Because humans are sinners and live in a fallen world, wherever there are people there are problems. Often, it’s when people form social groups that those problems are most evident. While the human condition remains fundamentally the same, each generation must acknowledge and address its own unique weaknesses. One cultural issue that has come to light in the last few years, particularly following the COVID upheaval, is another epidemic of sorts: the rise of mental health issues. A 2023 Harvard Medical School study asserts that 50 percent of the current world population will be diagnosed with a mental health disorder sometime in their life. Mental health is an area young people struggle with especially. More than one-third of people under the age of thirty report they have been diagnosed with a mental health condition. Much of what young people, and people of all ages, are struggling with falls under the category of stress, anxiety, and depression.
It is important for Christians to understand the problems the world around us is facing so that we can more effectively share the love of Jesus with them. Additionally, believers are not immune from the temptation to be anxious or yield to depressing thoughts. While there are many internal and situational factors that can predispose a person toward the temptation to be anxious, worry, or indulge depressing thoughts, the place we ought to start for every problem we encounter is the revelation of the One who created us and understands the human condition perfectly. We should start with God’s Word.
In Luke chapter 12, Jesus is preaching content from what is famously called the Sermon on the Mount. In verses 22-40, He presents truth that can be very helpful when we are tempted to be anxious. The basic message of these verses is that changing our perspective is God’s answer to anxiety, stress, and worry. I believe that in Luke 12 Jesus is calling us to put into perspective, or remember, three things.
Remember Our Place (vv. 22-30, 32)
In the text, we see that different aspects of creation have a God-given place to thrive. The birds do not harvest and the plants do not spin clothes, yet Jesus talks about how He cares for the birds and the plants without fail (vv.24-27). Yet we humans fail to trust that God will care for us in the place he for us. Notice how verses 30 and 32 remind us that God is our Father and those of us who are believers are His children. Not only are we more important than the birds and the plants, but if we have accepted Christ’s salvation, we are God’s children, joint heirs with Christ to God’s Kingdom (v. 32)! Jesus is reminding his listeners of their place. So many problems that we face in life are because we forget the place that God has put us and step outside of His blessings. So often a lack of trust in our Father, who cares for us as His children, leads to unnecessary stress and worrying. If we remember our place, we will be helped in dealing with these issues.
Remember Our God (vv. 22-30, 32)
Jesus uses the example of the birds and the plants to glorify the character of the Father. God feeds the birds (v. 22); He clothes the grass (v. 28); He knows our needs (v. 30); He has good plans for His children (v. 32). The point is that, because God is perfect, He will perfectly care for his people. Quite often when the temptation to be anxious or stressed creeps into our minds, it is easy to forget who our God is. Understanding or reminding ourselves of His character can be helpful in realigning our perspective.
Remember Our Responsibility (vv. 31, 33-40)
Since we belong to God, and since He has all power to care for us, we need not worry. Instead, remembering the character of our God motivates us to fulfill our primary responsibility to Him. Don’t worry, Jesus says. “But rather, seek ye the kingdom of God; and these things shall be added unto you” (v. 31). Our primary responsibility as humans, but especially as Christians, is to seek God and His kingdom above all else. Many times, if all we focus on is our temporal responsibilities, we can become overwhelmed and lose sight of our greater heavenly responsibilities. Prioritizing our personal success over God’s glory is often a significant cause of our mental stresses. Instead of focusing on the situations that tempt us to worry, anxiety, and depression, we should adopt the proper perspective that what ultimately matters is the advancing of the gospel. We ought to identify our responsibilities to the kingdom of God and make those things the focus of our lives.
Fellow Christian, we have a great opportunity to understand the problems the world is facing and the solutions the Bible offers. Not only will we be better equipped to protect our own heart and mind from the Devil’s attacks, but we also can more effectively share the hope of Jesus with the hopeless world around us. The world tries to explain, validate, and medicate mental challenges without considering God, but Jesus speaks the truth that can ultimately alleviate them. Reminding yourself of the proper, Biblical perspective of God’s power, our place, and our responsibility can give you strength for your life.
The above article was written by Andrew Johnson. He is a pastoral ministries student and member of NorthStone Baptist Church in Pensacola, FL. To offer him your feedback, comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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