Responding to anxiety, doubts, and fears (Part 4): Know the true and living God.

Whenever we feel anxious or fearful, there are certain thoughts going through our mind that are triggering or sustaining that fear. And often, those thoughts are based in some sort of lie from the world and culture around us.

In this series, we’ve looked at the importance of testing our thoughtsto identify truth, reminding ourselves who we really are, and the importance of real relationships. Today, we’ll look at the third lie that can easily bring us to a place of anxiety, doubt, and fear:

Lie #3: The world lies to us about who God is.

Here at iHope, many of the clients that we work with are Christians, familiar with God, following God – and most of them have questions for God. They struggle. That’s okay! So do I. We all have questions for God. It is not the questions that are a problem, but the doubt that may lie underneath the questions.

Do any of these sound familiar?

“If something bad happens, God must not love me.”

“God is mean.”

“I am a disappointment to God.”

“God isn’t even real, he’s just a superstition we made up to feel better about ourselves.”

These probably sound familiar, because they are common statements heard in the culture around us. They may even be common refrains in your own thought life. But these are lies.

Do you remember how the apostle John advises his friends to respond to things they are hearing, even things they are hearing from preachers and pastors? Let’s look again at 1 John 4:

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.

We need to test everything against the truth of the Gospel.

So, let’s test these thoughts against the truth of the Gospel. In the Gospel, we see that God existed before us, created us, pursues us, and loves us so much that He sacrificed himself to make us holy and righteous with his own righteousness. Once we decide to follow him, He comes to live inside of us and He prepares a room for us in his own household where we will live for eternity.

Of course, it is also the truth of the Gospel that unless we follow Jesus and know him personally, we will not experience the Spirit of God living in us, and we will spend eternity separated from God instead of living with him as our Father. If you aren’t following Jesus, today is the day! Turn to him. But if you are following Jesus, then you don’t have to give in to these lies from the world. You do not disappoint God – He looks at you and sees Jesus’ righteousness. God is not ignoring you, mad at you, or cruel to you – He is loving you like a good Father, which sometimes means He’ll say “no” to our requests, He’ll discipline us when we are doing wrong, and He will prioritize our ultimate eternal good above our current self-identified desires.

Let’s look at another writing from the apostle John, written earlier in his life:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (John 1)

You can probably meditate on these few verses for days on end without reaching the full depth and meaning of them – I know that I can! Let the light of the Gospel shine into the darkness of any thoughts, lies, or beliefs that are ultimately untrue about who God is.

The truth is that God is real. He gave up glory to come be with us, to suffer, and to die. And He rose again! That power now lives in you, follower of Christ. You are God’s beloved child. The truth is, Jesus is everything, and He has given us everything. 

We’ll have one more blog post in this series, summing up this call to test everything against the truth of the Gospel. But for today, if you are unsure what the truth is, if you are unsure about who God is, then I encourage you to:

  • Finish reading the gospel of John.
  • Ask God to reveal himself to you. Talk with a pastor (or a pastoral counselor here at iHope) to discuss your questions.
  • Visit this websitefor more help.

Written by Jessica Hayes
iHope Executive Director