• SOUL-u-tion-Focused Ministry

    Posted on December 12th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    The Anatomy of Anxiety

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    Part 24: SOUL-u-tion-Focused Ministry

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    Note: For previous posts in this blog mini-series,テつvisit: 1,テつ2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19,テつ20,テつ21,テつ22, and 23. テつ

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    Big Idea: Does worry, doubt, or fear get the best of you sometimes? Do you wonder where anxiety comes from and how to defeat it in your life and the lives of those you love? Then we need a biblical anatomy of anxiety. We need Godテ「竄ャ邃「s prescription for victory over anxiety.

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    SOUL-u-tion Focused Biblical Counseling

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    The Apostle Paulテ「竄ャ邃「s solution to anxiety is not simply to exhort, テ「竄ャナ鉄top being anxious!テ「竄ャツ

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    In fact, Paul is not solution-focused. Heテ「竄ャ邃「s SOUL-u-tion focused!

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    True biblical counseling is soul-to-soul counseling. True victory over anxiety, worry, fear, stress, panic, and phobia only occurs in the context of relationship.

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    We discover this biblical reality in the larger context of Philippians 4:6-7.

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    Relational Healing for Victory Over Anxiety

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    Biblical counseling sometimes is accused of the stereotype of, テ「竄ャナ典ake two verses and call me in the morning.テ「竄ャツ Someone struggles with anxiety and theyテ「竄ャ邃「re prescribed Philippians 4:6-7.

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    Scripture is totally sufficient. It is not a lucky charm.

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    Scripture is totally relevant. It is not applied out of contextテ「竄ャ窶拵either out of the personテ「竄ャ邃「s life context, nor out of the scriptural context.

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    Weテ「竄ャ邃「ve been applying the sufficiency and relevancy of Philippians 4:6-7 for conquering anxiety when anxiety attacks. But certainly not in a テ「竄ャナ鍍ake two versesテ「竄ャツ mentality.

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    So letテ「竄ャ邃「s travel back a bit in the scriptural context of Philippians and letテ「竄ャ邃「s notice some relational prescriptions for healing anxiety.

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    *Therefore my brothers (4:1)

    *You whom I love and long for (4:1)

    *Stand firm in the Lord, dear friends (4:1)

    *I plead with Euodia and Syntyche to agree with each other (4:2)

    *Loyal friends, help these women who have contended at my side (4:3)

    *Along with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers (4:3)

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    It Takes a Community

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    Paul lives and ministers soul-to-soul with brothers whom he loves and longs for. Is that how we minister, or do we minister arms-length, giving one another spiritual stiff-arms?

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    Paulテ「竄ャ邃「s biblical counsel for victory over anxiety involves standing firm in community. With brothers and sisters in Christ. With dear spiritual friends.

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    テ「竄ャナ鏑oyal friendsテ「竄ャツ (or テ「竄ャナ土okefellowsテ「竄ャツ) is used only this one time in the Bible. It means united by a relational bond as close as family. It pictures comrades, partners, loyal spiritual friends. A band of brothers. Sisters in the Spirit.

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    テ「竄ャナ擢ellow workersテ「竄ャツ is sun athleo: athletes together! Teammates. テつ

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    Itテ「竄ャ邃「s not, テ「竄ャナ典ake two verses and call me in the morning.テ「竄ャツ

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    Itテ「竄ャ邃「s, テ「竄ャナ典ravel with a few safe spiritual friends morning, noon, and night.テ「竄ャツ

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    Itテ「竄ャ邃「s, テ「竄ャナ鼎ultivate a band of brothers, a sorority of sisters, a team of spiritual athletes, a family of spiritual friends.テ「竄ャツ

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    Victory over anxiety comes in community.

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    Making It Real

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    1. How do you minister? Arms-length? Spiritual stiff-arms? Solution-focused? Or soul-to-soul? Loving and longing? SOUL-u-tion-focused?

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    2. Who are you spiritual athletes together with? Who are your spiritual teammates?

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    3. Who are you loyal, trustworthy friends with? Do you have a band of spiritual brothers? A sorority of spiritual sisters?

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    The Rest of the Story

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    What sort of spiritual conversations can spiritual brothers and sisters engage in to experience joint victory over anxiety? Weテ「竄ャ邃「ll find out next time.

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    Join the Journey

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    How can biblical ministry move from solution-focused to SOUL-u-tion-focused?

