James Merritt - Calm the Nerves
Now I wanna welcome those of you who are watching online, by television, those in our room today, this is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. Don't know where you are, but where we are, it is a beautiful day. So let's see what kind of a mood you're in. How many of you right now would rather be here than having a root canal? Would you hold your hand up? All right, super good. We're gonna have a great time today.
True story, one night when I was only a child, I was living in a village called Chicopee, if you know where that is, it's not too far from here. My wonderful godly mother woke up, I didn't know this at the time, but she woke up in the middle of the night, sat straight up in bed and began to weep uncontrollably. My dad didn't know what was wrong, he thought she'd had a bad dream. That's not what happened. She said while she was sleeping, this thought came to her mind, "There is no God and you're going to hell". Just out of the blue. "There is no God, you're going to hell".
For the next several months, everywhere my mother went, doubt and despair stalked her at every turn. It was the first time in her life she had ever doubted the existence of God. Like me, she grew up in church, she had a godly mother, a godly dad, God was just always a part of her life and she just assumed that there was a God and He was real. And now for the first time, she thought everything she had believed was not true. And not only was she doubting the existence of God, she was convinced she was gonna die and go to hell and spend eternity away from a God she didn't even know existed.
Well, there was a godly pastor. In fact, he just passed away a couple of months ago, but it was a godly pastor that pulled her through this time. But what began in my mom that night as just a trickle of worry, became a tsunami of what we would call today anxiety. I never knew this, I was in the first grade, she kept it from me. But for months she couldn't sleep, ate very little, she began to lose her hair, she developed a blood pressure problem, she'd walked the floor at night. We didn't know what to call it back in the day, but she'd have what we now call panic attacks. If you've ever had one, you know what I'm talking about. She would have panic attacks.
Now, today we know better. Her month long or months long ordeal would be called today, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, what we call GAD. Now, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, GAD's characteristics include restlessness, fatigue, irritability, difficulty with sleeping, overwhelming and uncontrollable feelings of worry. And this is mind boggling, the National Institute of Mental Health says, 50 million Americans, get that in your mind, 50 million Americans, every single year feel the effects of panic attack, phobias and other anxiety disorders. As a matter of fact, I didn't know this, anxiety disorders in the United States are the number one mental health problem among women, and among men, it's second only to alcoholism and drug addiction.
People are anxious. Anxiety is the most common mental disorder in the United States, and according to the World Health Organization, 264 million people around the world right now are living in a sea of anxiety, restless, can't sleep, absolutely worried out of their minds. And according to a new public opinion poll released by the American Psychiatric Association, 62% of Americans feel more anxious than they did at this time just a year ago. I'll show you how that's gone up. That is double what it was three years ago, double. People are anxious, as a matter of fact, they say the top three calls that they're worried about or they're anxious about today are, keeping themselves and their family safe, 80%, COVID-19, to be expected, 75%, and their health, 73%.
Researchers also speculate, and I'm quoting, "The Western world's environment and social order have changed more in the last 30 years than they have in the previous 300". I absolutely believe that's true. I've talked to pastor friends, I've got one of my best pastor buddies back here today, Andy Charles, great pastor visiting with us today, we've talked about it. I'm telling you in my lifetime, our culture right here in our country has changed more in the last 20 years, than it did in the prior 40 years before that. I've never seen such a radical change. And you'll you think about it, no wonder we're anxious.
Today we've got the internet, we've got smart phones, we got computer screens, we've got televisions. So everywhere you look, what are you hearing about? Global warming, the threat of nuclear war, terrorist attacks, racial tensions and strife, the emergence of new deadly diseases. So maybe now you'll understand why we're in this series that we're calling No Hard Feelings. Because what we now know about each other is this, feelings drive so much of what we do and so much of where we go, and so much of who we are, and the intensity of our feelings have never been stronger, and our emotions have never been higher. So today we're dealing with anxiety.
Now, let me tell you what my definition of anxiety is. This is my definition, anxiety is a lethal combination of worry and fear that dominates your mind, saturates your heart, and devastates your soul. It is anxiety. As a matter of fact, it's that feeling that continues to linger along after the threat of fear has dissipated. And by the way, you say, "Well, ain't that what worry is"? No, no, no, it's a lot different than worry. As a matter of fact, it has far greater intensity than just being worry. See, people tend to use worry and anxiety interchangeably, but they're really different experiences.
