Terry’s Take… June Week 1: Troubled Hearts

Today we look at the Third Principle that Jesus teaches us about dealing with our anxiety.

Principle #3: My Anxiety is Related to My Trust Level in God

After Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount, the disciples and Jesus embarked on a ministry trip so that Jesus could teach His disciples and model for them the way of life that He was describing in the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew records these stories one after another to make the case that Jesus alone has the power to intervene. He was unlike the other religious leaders of His day. At the end of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 7, Matthew adds that “the crowds were astonished at His teaching, for He was teaching them as one who had authority, not as their scribes.”  He has real power to intervene in our troubles and Matthew wanted to make sure you understood the reason why Jesus could stand up and say don’t be anxious. It wasn’t just a slogan to make us feel better or distract us from our troubles. Jesus really was different. People’s lives were really changed when they encountered Him.

The chart below from Matthew 8–9 represents the various conversations and encounters that Jesus faced on this trip. As you look at the conversations, you see His response to ordinary people with deep troubles and sorrows. As a counselor, if I were to make a list of the most common worries that walk into my office on any given week, this list could have been written yesterday.

Circumstance of Anxiety & WorryConversation PartnerReference
Terminal illnessOstracized leperMatthew 8:1–3
Death of a loved oneCenturion rulerMatthew 8:5–13
Physical discomfort & sicknessPeter’s mother-in-lawMatthew 8:14–15
Spiritual oppressionMany inflicted with illnessMatthew 8:16–17
Financial securityScribe lacking commitmentMatthew 8:18–22
Physical safetyThose in the boat with JesusMatthew 8:23–27
Spiritual warfareTwo men with demonsMatthew 8:28–34
Loss of reputationThose with Jesus and sinnersMatthew 9:9–13
Suffering of a childRuler with dying daughterMatthew 9:18–26
Permanent disabilityTwo blind menMatthew 9:27–31

Do you get the point of all these stories? Jesus cares about you and your specific circumstances. He cares about the things that keep you up at night. In each of the situations, Jesus wanted His disciples to understand a key truth about life: they lacked the power to control the outcome, but God was powerful. In our anxiety, we tend to focus on the problem, and we find ourselves under the illusion that WE must find a way to control what ails us. On this ministry trip, Jesus made it crystal clear to His disciples, “apart from me, you can do nothing.” However, if they were sent with God’s power and were empowered by His Spirit, they did not need to fear. His power was available to them just like it is available to us.

Action step:
God calls me to overcome anxiety by keeping my focus on trusting Him with my trials.

Next week will look at the fourth and last principle that Jesus reminds us. You may want to keep these 4 principles handy. Print them out so that you may refer to them during your anxious times.