  • Our GPS for Anxiety

    Posted on November 3rd, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    The Anatomy of Anxiety, Part 9:

    Godテ「竄ャ邃「s Prescription for Victory Over Anxiety

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    Note: For previous posts in this blog mini-series, please visit: Part 1: http://bit.ly/aHstk, Part 2:テつ http://bit.ly/20R01P, Part 3: http://bit.ly/HAoxI, Part 4: http://bit.ly/1I6XmF, Part 5: http://bit.ly/19Jdqt, Part 6: http://bit.ly/19vCXx, Part 7: http://bit.ly/21wPLg, Part 8: http://bit.ly/m50On.

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    Does worry, doubt, or fear get the best of you sometimes? Do you wonder where anxiety comes from and how to defeat it in your life and the lives of those you love? Then we need a biblical anatomy of anxiety. And, we need Godテ「竄ャ邃「s prescription for victory over anxiety.

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    Godテ「竄ャ邃「s Prescription

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    In parts 1-8, weテ「竄ャ邃「ve been good medical students of the soul. Hereテ「竄ャ邃「s a one paragraph summary of what weテ「竄ャ邃「ve learned.

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    Anxiety is the fallen counterpart to Godテ「竄ャ邃「s original design for the soul. God created us with vigilanceテ「竄ャ窶掖he ability to respond to threat with creative energy that protects others and depends upon Godテ「竄ャ邃「s protection. Anxiety is our fear response (stuck vigilance) to threat with destructive energy that protects self through flight and/or fight behavior that fails to depend upon God or protect others.

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    Godテ「竄ャ邃「s Care and Cure: Our GPS

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    How do we respond to destructive anxiety? How do we minister to someone battling stuck vigilance that seems to leave them in a perpetual state of alarm?

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    Ultimately, the テ「竄ャナ田ureテ「竄ャツ for anxiety involves embracing the reality that God is dependable even when life is undependable.

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    However, in helping others, we canテ「竄ャ邃「t rush in with our answers until weテ「竄ャ邃「ve patiently heard their questions. We must enter souls before we direct souls. We must express Godテ「竄ャ邃「s care before we offer Godテ「竄ャ邃「s cure.

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    Whatテ「竄ャ邃「s involved in that? Today I share an overview. Consider it our GPS: Godテ「竄ャ邃「s Principles from Scripture.

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    GPS # 1: Empathyテ「竄ャ窶敕「竄ャナ的tテ「竄ャ邃「s Terrifying to Experience Anxietyテ「竄ャツ

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    It means compassionately identify with people experiencing overwhelming fear. Can you sense how frightening it is to experience anxiety? Can you empathize with and embrace your spiritual friendテ「竄ャ邃「s trembling body and anxious heart?

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    Weテ「竄ャ邃「ll learn how together.

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    GPS # 2: Encouragementテ「竄ャ窶敕「竄ャナ的tテ「竄ャ邃「s Possible to Experience Peace Even When You Feel Worriedテ「竄ャツ

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    Over the course of several blog posts weテ「竄ャ邃「ll interact about the empathy process. Of course, we donテ「竄ャ邃「t want to stop there. People do want to change. They do want peace.

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    So weテ「竄ャ邃「ll also explore how to move from anxiety to shalomテ「竄ャ窶挾eace in a frightening, fallen world.

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    Having embraced our spiritual friend through empathy, weテ「竄ャ邃「ll learn how to encourage one another to embrace Christ. What difference does it make that Christ never leaves us or forsakes us?

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    Weテ「竄ャ邃「ll find out.

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    GPS # 3: Exposureテ「竄ャ窶敕「竄ャナ的tテ「竄ャ邃「s Horrible to Self-Protectテ「竄ャツ

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    If you watch the show テ「竄ャナ溺onkテ「竄ャツ then you know that Detective Adrian Monk struggles with OCD and a multitude of phobias. He has a very sweet assistant, Natalie. As much as I love the show and like the character Monk, it drives me crazy the way he mistreats Natalie by only thinking of himself. Monkテ「竄ャ邃「s friends and therapist enable him (in the bad sense of that word) by never or rarely confronting him with the self-centered side of his anxiety.

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    Yes, we need to empathize and encourage.

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    However, since anxiety includes self-protection rather than trusting Godテ「竄ャ邃「s protection and protecting others, we also need to expose sinful self-protection. And, we need to expose Godテ「竄ャ邃「s forgiving grace and His accepting heart.

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    Weテ「竄ャ邃「ll learn how.

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    GPS # 4テ「竄ャ窶戲mpowermentテ「竄ャ窶敕「竄ャナ的tテ「竄ャ邃「s Supernatural to Trust and Defendテ「竄ャツ

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    Every once in awhile Detective Adrian Monk does something brave, something that protects Natalie or his other friends and co-workers. It seems almost miraculous. And, really it is. It is not natural for any of us to care about others. It is supernatural.

