Let me cover some common reactions to the idea of anxiety as sin…
Confessing Our Sins Helps Us To Be Holy
Hebrews 10:14 “For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” NKJV
We must always be working toward being holy. We have been made perfect forever, Jesus paid the dues for our sins. However, we are being made holy now, day by day. So we recognize the sin in ourselves so that we might change it and be even more holy and pure. Not because we need it to be saved, but because the Lord loves us, and when we are righteous and pure then He can bless us more and more and can bring others to repentance. We should make it our goal to repent of every sin we commit and our goal not to make them again. So we need to not be shy to admit our sins!!
1 John 1:8-10 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. NKJV
We are sinful people. It is ok to say that! We sin, and we will never be perfect, and if we step one whit out of the will of the Lord, even for a moment, that is sin. And that is why we have Jesus! The Lord knows we will sin and He has made us perfect forever but we are still being made holy.
Illness vs Sin
Why is it not an illness? We have already talked about how the Lord admonishes us not to be anxious. However, He never admonishes us not to have arthritis, pleurisy, or a cold, which are illnesses. If illness were a sin, then He would forbid it. If anxiety was actually an illness, He would overlook it. He does not command us not to be ill–there is no sin in the sniffles . However, He does command us not to be anxious. Therefore anxiety is not an illness, but a sin.
Now, understand your body physically does have a problem with it. Bad thoughts release certain chemicals in your brain and cause specific changes to your brain. Remember, “neurons that fire together, wire together”. That means if, say, marshmallows cause you anxiety, your brain will start wiring the neuron for “marshmallows” and “threat” and will automatically start a “fight or flight” response cascade.
But the thought of “marshmallows cause me anxiety” is the sin, not the cascade that happens after, nor the fact that neurons wired together. The good thing is, though, that just like how one might have a crush on a person for a month, then not feel the same about them the next day (your brain “unwires” “person=crush”), your brain can literally unwire “marshmallows=anxiety” about as quickly, once you trust the Lord.
It is kind of the same as sexually transmitted disease. Having the disease is not the sin. Having sex outside of marriage was the sin. (Yes, sometimes the disease is transmitted to us by our spouse having had sex before marriage. That does not mean we are responsible for their sin. This is just an example, though, of how our actions can cause diseases in our bodies where the disease itself is not the sin, but the act that allowed it was).
“Not That Bad”
“Not that bad. Everyone has some anxiety. It is not that bad, not like murder or something.”
Let’s read what the Lord has to tell us in James 2:1:
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one [point], he is become guilty of all. If we break one part of the law, then we break the whole law. Since we all break the law of God at times, we are guilty of breaking all of it.
If we break one part of the law, then we break the whole law. Since we all break the law of God at times, we are guilty of breaking all of it.
Think of it this way: the law of God is like a vase. If you only break a little bit out of the rim, it is still broken. If you shatter the thing to a million pieces, it is broken. You break the whole law, I break the whole law. We are to forgive others so that we might be forgiven because we all break the law. That is why we MUST have Jesus. He was the only one who never broke even a tiny chip out of the vase.
But again, this is where confession and forgiveness are such a blessing! Confession is what Christians should race to do, be eager to do. The Lord is faithful and just to forgive us for all our unrighteousness!
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. NIV
Hebrews 4:14 Having then a great high priest, who hath passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but one that hath been in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin. 16 Let us therefore draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help [us] in time of need. ASV
At this point you might feel either irritated or overwhelmed with sorrow. Please, dear one, do neither. It is time for the past to be past. There is nothing you can do about yesterday, nor the mistakes therein. Right now ask the Lord for forgiveness and it will be yours. Right now turn your heart to Him and He will make your path straight! Do not let anything else stand between you, your confession, and the love and mercy of your Father in Heaven. He knows, He has watched you and waited for you. Not confessing will not hide your sin from Him. He already knows. All you have to do is come to Him, and He will forgive you and heal you and teach you how to be whole.
He is waiting right now. Go talk to Him. You will not find condemnation, but rather you will find His mercy and love.
In Jesus name, Amen.
(P.S. I know this one stings. Please understand that I have been there. You were not more afraid than I was–we were both wretchedly afraid. I could not even leave my house at one point.
So please understand that I get it. I totally get it. Keep reading for a couple more lessons and you will see the exact verse that called me out.)