According to "Psychology Today," worry tends to be more focused on thoughts in our heads, anxiety is more visceral, we feel it throughout our entire body. So you may think you have a problem with worry, but it may be a problem with anxiety. Here's some differences, worry tends to reside in our minds, but anxiety affects both the body and the mind. Worry is specific, you know what you're worried about. I've got surgery, by the way, up coming, this shoulder surgery comes up in about a week or so. I'm worried about it, I'll be honest with you. I wish it was your shoulder, not mine. I hate to tell you that, but I do.
So it's specific. But anxiety is more generalized. Sometimes it's hard to put your finger on why you're so anxious. Worry is ground in reality, there's something you're really worried about. But anxiety is marked by catastrophic thinking. You get anxious about something that may probably never even happen. Worry is temporary, eventually it goes away. Anxiety is often chronic. Worry does not impair function, you can function, anxiety does.
Now here's the good news, there was a man, flesh and blood just like you and I, ordinary guy, run of the mill guy in a way, but he wrote more books in the New Testament than anybody else. His name was Paul. You talk about anxious, Paul wrote a book, and I invite you to turn to it called Philippians, it's in the New Testament. When Paul wrote this book, he was in a Roman prison, he probably was a hundred percent sure, "I'm never gonna get out of this prison alive". He didn't know what day he would die, he knew he'd never get out, he knew he'd never see family and friends again, this man understood what it was to be anxious. But in this book called Philippians, this is one of my favorite passages in the Bible, he gives a four step process on how to calm our nerves. It is both solid psychological advice, but it is fantastic spiritual advice.
So I want you to look with me in Philippians 4, go look at verses 4-7. I wanna give you today four steps on how to calm your nerves. Here's step one, celebrate the person of the Lord. If you're anxious about anything right now, this would be first thing I would tell you to do, celebrate the person of the Lord. Now, the heart of what Paul says about anxiety is very simple. Now it may sound simplistic, but it really isn't. Paul says, "Are you anxious"? I don't want you to raise your hand, but I'm sure some of you today would say, "Hey, based on what you've said, I'm anxious". Some of you didn't sleep well last night, some of you lost your appetite, some of you, you're irritable with your family and you don't know what's going on, you're anxious, you really are having an anxiety problem.
Well, Paul says, now get ready, don't get mad first, just listen to him, he says, "Okay, here's what I'll tell you to do, don't be anxious about anything". Doesn't that just kind of, it does kind of tick you off, doesn't it? I mean, you go to see this great man of God, "Paul, I hear so much about you, you're filled with the Spirit, you've got the wisdom of God, I am so anxious, tell me what to do"! And he says, "Don't be anxious". "I just paid you $150 to tell me not to be anxious, are you kidding me"? Do not be anxious about anything. And then you'd say, "Well, that's easy to say, that's hard to do". It is. Because anyone that's dealing with anxiety knows you can't just turn it on and turn it off. Because if you could, you'd just turn it off, it's not like water coming out of a spigot and you just kind of turn it off.
On the other hand, Paul confidently asserts that when anxiety attacks you, you attack anxiety. "So, okay, how do I do that"? He said, here's what you do, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again, rejoice". Rejoice in the Lord. Two words I want you to focus on, okay? Focus on the word "Always" and focus on the word "Again". "Rejoice in the Lord always, rejoice in the Lord, I'll say it again". Paul repeats himself because he's emphasizing a point. He says, "Look, this is not something you do occasionally, this is not something that you do when you feel like it, this is not something you do when you're in the mood, this is not something to do just when things are going good". He said, "You've got to make this a habit. You've got to literally build joy into the muscle memory of your heart, and your mind, and your soul".
So here's what we do, too many of us wait until the anxiety alarm bell goes off, and then we try to focus on the Lord, His goodness and His grace and His greatness. But you know what happens? If you wait to do that, by that time, the flood of anxiety is so great in your life, it just snuffs out a little matchstick of joy that you're trying to light. I'm going to, it's my pre-op tomorrow, and I was talking to the doctor's assistant about this upcoming surgery.
And one of the things they've hammered home to me, if you've ever had surgery, you know this, they said, "Now look, we're gonna be prescribing pain medication for you". I said, "Okay". "They're opioids, you gotta be careful with it". But they said, "The first three days after your surgery, you take that medicine even if you feel good". Then here's what they said, "You've got to stay ahead of the pain. If the pain ever catches up with you, the opioids won't do you any good". So I'm gonna be a dope doped up for a while for about three days, okay? I'm gonna do what they told me to do. But this is what we do, we wait until the anxiety catches up, then we try to rejoice in the Lord, too late, can't do it.