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    How does someone who is terrified of life begin to trust God and defend others? How do they, how do we, tap into Christテ「竄ャ邃「s resurrection power to overpower fear with faith, hope, love, and peace?

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    Stick with us as weテ「竄ャ邃「ll learn how.

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  • The Anatomy of Anxiety Part 8: Lions, and Tigers, and Bears, Oh My!

    Posted on October 27th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    The Anatomy of Anxiety, Part 8:

    Anxiety, Worry, Fear, and Phobiaテ「竄ャ窶抂h My!

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    Note: For part one of this mini-series, please visit: http://bit.ly/aHstk. For part two, please visit: http://bit.ly/20R01P. For part three, stop by: http://bit.ly/HAoxI. For part four, drop by: http://bit.ly/1I6XmF. For part five, visit: http://bit.ly/19Jdqt. For part six, please go here: http://bit.ly/19vCXx. For part seven, please visit: http://bit.ly/21wPLg.

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    Does worry, doubt, or fear get the best of you sometimes? Do you wonder where anxiety comes from and how to defeat it in your life and the lives of those you love? Then we need a biblical anatomy of anxiety.

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    What Anxiety Feels Like

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    We use a host of terms for テ「竄ャナ殿nxiety.テ「竄ャツ Four of the most common are anxiety, worry, fear, and phobia.

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    Though these are distinct and can be contrasted, we can also identify common threads woven throughout each of these terms. They consist of overlapping, similar experiences.

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    The following are actual ways that people have described to me their experiences of anxiety, worry, fear, and phobia.

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    *Iテ「竄ャ邃「m constantly turned in upon myself and tuned in only to myself.

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    テ「竄ャナ的テ「竄ャ邃「m consistently reflecting on myself and overly concerned with my life in a way that feels self-centered, obsessive, out of control, and abnormal.テ「竄ャツ

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    *Iテ「竄ャ邃「m hyper-vigilant in my response to threat and I always have a sense of foreboding.

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    テ「竄ャナ的 feel like something bad is going to happen that I canテ「竄ャ邃「t control or handle.テ「竄ャツ

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    *My mind gets stuck in a state of alertness and preparation for danger, real or imagined.

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    テ「竄ャナ的 canテ「竄ャ邃「t seem to stop preparing for the worst.テ「竄ャツ

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    *My fear is my survival system, like an alarm clock intended to startle me awake. But the button is stuck and the alarm wonテ「竄ャ邃「t stop!

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    テ「竄ャナ的tテ「竄ャ邃「s like the old Lost in Space show with the Robot always screaming, テ「竄ャヒ廛anger! Danger! Will Robinson!テ「竄ャ邃「テ「竄ャツ

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    *Anxiety is my present experience of a scary future.

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    テ「竄ャナ的 feel like the cowardly lion, afraid of his own shadow, and like all the Oz characters always chanting, テ「竄ャヒ廰ions, and Tigers, and Bears! Oh my!テ「竄ャ邃「テ「竄ャツ

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    *My fear retreats from the threat. Fear cringes. テつ

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    テ「竄ャナ的 donテ「竄ャ邃「t fight; I flee because I view the danger as bigger than my resources.テ「竄ャツ

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    *My fear causes distortions. I seem weaker than I am. God seems weak, or uninvolved, or uncaring.

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    テ「竄ャナ的テ「竄ャ邃「m David against Goliath, but I donテ「竄ャ邃「t see God in the scene.テ「竄ャツ

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    *I sense a dangerous threat that I canテ「竄ャ邃「t control or surmount.

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    テ「竄ャナ鏑ife is too hard for me. This situation is too big for me. Iテ「竄ャ邃「m a child in an adult world.テ「竄ャツ

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    *I worry all the time. Itテ「竄ャ邃「s a distracting care, a consuming thought.

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    テ「竄ャナ的 get stuck on the step of identifying every possible negative eventuality. I define the problem, but I donテ「竄ャ邃「t move on to identifying options, finding solutions, or taking action.テ「竄ャツ

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    *Iテ「竄ャ邃「m in a near constant state of dread or apprehension, usually not even triggered by any specific danger.

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    テ「竄ャナ的テ「竄ャ邃「m swallowed in panic and confusion about my uncertain future. All I know for sure is that at least one of the potential negative outcomes is sure to occur!テ「竄ャツ

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    The Rest of the Story

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    Have you テ「竄ャナ澱een there, done that?テ「竄ャツ Do any of these real-life descriptions fit your real life? Or the life of someone you love? Someone you are ministering to?

