Out of everything I have covered to this point, perhaps one of the most important topics for those battling fear and anxiety is God’s love. For me personally, grasping the idea and depth of God’s love is one of the most challenging tasks I have ever faced. It is a topic that I continually have to revisit. It is a concept I easily overlook, forget about, and simply find overwhelming, in the best way. Living from God’s love and with an ever-present awareness of God’s love puts everything else in its place. God’s love gives us context, it grounds us, forms our identity, and it allows us to respond to God in love, to love others, and ultimately to love ourselves.
“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.”
Romans 8:31-34 NLT
“May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”
Ephesians 3:19 NLT
Not Fighting Alone
A large part of the process of learning to live with an awareness of God’s love is reminding ourselves we can not figure this out on our own. If you are anything like me, you try to battle your fear and anxiety on your own. This is the biggest mistake you can make in your fight. While I understand the desire to stand up on your own, I have learned the hard lesson that we were never meant to stand alone. Not in life and certainly not while fighting fear.
Battling My Independent Nature
I am fiercely independent by nature. So to say I disliked this part of the process would be a huge understatement. I am not saying that if you are extremely independent you have to give up that part of you. What I am saying is that you must learn to see the value in bringing other people into your fight. You need others to fight with you and for you. You need others to watch your back when you are not looking. To help you stand when you simply do not have the strength to stand on your own.
God’s Love And Perspective
Before all of the skeptics quickly write off this chapter as simply a feel-good rant about love, I want to be clear about my statement. Up until this article, hopefully, I have provided an honest take on battling fear and anxiety both practically and spiritually. In this post, I hope to uncover how living from God’s love and with an ever-present awareness of God’s love can set you on the path to healing. I do not believe God’s love is a magical pill that will suddenly make all of one’s worries disappear. I understand that anxiety is incredibly complex and has many components. More often than not, healing anxiety is a process that occurs over time. Regardless, I believe God’s love should serve as our source of hope. It is an area of great potential for healing that most followers of Jesus might overlook in battling fear.
A Varied Approach Toward Healing
I have said it many times, but it is worth repeating. Finding healing for chronic fear and anxiety is a multi-layered endeavor. I hope you will understand that some parts of anxiety such as anxiety brought on by trauma or traumatic events may require different types of treatment for healing to begin. For me personally, processing trauma with a trained counselor has proven invaluable. It took many hours invested with my counselor to properly process those areas of trauma in my life.
A Steep Hill To Climb
Just as healing anxiety is a multi-layered approach, humans experience many levels of anxiety. It is completely normal for humans to experience anxiety as a part of everyday life. I want to be clear that those who are battling fear or anxiety and who have been diagnosed with a medical condition such as an anxiety disorder face a much steeper climb toward healing than those who experience anxiety occasionally. In no way do I wish to discount occasional, healthy anxiety. I do, however, want to acknowledge how much more complex treating chronic or a clinical anxiety diagnosis can be.
For those who are battling fear and anxiety as a medical diagnosis, addressing thought life can seem almost insurmountable. An unhealthy perspective probably runs so deep it seems unreasonable for me to purpose trying to address it. I certainly believe asking a friend, family member or counselor to help address perspective is beneficial in many if not most cases.
What God’s Love Offers Us
In my personal journey, one of the most beneficial weapons in my tool belt has been perspective. And while perspective does not magically heal all anxiety, it does help in processing some forms of fear and anxiety that show up in my thoughts. While God’s love offers us so much, what I want to focus on is how God’s love should inform our perspective. For many people, including myself, the way I look at things, my perspective, is not always healthy. And much like physical health, perspective is not something which accidentally improves without intentional action.
The Importance of Perspective
Why is our perspective so important? Because our perspective ultimately informs our thoughts. And why place such importance on our thoughts? Pastor and New York Times best-selling author Craig Groeschel says, “Our lives are always moving in the direction of our strongest thoughts.” If we truly want to break free from the grip of anxiety and fear we must win the battle for our minds. The battle for our minds begins and ends with our thoughts. The quickest way to change our thoughts is through our perspective.
Allowing God’s Love To Inform Our Perspective
In this article, I want to address four areas where God’s love should inform our perspective. My wording here is intentional when I say “should.” For years I failed to allow God’s love to inform my perspective while I struggled with fear and anxiety. Allowing God’s love to inform our perspective is an intentional choice we make each day. I believe that if you will allow God into this part of your life, his love has the potential to heal your brokenness.
4 Ways God's Love Could Change Your Life
- Our Relationship with God
- God’s Presence
- God’s Sovereignty
Our Relationship With God
The importance of knowing you are loved by God.
In the introduction to this article, I stated that one of the most important topics for those battling fear and anxiety is a clear understanding of God’s love. And while this is completely true, I would expand this quite a bit. I would say God’s love is perhaps one of the most important things for any believer to understand, regardless of their struggle with fear or anxiety. In the book of Ephesians chapter 3, Paul opens by telling the people in Ephesus how God has graciously given him the privilege of serving him by spreading the Gospel.
As we look at this passage of scripture, take note that Paul states not only how important it is for Christians to understand God’s love, but that we experience God’s love as well. Part way through chapter 3, Paul, a hero of the Bible, is praying for the Christians at Ephesus. Overwhelmed with emotion as he describes the task God has given him, Paul breaks into prayer for the Christians in Ephesus. Let’s take a look…
“Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”
Ephesians 3:17-19 NLT
God’s Love Shapes Our Identity
Fear and anxiety come as the result of many things, but one truth which has the greatest potential to set us on the path towards healing is a proper understanding of our identity in Christ. According to John 1:12, those who have chosen to place their faith in Jesus Christ, God “…gave the right to become children of God.” Living in this reality Colossians 3:1-3 tells us that our “…real life is hidden with Christ in God.” 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 informs us that we have been bought with a price and Romans 14:7-8 shows us we belong to God. These are just a few of the many truths found in scripture which speak to our identity.
Identity - Takeaway
Understanding our identity on its own will not magically fix things. It is a vitally important piece in your journey towards healing, but it is only one of the many layers. Knowing who we are in Christ helps us to dethrone the lies which poison our perspective and ultimately our thoughts. Our identity paired with God’s truth found in scripture is a formidable weapon every believer should know how to wield.
What About God’s Presence and God’s Sovereignty?
As much as I might want to wrap up the 4 Areas Where God’s Love Should inform our perspective in a few paragraphs, I just cannot. Over the next few posts, I will dive into how God’s Presence and God’s Sovereignty should inform our perspective.