So you rejoice in the Lord when things are good, you rejoice in the Lord when you feel like it, you rejoice in the Lord when you're happy. Because here's what happens, when you rejoice in the Lord even though you didn't even feel the need to, "Life's good, everything's going great, got a gob job, making money, my health is wonderful, kids are obeying me, wife is happy, happy wife, happy life". Paul says, "Okay, you rejoice in the Lord". Because if you make it a habit, then when the clouds are thundering, and the lightning is flashing, and the wind is blowing, and the rain is pouring, you will still be rejoicing in the Lord.
Let me tell you why this is such great advice, because Paul got it. Paul knows where some of you are, Paul would say, "Look, I understand, it's hard to rejoice". 'Cause some of you are sitting there going, "You preachers kill me. Yeah, rejoice in the Lord. You don't even know what I'm going through. My pressures are great, my problems are big, and people are mean". And it's his hard to rejoice, I get it, when the walls are closing in, and the roof is falling down, and the foundation is coming apart. Well listen to what Paul did not say, listen now, he did not say, "Rejoice in your circumstances".
See, that's what we tend to do. For example, let me give you an illustration, if you derive your joy from the stock market, your joy might crash. If you derive your joy from your marriage, your joy may divorce you or die, if you derive your joy from your business, your joy may declare bankruptcy, if you derive your joy from your children, your joy may move away or even turn away, if you derive your joy from your dream house, your dream house made burn down or foreclose, if you derive your joy from Auburn, or Tennessee, or Florida, it may be eaten by a dog. Amen. God's good all the time. But listen, if that makes you mad, I don't care.
Listen, but when you derive your joy from the Lord, that joy will never forsake you, that joy will never fail you. You say, "Man, but I'm under great pressure". The Lord's greater than your pressure. "Yep, but pastor, I've got big problems". The Lord is bigger than your problems. "I'm dealing with mean people". The Lord is better than your people. And I'm telling you, I've learned, you're not gonna find a lot of joy in your possessions, or your popularity, or your prosperity, or your position. But Paul says, "You can always rejoice in the greatness of God and the grace of God, and the goodness of God".
Dr. Earl Henslin wrote a book called "This Is Your Brain on Joy". He said something so fascinating. He said joy and anxiety both travel the same pathway in your brain. He said it's normal for both of them to try to occupy the same path at the same time, so we have to choose, and we get to choose who gets the right of way. He said, so if you say to your brain, "You can only open the gate for joy," he says anxiety has to get off the road. So Paul knew what he was talking about. He said, "Look, there's no room for both joy and anxiety to reign in your heart at the same time". So he said, "Step number one, you celebrate the person of the Lord. Rejoice in the Lord always," step one. Step two, "Appreciate the presence of the Lord". Celebrate the person of the Lord, rejoice in the Lord always, then he says, "Appreciate the presence of the Lord".
Now let's back up a step. He says this in verse five. He says, "Let your gentleness be evident to all". That's an important statement, we'll come back to it in a minute. "Let your gentleness be evident to all". Why? Because the Lord is near. Now, let's just break that down. I'm gonna teach you something today about the problems and the pressures and the people you got. 'Cause sometimes you wonder, "Why does God let these things come into my life? Why can't it just be smooth all the time"? God knows what He's doing, God has a purpose. So he says, "Let your gentleness be evident to all". Now, what does the word gentleness means? Gentleness is an attitude that's calm under fire, it's level-headed, it doesn't overreact.
When you're the gentle person you ought to be, you always choose faith over fear, you always choose trust over trembling, you always choose worship over worry. And here's what he says, "Let it be evident to everybody". Well, what did he mean by that? Listen, carefully, gentleness is the ability to keep your head about you, when everybody else is losing their head, you're gentle. And see, when things come into your life that makes you anxious, you don't even realize what God is doing. You know what God's doing? God is giving you, and God is giving me, a golden opportunity to show other people when these pressures and these problems, and these people are all caving in on you, He says, "Hey, this is a golden opportunity for you to show unbelievers this is how a believer lives when he's under pressure, this is how a believer reacts when he's got problems, this is how a believer handles difficult people".
