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|Subject: Obtaining True Christian Peace—The Final Analysis Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:13 pm|| |
Obtaining True Christian Peace—The Final Analysis
I know through firsthand experience that anxiety panic attacks are no joke and are very difficult to overcome and can often seem insurmountable. It is a very difficult (and often daily) mental battle that has the potential to haunt one for many years without yielding much relief. It is very important to overcome it as soon as possible because it can zap years from one’s life. Anxiety can steal one’s childhood, teen, or young adult years and even ad infinitum into one’s mid to late adulthood years if left unchecked. Anxiety can end up resembling a frozen time capsule where one looks up one day to only discover that one has missed out in many opportunities in life because of anxiety. It has the potential of making one childless, unmarried and barren—indeed it is an evil thing straight from Satan himself. If you, the Reader, are like myself, where anxiety has stolen years from your life, we can yet be thankful to God that He says in His Word in Joel 2:25, “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm—my great army that I sent among you.” Locusts elsewhere in the Bible are used to symbolize demons. Demons and sin are the cause of anxiety for God does not give the spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). God will yet restore our lives from what we have lost even those of us who have gotten a late start in life because of anxiety. My goal in this writing is to show the Reader how to be completely restored to true, full and complete peace where anxiety is a thing of the past and not one’s current experience anymore. My goal today is to show the Reader how to get beyond just getting by in life (which allows anxiety to continue to zap away our vitality) to experiencing the true pristine peace that God promises in His Word.
During one’s battle of anxiety, one should take an honest self-reconnaissance and introspection. We are to claim the promises of God (in this instance, His peace) without denying obvious truth. We don’t have to lie and say “I don’t have anxiety.” Lying is not necessary to activate God’s Word on your behalf. In fact, lying is a sin, and I know that some teach that we should lie and state the end goal as our current state as a way of claiming it, but lying won’t get us anywhere. It should be stated this way in complete truth: “My current experience is anxiety-filled, but that is not who I am.” That statement is different from the “lie” that some teach. This latter statement is the truth (if, as I am assuming that the Reader is indeed suffering with anxiety or depression). What you are experiencing is the truth, but that is not who you are because it is not who God says you are, but it is what you are experiencing. In order to conquer any lie, we must conquer it in full Truth. A lie does not defeat a lie. Anxiety is a lie from Satan that the one with anxiety has adopted as his or her reality. The promise of God is absolute peace, but the reality of our experience in the midst of the battle might not be. But keep reading, as I am going to tell you how to get there.
As long as a mental battle exists there is no peace. When you reach true peace there will be no mental battle. During the battle, no matter how great your anxiety might be at the moment, you must always keep in mind that your end goal is to be completely free of all fear, absolutely. For true peace is merely the absence of all fear. If anxiety is your daily battle and has been your recurring experience for years, then what you need to know is that what God promises is a completely different reality than what you have become accustomed to. You must become open and willing to accept a full change of your current existence. Your daily existence of battling fear will become obsolete when God’s absolute peace is applied to you. As long as you cannot imagine God’s complete peace in your life, you are not yet ready to receive it because ultimately it is received through faith. I know it is difficult to imagine because it is not your daily reality and experience, but again, keep reading, and I am going to show you how to change your mind to accept God’s full peace. I assume that the Reader is a Christian. I assume that the Christian reader who has been suffering with anxiety for years has attempted living by faith for his or her peace many times, but somehow anxiety is still there. There is something between your faith and God’s promise that is blocking God’s promise from reaching you. I am going to explain what that is so that a removal of that blockage will allow you to experience God’s absolute peace that surpasses all understanding.
