If you’ve clicked over to this article, then chances are high that you struggle with anxiety. The fact that you’re curious about Bible verses about anxiety is a great sign – it means you believe in the power of the Word of God to change lives.
So, what does the Bible say about anxiety? We’ll look at that in just a moment, but first let’s make sure we’re on the same page about the condition itself.
What is Anxiety?
Dictionary.com defines anxiety as “distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune.” It is normal for everyone to experience anxiety at times, but for some people, anxiety is much more than an occasional irritation. For them, anxiety becomes a major characteristic of their life.
Anxiety can produce a host of unwanted physical and emotional effects including, but not limited to:
- Excessive worry
- Trouble sleeping
- Trouble concentrating
- Muscle tension
- Panic attacks
- Onset of phobias
However, God does not leave us in the dark. He speaks about anxiety in the Bible to show us how we can overcome this common struggle.
What Does the Bible Say about Anxiety?
Here are four Bible verses about anxiety that teach us about the effects of anxiety and how we should respond to it.
Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad. – Proverbs 12:25
This verse recognizes that anxiety can be a significant negative force in a person’s life. It teaches us that anxiety weighs down the heart—that is, it makes a person feel down and depressed. How often do we feel the weight of anxiety in our hearts and believe that our situation is hopeless or that there is no happiness left in the world?
Most people can think back to a time when they were worried about something and felt the crushing weight of despair. Then, someone came with a word of encouragement or good news that impacted the situation, and immediately their heart felt lighter and more confident in the future.
This Scripture for anxiety teaches us that good news can dispel worry and make a person glad, and that even the smallest word of encouragement can help dissipate anxiety.
Therefore do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. – Matthew 6:25
It should come as no surprise to anyone that anxiety can stem from fears about even the most basic needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter. Questions such as “Where is my next meal coming from?” “What am I going to wear?” “How am I going to avoid foreclosure?” “How is my car going to get fixed?” etc. can all contribute to an overwhelming load of anxiety.
In this passage, however, Jesus tells us not to be anxious about such things. Rather, we are to pursue His Kingdom and God will supply what we need from the abundance of His riches in Christ.
Placing our focus on Christ’s kingdom helps us to take our eyes off our own troubles and circumstances, which are often the source of our anxieties. This does not mean that we should ignore our troubles as if they didn’t exist, but it does mean that placing our hope and trust in Christ can help keep us from worrying about them.
…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. – Philippians 4:6
In this Scripture for anxiety, God tells us not to be anxious about anything. Instead, we are to talk to God about our requests. Whether these are requests for deliverance from present negative circumstances or requests for something we lack, we are to take it to God, showing thankfulness for what He has already done for us.
When Philippians 4:6 tells us to make our requests known to God, we should never think of this as somehow providing God with information that He lacked. God is all-knowing, so whenever we let God know our requests, we can be confident that He already knows what we need before we ask Him.
This verse assumes, and the rest of the Bible’s teaching confirms, that God answers prayer. In fact, God loves to answer the prayers of His people. This is why we’re commanded to avoid anxiety by talking to God (from a posture of thanksgiving) about all of our requests.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:6-7
Anxiety is often the result of some kind of trouble that God has brought into our lives to teach us to depend on Him. The verse quoted above from 1 Peter 5:7 says to “cast your cares on the Lord.” However, we are to do so from a posture of humility that recognizes that God is both sovereign and good.
Anxiety is only the incidental point of this passage. Our posture with regard to God is the issue at stake. We are to humble ourselves in the first place because God is mighty. This means more than just that God is stronger than us. It means that God is all-powerful, and we are not.
Who would want to worship and serve a God who was not all-powerful? Could such a God save us from sin? Would there be any guarantee that such a God could even save us from our troubles? Such a being would not be worthy of our reverence and worship and could not be relied upon even to hear our prayers, much less answer them.
In the second place, we are to humble ourselves and cast our anxiety on Him because He cares for us. It would not be enough for God to be all-powerful if He were not also all loving. A god who was all-powerful but not loving would be a cold, merciless god who was not worthy of our worship.
The God of the Bible, however, is loving and so always does what is best for us. This does not mean that it is always pleasant or that we will always like what God sends our way. In fact, some events and situations that God allows into our life are downright painful.
However, we are not to turn our backs on God, as if God somehow owes us an easy, trouble-free life. Nor are we to be angry with God, as if we creatures, who fall infinitely short of God’s holiness, could possibly ever have that right.
Instead, we are to quietly humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand, casting our cares on Him. When His purpose is accomplished, He will lift us out of our troubles. In the meantime, we are to trust Him in humble acceptance of His will, knowing that He cares for us and hears our prayers.
Most people face anxiety of some kind in their life, and sometimes merely meditating on Bible verses about anxiety is enough to get someone through it. At other times, in more extreme cases of anxiety, counseling with a pastor or other Christian worker may be necessary.
A Christian counselor can help walk you through various methods of overcoming anxiety and embracing the twin truths of God’s sovereignty and goodness. God does not want His children living in a state of anxiety and fearfulness. The Bible provides a proper perspective so that you can find healing! Browse our counselor directory today to find a professional who can help you overcome anxiety in your life.