It's that ability to show your family members and your friends, and your neighbors, and your coworkers, this is how somebody acts that really believes God is in charge, God is in control, God has got this, God can handle this. This is the way you do it when you really believe that. And see, when everybody else runs out, we remain contagiously calm. How do you do that though? Because we know God is right there beside us. That's why he says, "Be gentle, let your gentleness be evident to all". When those things come into your life that drive other people nuts, that make them curse, that make them leave their wife, that make them throw in the towel, that make them commit suicide, that make them give up on everything else, you've got a golden chance to say, "That's not the way I'm gonna handle it, because I've got a God that never leaves me, I've got a God that never forsakes me". He says, "The Lord is near".
Now, there are some scholars that believe that refers to the second coming of Jesus. And it could refer to that, that's one meaning, but I believe it also refers to the nearness of God in our lives. And I think what Paul is simply saying is this, "There's no need to fear when Jesus is near. There's no need to fear when Jesus is near". So here's what we do, and I do it like you do, too often we focus on the problems, and the pressures, and the people causing our anxiety, and we totally forget about God. What Paul is saying is instead, we ought to focus on God and let Him handle the problem, let Him handle the pressure, let Him handle the people that's causing our anxiety. Because whatever is causing your anxiety, let me tell you this, God never meant it to drive you into emotional despair and emotional despondency.
Every time you've got these situations that come that make you wanna walk the floor, gives you ulcers, keeps you awake at night, you know what God's trying to do, He's trying to use that situation to literally drive you into His hands, to drive you into His house, to drive you into His heart so you can hear Him say one more time, "I've got this. I knew this was going to happen to you before you came into this world, I've already made all the preparation that you need". And there are four words you ought to learn. Every time you're tempted to pace the floor, every time your stomach's in a knot, every time that ulcer's growing, when the ghost of anxiety is haunting every part of your house, there are four words you ought to keep saying over and over and over, "The Lord is near. The Lord is near. The Lord is near".
Listen, it ought to bring tremendous comfort to you to know you can never get away from God and God will never get away from you, ever. So, no matter what foe you face, you're not fighting alone, no matter how hot the fire you're in, no matter how deep the pit you're in, the Lord is with you, you cannot escape His presence. So he said, "You celebrate the person of the Lord, then you appreciate the presence of the Lord". It's just better. He said, "Step three, you liberate the power of the Lord. Liberate the power of the Lord". Now, let's get to the heart of the matter. These first two steps, we're gonna call that, that's the pre-op, we haven't got to the surgery yet, that's pre-op. Now, we're going to get to the surgery, now you're ready to hear these words that Paul said, "Do not be anxious about anything".
Now it's beginning to make more sense. By the way, that word anxious literally means to be pulled apart or to divide. If you think about it, that's exactly what happens psychologically, it's what happens emotionally, it's what happens spiritually when you are anxious, you feel like your life is being pulled apart, you trying to get a handle on the problem but you can't seem to do it, and then instead of being hopeful, you're fearful, instead of being dynamic, you're depressed. Because see, I taught you about worry, the plant of anxiety comes from the seed of worry. They're not the same, but they're related. It is the seed that gives the fruit of the plant.
Anxiety is the monster that worry creates. But there's a prescription for this poisonous seed of worry, there is a prescription, and believe it or not, I found the best one from a French soldier who wrote it down just before he was carried into battle in World War I. He said, "Of two things, one is certain, either you're at the front of the lines, or you're behind the lines". Okay. He said, "If you're at the front, one of two things is certain, either you're exposed to danger, or you're in a safe place". Okay. "If you're exposed to danger, one of two things is certain, you're wounded or you're not wounded". Okay. He says, "If you're wounded, one of two things is certain, you're either gonna recover or you're gonna die". He said, "If you recover, there's no need to worry, and if you die, you can't worry". He had it down, he understood it.
See, overcoming anxiety is more than just the effort. "I'll just quit worrying about that". Well, if that's all you needed to do, everybody would get over it. It's different from that, you wouldn't even suffer from it. He said "The key with anxiety is, you've got to proactively deal with it, you've got to know where to take your anxiety, what do you do with it"? Well, here's his advice, this is the advice. "But in every situation," can y'all say that word with me real loud? "Every". In every situation, big, small, in-between, doesn't matter. He says "In every situation by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your request to God".
So here's Paul's simple piece of psychological advice that I think is 24 carat gold, be anxious about nothing, pray about everything. Be anxious about nothing, pray about everything. But you know what we tend to do? You know what I tend to do? I get anxious about everything and pray about nothing. When that happens to me, I do what you do, I walk the floor, I don't sleep well at night, my blood pressure goes up, we get anxious about everything. And by the way, those are the only two alternatives you're gonna have with anxiety. There's no third option. You will either be anxious about it, or you'll pray about it.