There is something that I call a mental crutch which I have identified as the thing that gets between our faith and God’s promise and blocks God’s promise from becoming our experience. A mental crutch is something that our minds latch on to during a panic attack in order to take our focus off of the attack. It is often something we imagine whether real or not. A mental crutch comes in various forms. It might be a power statement that you recite to yourself in an attempt to get you to believe the statement and take your mind off of your current fear. A mental crutch might be in the form of a person that one relies on for security during stressful or fearful times. But when that person (or crutch) is unavailable, the one who relied on the crutch is more prone to fear and nervousness. A crutch might be in the form of a song or lyrics that one sings or thinks about to try to redirect the mind off of one’s current state of fear. A mental crutch might be expressed after anxiety in the form of sex or sin in an attempt to get the mind to temporarily stop focusing on the disappointments and depression caused by anxiety that day. Alcoholism, drugs, lashing out through anger or violence, these are all crutches. All mental crutches are sin. A crutch is relying on something else other than God to get one through a difficult and stressful situation. Therefore even focusing on a loved one during a mental attack in order to sustain oneself through the attack is a crutch and is a sin because God wants us to focus on Him as our Sustainer, and not on a fellow human being. Sometimes when one is not thinking about anything, the mind that is prone to fear might “naturally” start to search out for a crutch, reaching for anything, in certain situations that often causes the fear to occur. Ultimately all crutches are just a cover-up to fear. It is an attempt to mask fear in order to just get by in that given moment. It is an attempt to escape the moment. It makes one more vulnerable. A crutch is created when one anticipates fear. It ultimately weakens us more without us realizing it and it is never needed. True peace never has any crutches.
The Bible promises a type of peace that surpasses all understanding. Philippians 4:7 says, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” If one is battling anxiety at all it reveals that one did not yet reach the fulfillment of this promise. My purpose of writing here is to try to get us to see that we need to ultimately skip the mental battling process and claim this full, complete promise of peace. The reason why we have any mental crutch is because a crutch is a natural safety mechanism that the mind falls back on and it often does this so naturally that is seems to be out of our control to prevent it from happening. Indeed it might actually be out of our control, which is why we turn this completely over to God and place it in His control—after-all, He is the one who promised absolute peace; He is the one who has the power to make absolute peace a reality. The flesh is weak; God is not. It is His promise and His power, so it is our job to stop fighting and to turn this thing completely over to Him so that we can reach that full peace that surpasses all understanding.
Do you see how a crutch interferes with the peace from God? I know that it is a natural reflex, but we must stop creating mental crutches. Crutches make us more vulnerable to fear because they attach to lies and not to the Truth of God’s Word. It is important to realize that a crutch is anxiety. During a panic attack, the mind is seeking out a crutch. The mind in that moment feels that a crutch (or any diversion) will help it through the time of fear, but a crutch only feeds the fear—it validates the fear. True peace always lives in the moment. A crutch, on the other hand, wants to escape the moment. We create mental crutches as a survival mechanism—“fight or flight” they tell us. We create mental crutches because we are trying to figure out how to defeat fear and experience peace. We see from Philippians 4:7 that God’s peace cannot be figured out—it is only something that is experienced by those who claim it. I might be able to define true peace as the absence of all fear, but the “how” surpasses all of my understanding. I cannot define how God’s peace works—it just does. I can however, define how to claim it: that is through faith and our complete submission to God. We often get in the way of God’s peace. When we seek to establish peace ourselves, we unwittingly negate God’s peace which is incomprehensible and beyond achieving through our knowledge or ability. God’s peace comes through grace which operates without any effort on our part. Our efforts negate His grace. By grace we obtain perfect peace. By effort perfect peace eludes us. Peace comes through complete submission to God and renouncing all crutches (which is relying on something other than God).
It is very important to be able to distinguish or identify a crutch because sometimes they can go unnoticed and one might not realize that one is relying on a crutch. If there is any anxiety at all then that is a good indicator that there is some underlying crutch that one is submitting to. As stated earlier, a crutch is anxiety. Not only is it anxiety, but it sustains, feeds, and nurtures the anxiety that you already had, that is, your main anxiety that you have been suffering with. A life with constant anxiety/depression can easily make one forget what true peace was really like. I’d like to make it clear what true peace is like because that is the end that we should all be striving for. We should never strive to just get by—just getting by is not what God promised in His Word. God promised true peace. To remind the Reader who might have forgotten what true peace is like, let’s juxtapose anxiety with true peace. Anxiety causes one to hide; true peace is located out in the open. True peace wants to be seen. Anxiety seeks isolation. True peace seeks gregarious companionships and socialization. Anxiety seeks to ride on mental crutches; true peace goes without any crutch. Since we know that anxiety causes us to hide, and since we are claiming God’s peace in Christ, that means that we have to be willing to come out into the open to be seen. God’s peace has no reason to hide. Psalm 18:19 says, “He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.” God wants to bring you into the open as opposed to the fear that wants you to remain isolated from everyone. Jesus says in Luke 8:16, “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.” You are that light in Christ Jesus. And Psalm 118:6 says, “The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” There is no reason to hide from anybody.
