So Jesus said to the Jews who believed in him, “If you continue to obey my teaching, you are truly my followers. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
If you could be set free from anything in your life, what would it be?
I sat in a room with 10 high school students this week, listening to them answer this very question and the overwhelmingly prevalent response surprised me. It wasn’t peer pressure, insecurity or even school … it was anxiety. Thoughts like these plagued them:
What if I fail at what I’m doing?
What will everyone at school think of me if they know about my learning disability?
What if this injury never heals? What if I can never play sport again?
What if I disappoint my parents? What if I can’t make it as a Christian?
In John 8 Jesus teaches that the truth will make us free – free from guilt, sin, anxiety, and fear. This is what it means to have a “quiet time” – to read the Bible and pray before the day starts so God can quiet fear, stress, and insecurity and fill you with strength and courage (Psalm 138:3).
John 8 teaches us two ways to do that:
1- Obeying Jesus’ teachings
That means doing what the Bible says instead of whatever you feel.
For example, when I feel stressed my first response is often to indulge my fears and replay the worst case scenario over and over again in my head … Needless to say, not so helpful.
What God says is different – cast all your worries on God (1 Peter 5:7) and tell him what you need and he’ll come through for you (Philippians 4:6). Life gets stressful – this is why it helps me to read my Bible in the morning before I start my day and decide on one scripture to obey when anxiety hits.
2- Knowing the truth
The truth about God (how he’ll help me, how much he cares, how he listens to me when I pray) and also knowing the truth about myself.
I usually get anxious because I’m not admitting some truth in my life – like, I feel guilty because I avoided something and now I’m anxious because I have to deal with it. Or, I’m anxious because I’m competitive with other people, or consumed with pleasing people around me, and I’m worried I won’t (Proverbs 29:25).
Admitting the truth to God frees me up from those worries so I can focus on what I really need to do.
What do you get the most anxious and stressed about?
How honest are you with God about these things?
How often do you read the Bible in the morning and pick a scripture to obey when you get anxious?
Decide to sign up for BACC Teen Camp 2013 to find more ways to be brave and set free from fear!