But let me tell you what happens when you pray. You ready? When you pray, you just literally liberate the power of God. 'Cause here's what God does, God's up there. He's watching you, He's waiting, He's looking, He's got the 30,000 foot view, He sees more than you see, He knows more than you know, He's watching you walk the floor, and He's just waiting, He's not gonna force His way in, He's not gonna push you around, He's not gonna shove His way into your life, but the moment you look up to Him and you say, "Oh God, I cannot handle this, but I know you can," you just ignited the engine that allows the rocket of God's power to blast off into your anxiety.
Now, if you don't mind, permit me, I'm not being funny, but let me just kind of use a little illustration of my favorite football team, which you know what it is, Georgia Bulldogs. Let me just use an illustration. By common consensus, to this day, the greatest college running back of all time was who? Herschel Walker. Everybody says he was the greatest college running back of all time. Herschel Walker was six feet one, he weighed 225 pounds, he ran a 4.3 40, he could leap defensive lines at a single bound. I mean, the guy was just absolutely incredible. And I want you to imagine something, so you've got one play left, you're gunning for the National Championship, it's 4th and goal, you're on the one yard line.
Can you imagine leaving Herschel on the bench and running a pass play to a brick-handed wide receiver who can't catch a cold. You say, "Of course not". No, what would you do? Somebody say, "What would you do"? You'd give the ball to Herschel. That's not hard. Give the ball to Herschel. Here's what we do, when we get filled with anxiety, you know what we do? We keep wide Herschel on the bench, we find this brick handed wide receiver who couldn't catch a cold, and we throw it to him. But what happens is, when you pray, you know what you just did? You just took your best player, not Herschel, God. You just took your best player and you put him into the game.
And by the way, He scores every single time. Because here's the bad news, when you try to handle your anxiety, you know what's gonna happen? You're just gonna deepen your anxiety, it's just going to get worse. So, when the avalanche of anxiety is coming down that mountain right on you, when that tornado of trouble is tearing your soul apart, when the hurricane of heartache is pounding at the door of your heart, if you'll just stop, here's what you're gonna hear, "Would you just give this to me? I've already made preparations. I've already got a plan. You just leave it to me. I've got it, and I'll take it".
See, He can handle it, you can't. He never said you could, He always said He would. And oh, by the way, then Paul kind of really hammered it. He said, "Oh, by the way, and when you do it, do it with thanksgiving". You say, "What"? "Yeah, I want you to do it with thanksgiving". How do you do that? "Well, Lord I'm so thankful that no matter how great the pressure, how difficult the people, how hard the problem, you can handle it". Because let me tell you about the God that I know, let me tell you about the God that I serve, let me tell you about the God that changed my life as a nine year old boy, this God loves you enough to take whatever's causing you anxiety, He is powerful enough to handle whatever's causing your anxiety, and He's wise enough to grow you through that anxiety. So what do you do?
"Man, I'm anxious, I'm driving myself nuts. I'm having a nervous breakdown". Celebrate the person of the Lord, appreciate the presence of the Lord, liberate the power of the Lord. And if you do that, Paul said this is what happens. You ready? Then you can meditate on the peace of the Lord. Now listen to what he says. Paul says, "When you follow these three steps, here's what you can count on always happening, watch". What will happen if you do that, where will my anxiety go? Here's what will happen, "And the peace of God," don't you wanna live in peace? "And the peace of God which transcends all understanding".
It will be so powerful, you know what that means? You're gonna go, "How in the world am I having such peace when I'm facing this problem? Doctor says I've got stage four cancer. I just got a pink slip, I'm gonna lose my job. My wife just walked out on me. How in the world can I have peace? I don't understand. And yet I do, I do. 'Cause I've taken these other steps". So here's what Paul says, "It will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus". You know a lot of peace treaties have been signed in history and they've been broken. Peace didn't last. But here's what God says, "My peace will last".
And remember that the peace of God is the peace that can only come from God. It's not the kind of peace that you will find in money, or drugs, or pills, or alcohol, or sex, or fame, or fortune. Because that peace never lasts. Paul says, "This is a peace that can't be bought, it can't be borrowed, it cannot be stolen, it's not found in a pill, it's found in a person, it's not found in a drug or a drink, it is found in a deity". I did a little study about peace, and the Bible is fascinating. Did you know in the New Testament there are 27 books, 18 of those books began with a greeting of peace, 18 of 'em. And this peace is not from the authors of the book, the peace is from the God who inspired them to write the books.
