Below is a recap of the sermon preached on March 13, 2016
The anatomy of anxiety & anger
In Matthew 6, Jesus links anxiety to the future: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear" (Matthew 6:25). Anxiety is: there's something you think you need or want, but you're not sure you're going to get it. That uncertainty causes a twinge of anxiety.
Anger is similar. "What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill" (James 4:1-2a). Anger is: there's something you think you need or want, but someone or something has blocked you from getting it.
Anxiety = "I want, but might not get..."
Anger = "I wanted, but didn't get..."
They are siblings.
The antidotes to anxiety and anger
1. Grow in your knowledge of your sin
Anxiety and anger originate from: "I want...I long for...I desire...I love..." Do you hear the entitlement in these words? At the root of them both is pride. Meditating on passages like Romans 3:10-18 and Mark 10:18 has a humbling effect. Humility greatly reduces the extent to which anxiety and anger will be problems for us. In fact, humility is the secret to a happy life.
2. Grow in your knowledge of Jesus Christ
In Luke 8, Jesus and the disciples are rowing across the Sea of Galilee when a ferocious storm jeopardizes their well-being. In the midst of it all, Jesus is sound asleep. The disciples react with a mishmash of anxiety and anger. After frantically waking him, Jesus calms the storm and asks the disciples one question: where is your faith?
In other words, they would not have responded this way if they truly trusted Jesus.
They respond with a question: who is this?
That question explains why they reacted to this hardship with anxiety and anger. They didn't really know Jesus. This story is truly profound. Trusting Christ isn't a matter of welling up within us an energy or force. Faith isn't an act of willpower. Faith, trusting in Christ, is a byproduct of knowing him. If you really knew Jesus, you'd trust him and that trust would curb our anxiety and anger.
3. Grow in your knowledge of God's love
Anxiety and anger are rooted in: "I want...I desire...I long for...I love." Whatever we desire, we also think will be good for us. We long for good stuff, good situations, etc. That's why we get anxious or angry when those are threatened. So the million dollar question is: how invested in my good is God? Does God really want what's good for me?
Of course, there can be no more emphatic answer to those questions than what he demonstrated in the cross of Jesus Christ. The cross demonstrates the lengths God is willing to go to in order to bring good into our lives. And it's not just any good. It's the ultimate good: life forever with him. Jesus Christ paid the highest price possible to give us the greatest gift imaginable! God's love for us is indescribable and unfathomable! When you see that, you stop questioning whether or not he's truly invested in your good which protects you from anxiety and anger.
This sermon was given by Rev. Brian Dainsberg at Appleton Alliance Church on Mar. 13, 2016.
What we grow up with, we become convinced is normal.
One of the great joys and one of the great sadnesses I experience as a pastor is hearing people's stories. It's a joy because often they include miracles of God's saving, redemptive, and restorative power. It's a sadness because before the salvation, redemption, and restoration there is brokenness.
In twelve years of listening to people's stories, there is a repetitive theme I've noticed: what we grow up with, we become convinced is normal. While this theme seems to be true for both men and women, it has left a permanent imprint on me as a father of a young girl.
When men treat with contempt and an utter disregard the sanctity of a young girl's life, that girl slowly becomes convinced those experiences are normal. As they grow up, they often don't pursue anything different because they've never known anything different. They get stuck in a vortex of abuse and exploitation.
Dads with young daughters, here's a word for you. How you treat your daughter, she will become convinced is normal. How you treat her mother, your daughter will believe is normal. And as your daughter grows up, there is nothing more natural than to pursue that which she has seen to be normal.
My relationship with my wife and my relationship with my 4-year old daughter are cementing in her mind already the type of relationships she will pursue and nurture as she reaches into adolescence and adulthood. As her dad, I have an extraordinary opportunity to model for her what she should look for and accept and what she should reject. Dads, make the most of these days! They are short.
For more on this topic, this week I will be giving away two copies of the book, Family Shepherds: Calling and Equipping Men to Lead Their Homes by Voddie Baucham Jr.. To enter, simply sign in to the Rafflecopter giveaway below and enter either by following me on Twitter, on Instagram, or on both! Winners will be chosen and notified by email. At this time, I do ask that only those living within the 48 contiguous United States enter the giveaway. Thank you for understanding.