No mental crutch is good. Catch this—not even using Scripture as a mental crutch is good—and the reason for this is because Scripture itself tells us that the believer does not need any mental crutch at all, as the peace of God is complete and surpasses all understanding. Using Scripture as a crutch positions it as being weaker than the anxiety or trial you are facing. Scripture is the Sword, not the crutch. On this forum I have provided a Catharsis Page, which is a list of Power Scriptures for the Reader to meditate on, especially each night before one goes to bed, which is to be used as a healing mechanism (not a crutch). Scripture is Truth—it is not a crutch to get us by under the weight of a lie from Satan. Scripture surmounts and dispels all lies from Satan. A crutch keeps us in a vulnerable position as it agrees with Satan’s lie. One reason why a mental crutch is bad is because it agrees with the lie and empowers it. A mental crutch gives more power to Satan than he really has. Unfortunately, too many of us are limping through our Christian lives on crutches. We are not walking as the conquerors in Christ that we are. God has redefined the Christian, and we are to discover who we are in Christ by meditating on His Word and believing by faith who God says that our new identities are. God has redefined you as “more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus.” You are to believe that by faith and stop just getting by on crutches. Stop your mind from seeking crutches. Your feelings might tell you that you need a crutch to get through this moment of fear, but your feelings are lying to you because God says that you can do all things through Christ who gives you sufficient strength to make it through any situation, and therefore you do not need a crutch at all—you just feel that way. So do not use Scripture as a crutch. Scripture is to be applied as Truth, not as a crutch. You do not need to escape any moment. God has placed you where you are and wants you to operate in faith and He promises you peace when you do that.
And if Scripture should not be used as a crutch, how much more should our mental assertions not be also? Certainly don’t go out saying, “Okay, I got this...” or, “I can do better this time if I concentrate...” or “Focus self, focus...” Are any of those statements statements from someone who has absolute peace that surpasses all understanding? No. Another thing wrong with such statements is that they assume that you are able to overcome through your own willpower. Your (and my) willpower has no power to overcome the lies of fear from Satan. Only God and His power are sufficient to overcome that. We must rely on God’s power in Christ Jesus to overcome what is in front of us, and not rely on mustering up willpower. Rely on grace. Mustering up willpower might work on some occasions, but that is only a feigned victory. It is not true peace because in true peace there is not even a need to muster up anything. Does a small child who is spritely and free need to muster up any type of strength to continue enjoying his or her freedom and peace? We must always remember that the end goal, or the final analysis of it all is that there should be no mental battle at all. True peace can only be obtained by Christians who understand to submit all self-will and mental strains over to Christ with complete faith that He has everything under control. Christ is your sustainer. You do not need anything else. You do not need a powerful catch phrase. You do not need a song to drown out your worries. You do not need a distraction. Those are all mental crutches. You need only to put your full faith in Christ who Himself supplies you with complete peace at all times.
Now, we are still human, and the reality of the matter is that there will be times of fleeting, transient fear. As long as we are alive in this flesh, there will be fleeting fear because Satan is always attacking us, trying to get us to fear—he will continue to attack us as long as we are committed to Jesus Christ. Satan is a great observer and he knows where we are weak and he is going to use that to attack us. The issue is not “fleeting fear.” That is not a problem. When fear tries to rear its ugly head, remind yourself of the Truth of God’s peace in Christ and fear will fleet away and you will experience true peace again. The issue or problem is when fear is not fleeting, but rather it lingers. During those times it is often the case that we are doing something wrong. During those times we should check ourselves to see if we are carrying some type of mental crutch. A mental crutch, although it feels good and safe, is actually detrimental. Remember, mental crutches even include psychotic medications. To experience true peace we must get rid of all crutches, even our anxiety and depression medications. (Be sure to wean off of them and not stop them immediately—although I stopped my high dosage immediately and was fine, but the doctors instruct us not to.) Medication only masks the problem and it keeps you from experiencing God’s true peace. As long as it masks the problem, the problem still exists and has not been dealt with.