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    Itテ「竄ャ邃「s easy for us, especially if these issues are uncommon to us, to quickly say, テ「竄ャナ的tテ「竄ャ邃「s all sin. Just trust God. Be anxious for nothing. Pray.テ「竄ャツ

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    Even if all of that advice were always true; itテ「竄ャ邃「s still trite.

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    We change lives with Christテ「竄ャ邃「s changeless truthテ「竄ャツヲnot with our trite truisms.

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    I invite you to return for part nine and beyond as weテ「竄ャ邃「ll begin to share realistic biblical principles for overcoming anxietyテ「竄ャ窶拌t its root, at its core.

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    Our entire blog series is moving toward the goal of finding Godテ「竄ャ邃「s sustaining, healing, reconciling, and guiding care and cure for anxiety.

  • 12 Biblical Portraits of Anxiety

    Posted on October 21st, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    The Anatomy of Anxiety, Part 7:

    A Dozen Biblical Portraits of Anxiety

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    Note: For part one of this mini-series, please visit: http://bit.ly/aHstk. For part two, please visit: http://bit.ly/20R01P. For part three, stop by: http://bit.ly/HAoxI. For part four, drop by: http://bit.ly/1I6XmF. For part five, visit: http://bit.ly/19Jdqt. For part six, please go here: http://bit.ly/19vCXx.

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    Does worry, doubt, or fear get the best of you sometimes? Do you wonder where anxiety comes from and how to defeat it in your life and the lives of those you love?

    Then we need a biblical anatomy of anxiety.

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    The Bible Is Relevant

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    Some people talk about テ「竄ャナ杜aking the Bible relevant.テ「竄ャツ

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    We donテ「竄ャ邃「t make the Bible relevant. The Bible is the most relevant book ever written.

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    In fact, we have to work hard to make the Bible irrelevant. We have to work hard to make the Bible boring.

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    Other people talk about the sufficiency of the Scriptures. I believe 100% that the Bible is sufficient. However, far too many people fail to link the sufficiency of Scripture with the relevancy of Scripture.

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    We should never talk about the sufficiency of Scripture without also emphasizing the relevancy of Scripture.

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    The Relevancy of the Bible and Anxiety

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    What does all of this have to do with an anatomy of anxiety?

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    Some people think that the only biblical reference to anxiety is Philippians 4:6. They also tend to act like the only biblical counseling that we need to do for a person struggling with anxiety is to quote, テ「竄ャナ釘e anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.テ「竄ャツ

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    Thatテ「竄ャ邃「s an amazing verse, but the Bible is not simply a テ「竄ャナ田oncordanceテ「竄ャツ on anxiety where we tell people, テ「竄ャナ鍍ake two verses and call me in the morning.テ「竄ャツ

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    The Reality of the Bible: The Agony of Anxiety

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    The Bible presents an amazing array of an anatomy of anxiety. I want to share just a small sampler of those to whet your appetite. These verses and passages realistically depict the agony of anxiety.

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    The Bible is real and raw. It tells about real people with real problems. It presents real answers from a real God.

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    One of the myriad beauties of the Bible is it teaches us that we are not alone. Others have suffered like we do now. And others have found victory. This sense of テ「竄ャナ砥niversalityテ「竄ャツ敕「竄ャ窶掖hat others are in the same boat, encourages us when life beats us down.

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    A Dozen Biblical Samplers of the Experience of Anxiety

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    If you are struggling with fear, panic, worry, or anxiety, consider the following samplers as just a few passages you can turn to that depict struggles with fear and anxiety in other godly men and women of the Bible.

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    *Psalm 27: When fear assaults, David seeks Godテ「竄ャ邃「s face.

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    *Psalm 34: Read of Davidテ「竄ャ邃「s fear and broken-heartedness and Godテ「竄ャ邃「s care and cure.

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    *Psalm 46: Learn of Godテ「竄ャ邃「s strength and ever-present help in our trouble and anxieties.

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    *Psalm 55: Davidテ「竄ャ邃「s thoughts trouble himテ「竄ャ窶抛ver been there? He is distraughtテ「竄ャ窶拊een there, done that! His heart is in anguish within him; terrors of death assail him. Fear and trembling beset him; horrors overwhelm him. He casts all his cares on Jehovah; He cries out to Jehovah in distress. He pleads for Godテ「竄ャ邃「s sustaining care.

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    *Psalm 91: This psalm has been called the 911 Psalm. When you experience terror and foreboding and feel like life is an unavoidable snare and trap, call Godテ「竄ャ邃「s 911 hotline and find God to be your refuge and shield.

