Our lives and our health is impacted. Our families and friends are impacted. We live in a state of fear, not a state of faith. Anything that takes us away from the Lord is sin.
Please do not get hung up on the “unintended sin”. Do not dwell on the fact that you have sinned in the past…simply repent to the Lord and move on into a new future. I do not tell you that anxiety is a sin to overwhelm you with sorrow, but to teach you why anxiety has created such pain in your life—because sin always causes pain. Obedience always brings peace and blessing. You are in pain because your faith is weak.
Disobeying His commands always brings trouble. Even disobeying in ignorance means that there will be natural repercussions. For example, even if you did not know that stealing was wrong, you will still get sentenced to prison if you do.
The Lord tells us not to steal. If we do, we have both spiritual repercussions (we are weak and easy prey for the enemy) and we have natural repercussions (prison).
In anxiety, we have spiritual repercussions (we are weak and easy prey for the enemy) and natural repercussions (our health suffers, our family suffers, we are miserable).
You are not right spiritually because NO ONE is right spiritually through their own strength and ability, but only through Christ Jesus. In Christ Jesus, alone, we are justified and forgiven and strengthened. It is only through Christ Jesus that we receive the Holy Spirit and the fruits of the Spirit– love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self control, and faithfulness. You are probably not feeling a whole lot of joy, peace, self control, or like you are full of faith. This is because you have been trying to rely on yourself, your anxieties, your habits, your obsessions, your own strength to protect you. You have been trying to be perfect through your own energy and compulsions (you must be so, so tired!). However the acts of the flesh, in which you have been engaging, are directed to the protection and glory of self. The fruit of the Spirit is from the Lord, and for the glory of the Lord and for the good of you.
Ok, so at some point you started down the road to anxiety. You indulged in self protection, self worship (For what is worship but the constant obeying, thinking about, sacrificing to that which we are worshiping, which is what we as anxiety indulgers are doing?). That’s OK! Don’t allow the enemy to condemn you, to make you feel too shamed to go on. Don’t allow your pride to interfere, making you defensive and angry.
Simply confess to the Lord, repent, and make it your goal to say: “The past is past. In my ignorance I have sinned in self-centeredness. In my knowledge I repented in sorrow. In my obedience I will learn in eager anticipation and joy. The Lord intends good for me, not ill. The glory goes to Him, not me. He is perfect. His Word is perfect. I will read, heed, and obey, and the blessings will shower me. I am a new man in Christ Jesus. This new man is what God intends: full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control, and NOT full of fear, anxiety, self protection.”.
You can do it! No one is condemning you. The Lord has forgiveness for you, which is instant and immediate as soon as you repent. He really, truly, wants you to come to Him and say “I am so sorry. I love You. Forgive me.”. He loves that! There is great rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than in 99 who have not sinned!
Wow, just think about that! Your repentance will cause great rejoicing in heaven! The Lord will say “I forgive you. Your sins are as far from you as the east is from the west. You are forgiven indeed.”.
Phil 3:12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
15 All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. NIV