One reason that anxiety can be a daily reality is because the sufferer is not able to picture the full end reality of peace. One’s experience has created a groove in the mind: that is, a scratched record of recurring dark thoughts that blinds one to how true peace used to feel. One aspect of the definition of faith is an expectation of what is going to happen. That is: Faith is expecting that what God said will happen to happen. Absolute peace that surpasses all understanding expects peace to be there beforehand. It expects that when you arrive at any given situation that full peace will be there waiting for you. The mind of fear expects the worst and seeks crutches along the way. Since faith is the key to our healing, we need to operate in faith by expecting that God’s full peace will always be at hand. We have to mentally preempt Satan’s fear with God’s peace by expecting God’s peace to always be our near future reality. Let the next moment be God’s peace, not Satan’s fear. Expect perfect peace that surpasses all understanding, not the need for a crutch. Jesus says in Luke 21:14, “Make up your mind to not worry beforehand...” I extracted that clause out, but the full verse reads “Therefore, make up your mind to not worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.” Jesus is talking about eschatology, but His words and point apply to our situation today. Whatever we set out to do, we should make up our minds beforehand to not worry. Don’t let your mind defeat you before you even get there. God wants us to always walk in faith and faith is an expectation that things will be just as God spoke it to be before we experience the outcome. Those who seek crutches are expecting that they will need something else to lean on. Faith is putting your full confidence in God, not in a crutch. We should put away the crutch before entering the situation that often causes fear and convince ourselves of the Truth of God’s peace before setting out. This may take meditation in the beginning. Your mind might be convinced that the lie from Satan is the Truth, so it would take meditation beforehand to convince the mind that what it learned from Satan is a lie and that God’s peace will be your new reality. Whatever you do, stop entertaining the fear and its process. If you find yourself in a mental battle, shift completely to peace and denounce the battle. Since the end goal is complete peace, you need to skip the entire mental battle process and claim the peace; live and operate in the new peace as if God has told the truth about it. Faith is acting like God has told the truth. Stop battling anxiety and go out as if God has told the truth about your complete peace.
Battling anxiety feeds it. Anxiety wants to lure you in to a fight in order to go into battle with you. Anxiety has a companion friend and ally called a crutch. The crutch’s job is to pretend that it is on your side although it has allied itself against you and is on the side of anxiety. The crutch holds its allegiance to anxiety and it offers you a lure of hope to keep you in a weakened, vulnerable state of submission to anxiety. Anxiety, or we can say Satan, does not want you to realize that you have been given complete peace through Christ. Anxiety knows that if you put your own effort into battling it that it will ultimately be successful over you. Anxiety has power over the flesh, but no power over the new spirit you in Christ. You might win some skirmishes on some days by your own fleshly efforts, but by battling anxiety through your mental willpower and effort, you are inviting anxiety to stick around for the next time. Anxiety loves to battle. It attaches itself to us when give it attention in fighting against it. Anxiety is the mind fighting with itself. We must stop the fight altogether and turn it over to God completely by giving up all crutches we have been relying on and giving up our effort to fight it. Relying on a crutch keeps you in a battle that you should not be fighting in the first place. Only through God’s grace can anxiety be fully conquered. God’s grace seems contradictory, but it works: that is, to defeat anxiety one must stop fighting against it and turn it over to God. God has laid out your victory already in peace, but anxiety wants to keep you on the battlefield in a war that God has won for you through Christ Jesus.
I also have come to realize that anxiety attaches itself to unrelated major sin. If an anxiety sufferer who is a Christian discovers how to overcome anxiety through Christ and the promises of God and starts enjoying peaceful days but later sins greatly, that sin is an invitation to anxiety for it to return (noted on edit that this statement sounds a lot like Hebrews 6:4-6; *see addendum*). When Saul lost the Holy Spirit because of his sin, the Bible says that a great fearful and dreadful spirit came upon him. The Christian always has the Holy Spirit in him or her, but His fellowshipping presence does not stick around when we sin greatly. I am not talking about small or accidental sins because the Bible says that there is sin that does not lead to death (or lack of fellowship with God). Biblical “death” means a lack of fellowship with God. Anxiety is death along with all other sins. Anxiety keeps one from true fellowship with God. True fellowship with God is really peace. Biblical “life” means to be in fellowship with God, and thus enjoy His the fullness of His peace. Non-Christians are in a permanent death state unless they find Jesus (they are always out of fellowship); Christians on the other hand, have the potential of going back and forth between the death and life state when they sin and repent again. [This has nothing to do with losing salvation, by the way, and I have explained all about that elsewhere on this site.] That death state breeds anxiety (along with other consequences) so it is important to continually be in good fellowship with God and avoid sin as much as possible if you want to experience true peace. Isaiah says two times that there is no peace for the wicked declares the LORD. God has made it where peace only operates when one is in fellowship with Him. I wouldn’t be giving you the entire truth if I did not include this information in this post.