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    *Psalm 109: David candidly speaks of his wounded heart (109:22). He is poor and needy, shaken and fading away (109:23). Attacked by others, he clings to God.

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    *Psalm 116: The psalmist is overcome by trouble, afflicted, and dismayed, overly concerned, imprisoned by anguish. Where will rest be found?

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    *Matthew 6:25-33: Jesusテ「竄ャ邃「 teaching on worry and trusting Fatherテ「竄ャ邃「s good heart.

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    *Matthew 10:26-31: Jesusテ「竄ャ邃「 teaching on fear and trusting Fatherテ「竄ャ邃「s affectionate sovereignty.

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    *John 14:1-31: Jesusテ「竄ャ邃「 loving message to His disciples and to usテ「竄ャ窶掫hen our hearts are troubled, when we feel orphaned and all alone, where do we find peace? Do not let your hearts be troubled.

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    *Philippians 4:1-20: A classic passage on anxietyテ「竄ャ窶拊ut note that it is a passage in the context of a book. It is not simply a verse to quote like waving a magic wand.

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    *1 Peter 5:5-11: Another classic New Testament passage in a wider context that includes not only casting our care on God who cares, but also discusses vigilance (5:8)テ「竄ャ窶捏ound familiar?

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    What About You? What About Your Friend?
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    If you are struggling with fear, anxiety, panic, worryテ「竄ャツヲdonテ「竄ャ邃「t simply read these passages. Feel them. Live them. Experience them. Write a personal paraphrase of them. Memorize them. Meditate on them.

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    If you are helping a spiritual friend who is battling anxiety…don’t simply preach these passages at your friend. Discuss these passages. Interact about them. Dialogue about them. Trialogue about them–you, your spiritual friend, and the Ultimate Spiritual Friend. Have your spiritual friend write a personal paraphrase of the passage.

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    The Rest of the Story

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    I invite you to return for part eight where weテ「竄ャ邃「ll share personal expressions of the agony of anxiety from others who have struggled through it. You are not alone.

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    Then in part nine and beyond, weテ「竄ャ邃「ll explore some causes of anxiety.

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    All of our discussion is moving toward the goal of finding Godテ「竄ャ邃「s sustaining, healing, reconciling, and guiding care and cure for anxiety.

  • Ten Snap Shots of Anxiety

    Posted on October 16th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    The Anatomy of Anxiety, Part 6: Ten Snap Shots of Anxiety

    Note: For part one of this mini-series, please visit: http://bit.ly/aHstk. For part two, please visit: http://bit.ly/20R01P. For part three, stop by: http://bit.ly/HAoxI. For part four, drop by: http://bit.ly/1I6XmF. For part five, visit: http://bit.ly/19Jdqt.

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    Does worry, doubt, or fear get the best of you sometimes? Do you wonder where anxiety comes from and how to defeat it in your life and the lives of those you love? Then we need a biblical anatomy of anxiety.

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    Where Weテ「竄ャ邃「re Headed

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    In our blog series on anxiety, we want to move toward biblical victory over anxiety. What want to explore together how to move from fear to faith, and how to help one another to move from anxiety to faith, hope, love, and peace.

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    But before we do that, we have two more テ「竄ャナ都topsテ「竄ャツ on our blog tour of anxiety. Today we want to summarize where weテ「竄ャ邃「ve been thus far.

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    Then, we want to paint some real-life biblical portraits of anxietyテ「竄ャ窶掫hat it feels like and looks like. Where do we turn in the Bible to see such portraits? Weテ「竄ャ邃「ll address that question next week.

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    What Weテ「竄ャ邃「ve Seen So Far: Ten Sign Posts for the Anatomy of Anxiety

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    Letテ「竄ャ邃「s summarize our first five blog posts on the anatomy of anxiety.

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    1. Emotions are e-motions. God designed them to set us in motion. They are part of the God-designed motivational structure of the soul. E-motions motivate action.

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    2. God gave us the e-motion of vigilance to urge us to act quickly and courageously in response to a life need. When vigilance works, we have テ「竄ャナ杜ood order.テ「竄ャツ

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    3. Vigilance is a faith response to threat. In our faith response, we love God by trusting Him, and we love others by protecting them.

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    4. However, living in a fallen world, inhabiting unredeemed bodies, and tempted by an unloving enemyテ「竄ャ窶抓atan (the world, the flesh, and the devil), our vigilance can turn to hyper-vigilance, or stuck vigilance when we experience threat without faith.