And here's something else you'll notice, whenever you find this little peace greeting in the New Testament 18 times, it always says this, "Grace and peace to you". It's never peace by itself, it's never peace at first, it's always this, "Grace and peace to you". Why is that? Because you will never know the peace of God until you experience the grace of God. But when you experience the grace of God, you will know the peace of God. That word peace occurs nearly 400 times in the Bible. You know what I believe, this is God's book of peace. You wanna find peace? It's right here in this book. This book is inspired by the God of peace. When you read the truth of this book and come to know the God who inspired it, you will not only have peace, you'll have a peace that transcends all understanding. It will stay and guard over your heart, soul and mind, 24 hours a day for as long as you live. And so, again, the steps is just so simple, they're so powerful.
Let me see if I can put it this way, I want you to imagine I've got three boxes up here. I've got three boxes. This box is anxiety, this box is prayer, and this box is thanksgiving. We've got three imaginary boxes up here. Here's what Paul says see if you've been listening, what do you put in the anxiety box? What do you put in the anxiety box? Nothing. What did he say, be anxious for what? Nothing. So what do you put in that box? Nothing goes in that box. What do you put in the prayer box? Everything. What do you put in the thanksgiving box? Anything. Nothing goes into anxiety box, everything goes in the prayer box, and anything goes in the thanksgiving box.
And what Paul says is, when you put what needs to go in the box where it needs to go, anxiety will go out the door, peace will come in the door because God has everything under control. So I wanna remind you, this real lasting peace some of you have been looking for, have been looking for in all the wrong places, it comes from the Lord. A great philosopher once said this, "God designed the human machine to run on himself. He, himself is the fuel our spirits were designed to burn, or the food our spirits were designed to feed on. God cannot give us a peace apart from himself because it is not there. There is no such thing".
Now I wanna show you why I love the Bible and I'm gonna wrap up with this. I wanna show you why this is one of my favorite passage of Scripture. I've given you four things you need to do. You ready? Watch this. First thing you do, you celebrate the person of the Lord, everybody got that? Second thing you do, you appreciate the presence of the Lord. You got that? You liberate the power of the Lord, got that? You meditate on the peace of the Lord. And what does that spell? CALM. You will calm your nerves. God did not put you here to walk floors, to get ulcers, to have your stomach tied up in a knot, and to worry yourself to death. God put you here, the same God that sent his Son, Jesus that took care of your sin problem, is the same God that can take care of your soul problem if you'll follow the steps that He's given. Because, by the way, they work every time.
Let's pray together. With heads bowed, with eyes closed, I wanna say one word about anxiety, and it may upset some of you when I say it, but I mean it, if you do not know Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior, you ought to be anxious, you ought to be, I don't even know how you sleep at night. If I honestly had no clue that if I were to die today, what would happen to me, I'd be the most anxious person on this planet. Even more, if I knew if I were to die today that I would not spend eternity with God, you couldn't even measure anxiety on the Richter Scale in my life.
So I just wanna tell you, if you don't know Jesus, you better be anxious. Because if you're not anxious without knowing Jesus, you're in bigger trouble than you realize you are. Because we're all sinners separated from God, and there's nothing you can do to take care of your sin problem. But God loved you so much, He did for you what you couldn't do for yourself, He sent Jesus to die for your sins, and He cashed the check by raising Him from the dead. And He did all of that, so the one thing above all we never have to be anxious about ever again, is our sin, our death, and the destiny we'll face after we're gone, all taken care of. So today, if you've never trusted in that Jesus as your Lord and as your savior, would you do that right now? Would you be willing just to say what I said when I was nine years old that radically changed my life? Would you just say it with me right now? Would you just pray it with me right now?
Lord Jesus, I have been anxious, now I realize that I should be 'cause I've never come to a point in my life where I knew for sure that I have eternal life, where I knew for sure I've been forgiven. But Lord Jesus, today, I confess that you are my Lord. I believe you died on the cross for my sins, I believe God raised you from the dead, and I believe you're alive right now. So Lord Jesus come into my heart, save me, forgive me of all of my sins. I repent, I turn away from my sinful life. I surrender all that I am to all that you are, and I receive your gift of eternal life. He said pray with thanksgiving, so would you just right now just say, Lord Jesus, thank you for saving me today.