I don’t want to make this a long post. My main point here is that we must see today the final analysis, or the end goal. We must see the peace field, not the battlefield. If you have been suffering for years with anxiety, please know that at any moment in the near future, your reality will be complete peace if you simply rid the mental crutches that prolong and perpetuate your fears. The crutches maintain the fear. They are a deceptive thing. They seem to be helpful, but yet they prolong and attach the fear to our minds. A crutch is anything that you reach for to help you get through a fearful moment. We mentioned already that Scripture can be a crutch if you look at it the wrong way. Scripture, looked at the correct way, is Truth (God’s Word) which overrides all fear and establishes complete peace without the need of any crutch. The power of Scripture is not in reciting it or thinking about it too hard; its power is the fact that it is the Truth from the mouth of God. It overrides lies. Truth is God’s reality. Truth is how God says things are. If God says that you have complete peace through Christ—then guess what?—you have complete peace in Christ because God said it. You might not feel that way, but you have it. It would be a lie to say that you don’t feel that way. Operate only in Truth and do not lie. But don’t listen to your feelings. It is your feelings that believe the lie. Don’t let your feelings make you believe that you need any mental crutch to help God’s Word become true. Your feelings are not you; they derive from your flesh, which is not you either. Your flesh is only your corrupted casing, or housing (that is, your body) that you will drop and escape one day when you physically die. As long as there is a crutch, there is no true peace. God’s Word does not need any help at all. The power of God’s Word is innate to the One who spoke it. You have complete peace simply because God says you do. The only thing that is missing if you are not experiencing it is faith and submitting all self-will efforts over to God and renouncing all mental crutches. Do that and believe that and you will experience an absolute peace that surpasses all understanding.
I mentioned Hebrews 6:4-6, which is often a confusing passage. Since I mentioned it I want to briefly dispel the confusion. I go over this passage in more detail in my “Faith vs Works” series. Many people use this passage to teach that a Christian can lose his or her salvation. The main part is verse 6, which says, “[It is impossible]...if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to public disgrace.” I am not going to go into full detail here, as I did that elsewhere, but this verse says that it is impossible for such a person to be brought back to repentance. Does that mean that this person is locked into an unforgiving state forever? Can they not find Christ again tomorrow and become saved again? The question we should be asking is: Impossible for who? My Bible tells me that all things are possible for God; and it says elsewhere that nothing is impossible for God. God can, however, frustrate our attempts and make things impossible for us. So Hebrews is not saying that God cannot do it, it is simply saying that people are not able to bring such a person back to repentance. So the only thing that we can do is to turn such a person over to God who can do all things including bringing such a person back to repentance. And please note that it does not say that it is impossible for the person to repent. It says that it is impossible for the person to be brought back to repentance by some third party not named God. The person is free to repent at any time. It is impossible for a third party to bring the person back to repentance because God Himself will block the attempt until the person first undergoes their full course of judgment. God is judging them more harshly because He judges those who know better greater than He judges the ignorant. The person we are talking about knows better, as he or she has previously experienced a close relationship with the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ. God is making sure that he or she undergoes their full course of judgment before their restoration. It is impossible therefore to help such a person until God has first dealt with them. This person, however, does have the option of skipping God’s judgment if they turn to Christ in true repentance and giving up their egregious sin, since they are free to repent at any time. And it is repentance, not salvation that this is talking about. Such a person is outside of God’s fellowship and needs to repent in order to come back into His fellowship. The clause with “public disgrace” refers to the community of believers; the author of Hebrew’s intended audience is Christian believers. If a Christian who was close to God through Christ and was filled with the Holy Spirit suddenly for whatever reason becomes ashamed of Christ and does not want to identify with Him in public (which describes a lot of Christians) or if they do some flagrant sin that to the public eye contradicts his or her Christianity, God curses them (see verse 8 ) and takes them out of His fellowship where others are unable to restore them until God Himself restores them after they have undergone His judgement brings them to submission to Him. God does not take away their salvation because salvation is not predicated on what we do. Hell is for all sin (big and small); Heaven is for those who have put their full trust in Jesus that He paid their sin debt in full as a one-time payment the moment they got saved, apart from our efforts.
P.S. I have no control over the annoying popups from clicking links. Those in control of this forum have added that. It is annoys me also. I have to click a link twice sometimes to get to what I want. So I apologize for that.