Anxiousness has a very different meaning in today’s society. The word anxious however comes from the word anxiety which is defined as “distress or uneasiness of mind caused by the fear of anticipated danger or misfortune”. Anxiousness is something we all have to deal with in some form or the other, we may react to it differently but none of us escape it. One may react to anxiousness with rage while another may react to it with alcohol; the fallen man attempts to mitigate anxiety always with either: Pride, Pleasure or Power (1 John 2:16) or a combination of these.
1 John 2
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
Such anxiety stems from Adam because by nature we have a law (of flesh) at work in us which is different from the Law of God (Rom 7:23). This anxiety we suffer is the result of broken communion with God. All suffering in this world is what God has ordained according to His purpose. Anxiety on the other hand stems from seeing God’s hand at work in creation as something totally hopeless. Anxiety is an ungodly and unholy fear because it fears ‘trusting in the good Lord’ rather than fearing God. Anxiety by nature distrust God but the ‘fear of the Lord’ on the other hand trusts God and is obedient to His Law even in the face of death. For the ‘fear of the Lord’ grants the believer the wisdom to fear Him who can destroy body and soul for eternity (Mat 10:28) as over men’s circumstances (Isaiah 51:7), which at most can only action death.
10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments; His praise endures forever.
16 Better is a little with the fear of the LORD Than great treasure and turmoil with it.
11 Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
Hence we see that there is such a thing as holy and unholy fear, where holy fear (fear of the Lord) constitutes that of a servant acting in obedience to His Master even in the face of death for that servant knows His Masters commandments and so serves His Master in total humility because to that servant his duty to His Master outweighs his humans concerns. We therefore see that it is in this state of holy fear that the servant’s life is practically trusting God.
Having explained the difference between the ‘fear of the Lord’ and Anxiety, what remains to the said is that one can never know the ‘fear of the Lord’ without knowing about the ‘Moral Law of God’ and if that person does not know God’s Moral Holy Law then that person has not witnessed the Salvation that is of Christ (Mat 7:23).
10 ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Anxiety is something we can only cast on the Lord Jesus Christ, who is seated at the right hand of the God the Father. This is the grace (unmerited favor) God grants the believer, because natural man’s communion with God is broken, he is spiritually dead since Adam (Gen 2:17) and hence restoring this communion can never be the onus of man who is spiritually dead but only of God who is life (John 11:25). This precisely is what Jesus did on the cross; He became that sinless sacrifice substituting the believer with Himself to receive the full wrath of God i.e. to pay the full price sin because man fell short of the glory of God.
21 But now apart from the Law righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets,
22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;
31 Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.
What we notice from the above scripture is that Godly righteousness is given to the believer through Jesus Christ. It is in the Lord Jesus Christ that a person is granted a spirit of obedience (Romans 16:25-26) and thus establish the Moral Law as though it were written on his/her heart (Jer 31:33). When this Moral Law is established in our hearts, we then learn as though it were our instinct what Romans 8:28 teaches us even in our most difficult circumstances.
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
12 Blessed is the man whom You chasten, O LORD, And whom You teach out of Your law;
It is therefore only the Lord Jesus Christ in whom we can cast our anxiety through prayer and supplication and learn the Holy fear of God (2 Cor 5:10-11). I must state that though we are saved by grace through faith, when we appear before the judgment seat of Christ, we shall be judged by our deeds (James 2:17-20) because our deeds are the evidences of the grace we have received (1Cor 15:10). Yet we must know that though we are to be judged by our deeds on the Lord’s Day, our salvation is not from our own merit but from the merit of Christ. For it was on that cross that He purchased a Spirit of obedience for His people (Rev 5:9) and it was Him was spurned for our disobedience (Isaiah 53:5) that stemmed from the believers’ natural Adamic nature.
37 “The statutes and the ordinances and the law and the commandment which He wrote for you, you shall observe to do forever; and you shall not fear other gods.
39 “But the LORD your God you shall fear; and He will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies.”
31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, were multiplied.
To conclude, I must state Jesus’ teachings on anxiety in Mat 6:25-34 emphasizes on the Christian: the Law of God because it is in His Commandments (Moral Law) that we learn a structured approach to “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Mat 6:33), which as stated in Mat 22:37-40 teaches the Christian that his first duty is to love God with all his heart, soul and mind, while his second duty remains to love his neighbor as himself.