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Battling Anxiety with Future Grace

Dec 28, 2017

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You probably know the crippling feeling of anxiety. The inability to think about anything other
than what you’re anxious about. The quickened heartbeat. The shaking hands and twitching
muscles. The growing feeling that everything is too overwhelming, and that there is no hope of
feeling “normal.” The tears flowing down your cheeks while you’re crying out to God, begging
him to free you from the bondage of your own mind.

Everyone has heard of anxiety, and most people have struggled with it quite a few times in life. I
have battled with anxiety for over a year now, and let me tell you—it’s rough. Anxiety can be
crippling, and it can leave its victim mentally and physically exhausted.

But I’m here to tell you that anxiety doesn’t have to win. You may be asking, “why is that?” And
my answer to you is very simple: Christ. Because of Christ, we no longer have to be a slave to
fear and anxiety. Because of Christ, we are free from the chains that ensnare us. We are free
from the shackles of sin; and yes, anxiety is a sin! Because of Christ, we can trust in the promises
of our God, knowing he is good and faithful. We can have faith in future grace, an idea that John
Piper uses in his book Battling Unbelief to describe having faith in the power of God’s promises
for our future. In Isaiah 41:10, God says “Be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen
you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Believing in this promise,
we can have faith in future grace. We can lay aside the weight of anxiety and run with
endurance, knowing that Christ is the founder and perfecter of our faith and that he is seated at
the right hand of God. We can look to Christ when we feel burdened by sin, and we can continue
to run because He is our righteousness, and therefore He is our redemption over sin. (Hebrews

When we become a believer, we faithfully accept that we are absolute rags without
Christ—Romans talks a lot about this. But with Christ, we know that God no longer sees our
unrighteousness when he looks at us; instead, he sees Christ’s perfect righteousness. We have
faith that God is good to his people. He loves his Church, and he will carry us (Isaiah 46:4). We
have faith that we are being sanctified, and that one day we will no longer feel the temptations of
this earth. We have faith that Christ’s death and resurrection conquered death, and therefore,
though we will die physically, we will not die spiritually. Instead, we will live eternally with our
loving and gracious Abba Father who knows us far more than we could ever know ourselves,
and who is worthy of all our praise, honor, and glory. It is for Christ that we run this race of
endurance. It is for Christ that we have faith in future grace, believing that we don’t have to let
anxiety rule over us because Christ defeated anxiety when he defeated Satan and the sin he so
viciously throws at us.

Now, you may be thinking that your love for Christ will take away all of your anxiety instantly
and you won’t ever have to deal with it again. And I’m sorry to say this, but that probably isn’t
true. Christ’s defeat of sin does not mean that we won’t ever struggle with sin ever again; rather
it means even though we sin and fall short, Christ does not. Christ was victorious over sin, and
therefore we are victorious over sin. We are able to choose things of Heaven over things of this

In Hebrews 12:2, there is a command to look to Christ. In moments of anxiety, we must remain
fixed on God’s promises, reminding ourselves of the love displayed for us on the cross. By fixing
our eyes on Jesus, we will be strengthened to run the race. By considering his endurance, we will
be able to run without growing weary or fainthearted. By keeping our focus on faith in future
grace, we will be readily available to fight back when Satan tempts us to think anxiously.

Because Christ is worthy of our lives, he is worthy of our minds, too. He is worthy of our daily
thoughts, and we can have joy in the midst of anxiety knowing that one day we will no longer
feel it’s painful grasp. This may happen before our time on this earth is finished, but it may not.
Our freedom from the grips of anxiety may be felt only when we reach Heaven’s gates. We can
have faith in the future grace of God, even if we don’t feel it. So, we continue to run. We
continue to press on and look to Christ. We continue to live our lives radically following him,
even when anxiety tempts us to quit. We rejoice in our sufferings for the sake of Christ. And we
know that eventually, we will see the reward for our endurance—God’s immeasurable glory as
he tells us “well done, good and faithful servant”. (Matthew 25:21)