Anxiety is one of modern day society’s greatest struggles. Young and old wrestle with this great foe day and night. Christ-followers seem to be just as prone to anxiety-attacks as those who don’t have hope in Christ. I am personally quite familiar with fear myself. But I KNOW it is not God’s best for me.
Join me as I tackle this subject every Friday, discovering how Christ’s love makes us more than conquerors over this epic battle against anxiety.
We will start today with a truth God taught me in the Fall of 2013: to avoid producing the fruit of fear, we must get to the root of things.
Where am I rooted?
Ephesians 3:17 commends us to be “rooted and established in love.” A tree with healthy roots will produce life-giving fruit. The same is true with our life.
1 Corinthians 13 gives us a beautiful description of the fruit (product) of love:
4. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8. Love never fails… 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
While studying these verses, I realized these are also the characteristics of Jesus. If I am to reflect Jesus, who is LOVE incarnate, then why do I not have these characteristics in my life? What is missing?
Instead of a loving patience, I am often plagued with debilitating anxiety. I tend to avoid bearing all things with confidence; instead, I typically cave emotionally at any opposition. Instead of a childlike hope, believing that God could work in all things, I lean toward giving-up easily.
After much prayer and study, I understand that my life was not operating from a place of love. If love produces belief, hope, and endurance, then I must be operating from the complete opposite of love. So, what is the opposite of love?
I believe God reveals the answer in 1 John 4:18
“There is no fear in love; instead, perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. So the one who fears has not reached perfection in love.” 1 John 4:18
If there is no fear in love, then perhaps fear is the antitheses of love. Perhaps fruit of anxiety, self-concern, and doubt comes from a life rooted in fear.
I tested my theory by rearranging the 1 Corinthians 13 passage, with fear as the main factor instead of love: (verses 4-8)
4. Fear is anxious and impatient; fear is unkind. Insecurity (a form of fear) is full of envy; is boastful; is conceited.
5. Fear will act improperly; fear focuses on self; it easily annoyed; it maintains a detailed list of wrongs;
6. Fear finds joy in evil, but is cautious to rejoice in the truth;
7. Fear cannot bear anything, doubts all things, loses hope for all things, and gives up easily.
8. Fear always fails.
These “verses” accurately described my heart.
For example, I wake up anxious about how people will perceive me. I am afraid of rejection or disapproval. I have no patience for God’s plan to work itself out. I have chronic fear of failure.
Also, I am so terrified of mediocrity that I over-do everything.
And I doubt God. I stop believing that a person can change in the power of Christ. I give up. I get irritated when I don’t know “the plan.”
I think, in most cases, I am simply afraid of my pride getting hurt.
Being rooted in fear, instead of love, we naturally produce the fruit of self-centeredness, anxiety, envy, and giving-up easily.
Our Father has a great purpose for our lives, but that purpose is rooted in love, in HIM! (God is love!)
So we must do as the rest of 1 Corinthians 13 suggests and “put aside childish things”…. like fear. We have been given a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7). Those are the qualities of a mighty woman of God. Fear is the characteristic of a child who does not understand her adoption as a daughter in Christ. (Romans 8:15)
We must “put aside” this childish insecurity and fear. “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a [wo]man, I put aside childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11) We do this by keeping our eyes on the cross!
I want my thoughts and actions to be rooted in love, so I may have the fruit of love in my life. Through Christ, I can be patient, kind, content, humble, considerate of others, rejoicing in the truth, hopeful, persevering, enduring, bearing and believing all things.
I know I can only do this through the power of the Holy Spirit. So I will put my big-girl panties on, ask for His help in uprooting fear, and live a life rooted in His love.
How about you? What fruit have you been producing lately? Share how God is helping you get to the root of things by commenting below.