South African crusade evangelist and founder of In His Name Ministries Tamryn Klintworth shares with Charisma Magazine on keys to overcoming anxiety that she and her team have put into practice during Gospel crusades in Africa
Anxiety should be the name of the crusade evangelism game. After all, crusade evangelists hold large, public, open-air, audaciously Christian events in locations that are typically not enthusiastic about the “you must be born again” message.
We also often arrange these gatherings in regions that are experiencing severe unrest and discord. Why? We are called to go where the Prince of Peace is most needed.
My team and I can tell many hair-raising stories. Yes, we have driven through the night to evade rioters. Yes, we have been blockaded in our hotel by armed forces. Yes, we have held meetings in areas infamous for all kinds of horrors, from murder and gangsterism to witchcraft and child sacrifice. Yes, we have crusaded in the midst of states of emergency and held meetings while civil wars raged a few hundred miles away.
Yet anxiety has never found a foothold in us. I have no doubt that my fellow evangelists and their teams would agree wholeheartedly with what I am saying. The crusade environment is unpredictable, the risks incalculable. Anxiety should be the name of the crusade evangelism game, but it is not. Why? There is a simple reason. We have all learned by necessity to fight anxiety in a biblically sound, Spirit-saturated way!
Below you will find a little worry-defeating procedure that has been proven on the mission field by yours truly and has not been found wanting. We all have our own methods. This is mine. I pray that what aids me as a crusade evangelist will aid you in whatever field of responsibility to which the Lord has appointed you. The way that I combat anxiety is based on a well-known passage from the book of Philippians. Let us read it together and thereafter, I will touch briefly on the steps involved. When these steps are applied together, there is no external storm that can provoke internal chaos!
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with gratitude, make your requests known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will protect your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think on these things. Do those things which you have both learned and received, and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you” (Phil. 4:6-9).
Step 1: Pray about it. Whatever may be concerning the believer, they are to lift the matter before the Lord in prayer. Paul makes this very clear. In short, if the believer is not praying about it, they cannot expect to feel at peace about it. Prayer and peace go hand-in-hand. Those words in our key passage, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything,” are significant. Nothing and everything are antonyms or opposites. The reason why we worry about nothing is because we pray about everything. Our worry-box is empty because our prayer-box is full.
Step 2: Be thankful. Thanking God for answering our petitions—in anticipation of Him doing so—declares to Him and reminds us that He fulfils His promises of being deliverer, healer, provider, way-maker and miracle-worker. It gives Him the faith He needs with which to work in our situations. Thanksgiving is a faith-generator and a worry-thwarter! It thwarts worry because we know that we are giving God our faith, and it is impossible for Him to ignore our faith. Rather, He must respond to it.
Step 3: Think Godly thoughts. In the eighth verse of our key text, Paul urges his readers to intentionally, actively and constantly fill their minds with godly, faith-filled thoughts. We are to dwell on what is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, reputable, virtuous and praiseworthy. In principle, if believers are so busy dwelling on God and His promises toward them, and also filling their mental real estate with subject matter that would please Him, their minds will never wander into the woeful woods of worry!
Step 4: Do what God instructs. In the ninth verse, the reader is encouraged not only to think God-pleasing thoughts but to do God-pleasing deeds. This fights anxiety in multiple ways. First, acting in an ungodly manner is unnatural for the believer. We are behaving contrary to our new nature, and this is grating. Second, sin comes with wagonloads of worry. If we avoid the sin, we avoid the worry. Third, an upright believer can stand on the promises of God with all confidence, knowing that they are meeting any attached conditions and can wholeheartedly expect the Lord to fulfill His promises.
And so, dear reader, let me summarise our worry-defeating procedure. We are to present our worries to the Lord in prayer. We are to thank Him in advance for granting our petitions. We are to set our minds on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, reputable, virtuous and praiseworthy. We are to behave in a manner that pleases the Lord. The result? The peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard our hearts and minds. How glorious!
I have expanded further on these steps in an e-booklet called, Be Anxious for Nothing, that you can download for free from my blog, tamrynklintworth.com. Be blessed!