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    5. In stuck vigilance, instead of a faith response to threat, we have a fear response to threat that leads either to flight (anxiety, panic) or fight (anger, aggression). When e-motions misfire like this, we have テ「竄ャナ杜ood disorder.テ「竄ャツ

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    6. So when fear strikes, we should be asking, テ「竄ャナ展here does fear drive me? Does it drive me to self-protection by flight or fight? Or does fear drive me to God, my Protector?テ「竄ャツ

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    7. Faith that works does not shun vigilance. Rather, it controls vigilance. It refuses to allow the emotions to control the mind.

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    8. God calls us to manage our moods and to master our emotions. We are not to ignore them, stuff them, or harm others with them. David is a biblical portrait of mature mood management. In Psalm 42, he is emotionally aware. テ「竄ャナ展hy are you disquieted within me, O, my soul?テ「竄ャツ David then demonstrates soothing his soul in God. テ「竄ャナ滴ope thou in God.テ「竄ャツ As Martin Lloyd-Jones says, David talked to himself rather than simply listening to himself!

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    9. When anxiety stalks, faith wrestles. Faith talks to the self. テ「竄ャナ的 know God will never leave me nor forsake me. I can do all things through Christ. I am more than a conqueror. Nothing will ever separate me from the love of God in Christ.テ「竄ャツ

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    10. When faith wrestles anxiety, we refuse the fight or flight response. Instead, we choose the tend and befriend response. Trusting Godテ「竄ャ邃「s protection, we refuse to protect our self. Instead, we courageously protect others for Godテ「竄ャ邃「s glory.

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    What About You?

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    What are you doing with fear? With threat?

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    They are opportunities to test Who and what you trust.

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    The Rest of the Story

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    I invite you to return for part seven where weテ「竄ャ邃「ll offer some real-life, biblical pictures of anxiety. The Bible is relevant. It addresses real people in real life with real issues. It paints accurate soul portraits of anxiety. Weテ「竄ャ邃「ll point you toward over a dozen next time we meet.

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  • Diagnosing Anxiety

    Posted on October 14th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    The Anatomy of Anxiety, Part 5: Why Am I Afraid?

    Note: For part one of this mini-series, please visit: http://bit.ly/aHstk. For part two, please visit: http://bit.ly/20R01P. For part three, stop by: http://bit.ly/HAoxI. For part four, drop by: http://bit.ly/1I6XmF.

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    Does worry, doubt, or fear get the best of you sometimes? Do you wonder where anxiety comes from and how to defeat it in your life and the lives of those you love? Then we need a biblical anatomy of anxiety.テつ

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    What Is the Biblical Portrait of Phobia, Anxiety, and Fear?

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    John tells us that テ「竄ャナ典here is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love (1 John 4:18).

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    The word John uses for テ「竄ャナ吐earテ「竄ャツ is テ「竄ャナ菟hobos.テ「竄ャツ It is used 138 times in the New Testament. Interestingly, the number one New Testament command is, テ「竄ャナ擢ear not!テ「竄ャツ

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    In a positive sense, phobos can mean reverence, awe, respect, and honor.

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    In a negative usage, it means terror, apprehension, alarm, and arousal to flee. In Matthew 28:4, we have a word picture of phobos/phobia. When the Angel of the Lord appears, the guards fear and fall like dead men. Thus here it is used of paralysis of action.

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    In Luke 21:26, phobos relates to uncertain expectations, terror, apprehension that fears the テ「竄ャナ展hat next!?テ「竄ャツ

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    In Romans 8:15, phobos has the idea of slavish terror as Paul reminds us that we have been given a spirit of sonship, confidence, and relational acceptance, not a spirit of slavish terror about relational rejection.

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    Fear of Ultimate Rejection

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    John is quite specific in his portrait as he says fear has to do with punishment. Punishment means rejection, separation, condemnationテ「竄ャ窶掖o be left as a loveless orphan, to be abandoned as a helpless child.

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    To understand John fully, we must go back one verse. In 1 John 4:17, John says that テ「竄ャナ斗ove is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment.テ「竄ャツ

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    Confidence is openness, frankness, boldness, assurance, concealing nothing, no hiding, no shame, no fear. It is the courage to come boldly before the throne of graceテ「竄ャ窶拊ecause of grace! It is the courage to express myself freely and openly in relationship because I know there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.

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    So What Is Phobia, Fear, and Anxiety?

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    So, how does the Bible picture and define anxiety, fear, and phobia? We might summarize it like this:

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    テ「竄ャナ撤hobia is paralyzing apprehension causing me to flee what I fear or to become paralyzed when facing my fear because I doubt my relational acceptance and security, because I doubt Godテ「竄ャ邃「s grace. My ultimate fear is fear of rejection by God. That fear is the cause of all other fears in life.テ「竄ャツ

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    What do I fear?

