Faith - December 7, 2017

Sermon: “Peace-Overcoming Anxiety” By Tim Keller

I’ve been promising you more podcast recommendations, and I feel like this one by Tim Keller is so worth sharing with you. It’s more than a couple of years old, but this is one of those sermons that I need to hit “refresh” on over and over again.


What I learned + Takeaways

Here’s the run-down on this sermon: It’s all about understanding and overcoming anxiety and worry in our lives. This is a really important topic for me because I’m for sure a worrier! I love this sermon because it explains the issues in depth, but is also super practical.

The Bible tells us not to worry, and we tell ourselves not to worry—yet many of us still feel tons of anxiety. Why is like this? Keller lays it all out very nicely by defining some key terms to help us put the pieces together. (Like what exactly is anxiety? What’s the opposite of worry? What’s the difference between joy and happiness? Take notes, my friends). The best part is that he talks about how to actually deal with this seemingly never-ending issue.

1. “Expectations are everything” C.S. Lewis

In the first part of the podcast, Keller explains a concept that I think a lot of us need to understand: that expectations are everything. Many of us don’t expect that being a Christian should be so hard. He suggests that we get sad and upset because we are sad and upset.

The more I think about this, the more it makes sense to me. My expectations for myself to be optimistic and happy all the time backfire when I’m having human moments—bad days and disappointments. Sometimes the fact that I’m bummed out… just bums me out. It’s normal and okay not to be happy all the time. I’ve never thought of expectation management like this before.

2. What’s The real difference between joy and happiness?

I’ve been taught the difference between joy and happiness before, but not like this. The way Keller explains the difference really clicked with me.

He says that joy is a “deep kind of rejoicing” and assurance. The feeling that I’ve got the only thing that “really matters”. Happiness is comfort and having the things I want. It’s a good thing, but can easily be twisted when I try to find joy in the blessings instead of the Blesser.

These definitions reminded me that joy isn’t about being comfortable and getting what I want. It also made me realize that maybe the reason I often miss out on joy is that I seek happiness a little too much. I have to constantly remind myself that each blessing in my life should make me look to God and not the blessing itself. When I’m able to link the blessings to Him, I find real JOY. So good.

3. What Really Is Anxiety?

Anxiety is just the opposite of peace. Peace is “confidence and trust in God’s wise and good control over your life”. So this means that my anxiety is really a lack of confidence in God. I’ve never thought of my worrying habit this way— that when I do it, I’m pretty much telling God I’m not confident in His plan and control over my life.

This was the real ah-ha moment for me: understanding the cocktail for what makes us feel hopeless and full of anxiousness: 1. the mindset that only what’s here and now matters 2. the desire for control in our lives, and 3. the voice of condemnation from the Devil.

We really are being attacked from all sides. We’re left with stolen peace and anxiety instead. While this honestly terrifies me, it also makes me feel really empowered. I know what the enemy is doing, and I know I don’t have to give in when it comes to the issue of anxiety.

What About You?

At the end of the podcast, Keller gives a list of things we can do to keep our peace and fend off anxiety. He says, “For every look at your sin, take five looks at your savior.”

I love this.

What were your big takeaways from this podcast?