Jesus knew how to have victory over anxiety. The battle begins in our minds, in our thought life. That’s why he encouraged us to battle anxiety with an active verb:consider. To consider does not refer to a one-time thought. It’s a discipline that is ongoing. What are we to consider? What are we to focus our minds on?
Jesus answered those questions in his teaching in Matthew 6, when he encouraged us to consider the birds of the air. He said, “They neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (verse 26). Jesus is teaching us that to consider is a path to overcoming anxiety.
Consider the many facets of creation. The variety around us is astounding. Consider the sun, moon, and stars – how they remain fixed in the universe. Consider the flowers in all their variety and colors. Consider the photosynthesis of the plants and trees, absorbing carbon dioxide, then emitting oxygen. Consider music, choirs, and orchestras. Consider the mountains and valleys with their height and splendor.
During this global pandemic, consider the doctors, nurses, and hospital workers willing to risk their own health for someone they don’t even know. How do you explain a love willing to die for someone a person doesn’t even know? His love must be rooted in an eternal principle – a willingness to risk your own life to give others a chance to survive. It’s unnatural for this kind of sacrificial love to come from a self-protective human. It must have come from God.
God is sovereign over all creation and all creatures – including you. Jesus knows that the battle against anxiety begins in your mind. He also made it clear that anxiety demonstrates a lack of trust in God. After explaining the value that lilies and birds have to God, he gently chided the disciples for having “little faith” (Matthew 6:30). Great faith in the Creator, whom we consider in all this glory, is one key way to defeat anxiety. Anxiety and great faith are polar opposites.
Fight anxiety by experiencing creation. Although travel is currently restricted during this time of social distancing, we can experience creation in our own backyards. Let creation cry out to you of God’s existence. If God cares for birds and lilies with such endless and perfect love, how much more does he care for you?
Consider this truth, and watch your anxiety flee.