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    テ「竄ャナ的 fear God, but not in the sense of reverence and awe. I fear Godテ「竄ャ邃「s rejection because I refuse to place faith in Godテ「竄ャ邃「s gracious acceptance of me in Christ.テ「竄ャツ

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    Why am I afraid?

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    テ「竄ャナ的f the God of the universe rejects me, then Iテ「竄ャ邃「m on my own. And If Iテ「竄ャ邃「m on my own, life is too much for me.テ「竄ャツ

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    Making It Real

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    Letテ「竄ャ邃「s make it real-life practical. Phobia/phobos/fear/anxiety makes me feel like:

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    *テ「竄ャナ鏑ife is unsafe. Itテ「竄ャ邃「s too hard for me.テ「竄ャツ

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    *テ「竄ャツ扞f I cry out for help, no one will respond. If I reach up to God, He wonテ「竄ャ邃「t care because He has rejected me. He is ashamed of me and I am ashamed in His presence.テ「竄ャツ

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    *テ「竄ャツ扞 wonテ「竄ャ邃「t be protected. Thereテ「竄ャ邃「s no one who cares and no one who is in control. No one is flying this plane!テ「竄ャツ

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    *テ「竄ャツ扞 am orphaned and left alone because no one cares about me. Therefore, I have to make life work on my own.テ「竄ャツ

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    *テ「竄ャツ截ut Iテ「竄ャ邃「m small, childlike, inadequate. I canテ「竄ャ邃「t overcome the 800-pound gorilla of life. While I テつmust face life alone, life is too much for me to face.テ「竄ャツ

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    So How Do We Diagnose Fear?

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    Phobias, fear, worries, and anxiety signify my failure to grasp and apply Godテ「竄ャ邃「s powerful promise of gracious acceptance and protection. Fear and anxiety are caused by my refusal to accept my acceptance in Christ. If I believe Satanテ「竄ャ邃「s lying, condemning narrative, then I am left with no option other than trusting in myself. And I am far too small to handle life on my own.

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    Fear becomes a vicious cycle. Fearing Godテ「竄ャ邃「s rejection, I reject Godテ「竄ャ邃「s help, and I end up feeling helpless to face life.

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    The Rest of the Story: There Has to Be a Better Way

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    There has to be a better way, donテ「竄ャ邃「t you think? I sure hope so!

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    John gives us that better way when he tells us that テ「竄ャナ菟erfect love casts our all fearテ「竄ャツ (1 John 4:18).

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    Join us again tomorrow when we examine biblical principles for overcoming anxiety with faith, hope, and healing love.

  • Biblical Models for Handling Anxiety

    Posted on October 7th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    The Anatomy of Anxiety, Part 2: Sentry Duty

    Note: For part one of this mini-series, please visit: http://bit.ly/aHstk

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    Does worry, doubt, or fear get the best of you sometimes? Do you wonder where anxiety comes from and how to defeat it in your life and the lives of those you love? Then we need a biblical anatomy of anxiety.

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    A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words

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    Picture the difference between anger, anxiety, and vigilant faith like this:

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    *Anger: The Fight Response to Threatテ「竄ャ窶戡ttack: Vigilante Justice.

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    Taking matters into my own hands.

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    *Anxiety: The Flight Response to Threatテ「竄ャ窶抒etreat: Vigil without Action.

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    Taking my safety into my own hands. テ「竄ャナ的f I worry enough, at least I feel as if I have some control.テ「竄ャツ

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    *Vigilance: The Faith Response to Threatテ「竄ャ窶截efriend and Tend (Engage and Protect): Vigorous Response.

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    Taking the safety of myself and others and surrendering it to Godテ「竄ャ邃「s hands while I take a stand for Godテ「竄ャ邃「s plan. It is befriending and tending to others even when I am threatened.

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    Called to Sentry Duty

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    The root テ「竄ャナ砺igテ「竄ャツ relates to sentry. God built into our brains a sentry. A sentinel. Adam went off sentry duty when he allowed his wife to be attacked by Satan without intervening. He failed to use his vigorテ「竄ャ窶拮is energy, force, power given to him from God to テ「竄ャナ徒eep the gardenテ「竄ャツ and to テ「竄ャナ田leave to his wife.テ「竄ャツ

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    Where does fear fit into this equation? We know that fear is a God-given emotion. We are called to fear God. Why did God create us with a capacity to fear, and how does fear run amok?

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    Fear is our response to uncertainty about our resources in the face of danger. We are assaulted by a force that overwhelms us. Then we are compelled to face that we are helpless and that ultimately our safety is out of our control. Faith faces this reality by trusting in the unseen reality of a God who cares and controls. Fear compels me to face my neediness.

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    Anxiety is fear without faith. It is vigilance run amok. We scan the horizon constantly, fearfully, but without ever taking action or responsibility. And without clinging to God.

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    Biblical Models

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    Jesus models constructive vigilance in the garden. He faced His dread of death (Matthew 26:39). And He placed faith in His Fatherテ「竄ャ邃「s good heart and strong hands (Matthew 26:39).

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    Jesusテ「竄ャ邃「 disciples modeled destructive fear and anxiety. Peter at one point chose the fight response of vigilante justiceテ「竄ャ窶拂utting off an ear! At another point Peter chose the flight response of vigil without actionテ「竄ャ窶拇enying the Lord three times. All of the disciples displayed the inability to hold a vigil. テ「竄ャナ鼎ould you not keep vigil with me one hour?テ「竄ャツ

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    Faith or Fear?

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    Healthy vigilance and a godly response to fear prompt us to relationship: trusting God with faith. And it prompts us to impact: protecting others through vigilance with vigor.

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    Abnormal, unhealthy, sinful anxiety prompts us to retreat from relationship: we turn to inward scanning without relational trust in God. And it prompts us to retreat from impact: we experience vigilance without vigor as we self-protect instead of lovingly and strongly protecting others.

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    Fear of God roots us in the essence of existence not in the externals of our situation. Where does fear drive us? To protect ourselves through the flight response of anxiety or the fight response of anger? Or to God, our Protector who empowers us to tend and befriend (テ「竄ャナ敵uard the garden!テ「竄ャツ)?

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    The Rest of the Story

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    Join us again tomorrow when we explore how to move From Fear to Faith by Love.

  • Worriers or Warriors

    Posted on October 7th, 2009 bob.kellemen No comments

    The Anatomy of Anxiety, Part 1: Worriers or Warriorsテつ

    Does worry, doubt, or fear get the best of you sometimes? Do you wonder where anxiety comes from and how to defeat it in your life and the lives of those you love?

    Then we need a biblical anatomy of anxiety.

    God intended for us to experience a mood that is the テ「竄ャナ吐lip sideテ「竄ャツ of anxiety. If we are to understand the テ「竄ャナ電isorderテ「竄ャツ of anxiety, we must understand the テ「竄ャナ登rderテ「竄ャツ that sin has disordered. What normal, healthy, God-given process has become perturbed in anxiety?

    Vigilance

    Anxiety is vigilance out of control and out of context. God designed us with the mood of vigilance which is meant to move us to relationship and impact. With vigilance, God puts us in fast motion, urges us to act quickly in response to a life threat.

    Anxiety is テ「竄ャナ都tuck vigilance.テ「竄ャツ Vigilance is proper, constructive concern for the well-being of others, the world, and self. Anxiety is vigilance minus faith in the Father. Vigilance results in tend and befriend behavior. Anxiety results in flight or fight behavior.

    Anxiety is vigilance that does not turn us back to trust. It leads us to a toxic scanning of our environment. God says, テ「竄ャナ釘e vigilant! Be alert! Take your stand, and having done all, stand firm! Quit ye like men!テ「竄ャツ

    Anxiety says, テ「竄ャナ展hat if? I canテ「竄ャ邃「t handle this! I have to run. I have to fight. I have to self-protect!テ「竄ャツ Anxiety is scanning without standing. Instead of scanning and standing, we scan, and scan, and scanテ「竄ャツヲ It is continual worry. Continued テ「竄ャナ努hat if?テ「竄ャツ thinking and feeling.

    The Family Tree of Anxiety

    Vigilant faith, anxiety, and anger are cousins. Their family tree? Vigor, from which we gain three related words: vigilante, vigil, and vigorous. Anxiety and anger involve vigilance without faith and without love. They are non-trust, non-relational responses to threat.

    Vigilance, on the other hand, is a trust, relational response to threat. It relates to others by protecting the person being threatened. It relates to others by engaging, challenging, confronting (not attacking) the person doing the threatening. It relates to God by trusting that what He calls me to do, He equips me to fulfill.

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    In Godテ「竄ャ邃「s Kingdom, we are either worriers or warriors!

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    The Rest of the Story

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    Return tomorrow when we picture the differences between flight, fight, and faith. We’ll also explore positive and negative examples in the Bible of vigilance versus anxiety.

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