Freedom from Performance and Anxiety: A Disciple-Maker’s Journey

Philippians 4:6-7 says “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” While this biblical command sounds so simple, which of us has easily been able to obey? To be free from anxiety is a freedom few of us experience, and many have given up on it altogether. Yet, biblically, it’s more than a suggestion- it’s a command. One of our disciple-makers has personally walked this path and experienced the life-changing freedom of letting Christ’s peace rule in his heart and mind.

Finding Peace through Prayer

The key is there, in the very verse that commands peace: prayer and gratitude. As our disciple-maker shares “One of the reasons worry and anxiety controls our life is because we don’t pray about it. We carry it and the burden of it, but God never intended you to carry that burden. Jesus said: “Come unto me all who are weary and carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). In other words, let me carry it! How do you begin? Begin with Thanksgiving.” 

Philippians 4:6-7 emphasizes the importance of gratitude, urging us to enter into prayer with thanksgiving and praise, and it’s not the only place that does so. Philippians 1:3 and Psalm 100:4 underscore this simple tool to live free from anxiety, setting the stage for a profound shift from anxiety to communion with God. Even secular psychologists recognize that gratitude shifts the posture of the human heart, leading to a trend of gratitude journals and meditation. How much more powerful for Christians who can thank the very God who gave every good and perfect gift, resetting the heart and mind on thanksgiving before bringing our anxious requests? 

Beneath the Surface of Anxiety

Our disciple-maker candidly shared his personal struggle with anxiety rooted in the pressure to perform. From early academic pursuits to family life and professional endeavors, the weight of expectations created a persistent undercurrent of worry. Surely he’s not alone. Many of us grapple with the burden of performance in various aspects of life, getting lost in the desperation to improve, measure up, and impress.

God’s Perspective on Numbers

Our disciple-maker reached a crucial revelation that can change the game for all of us: God is interested in numbers and output, but not for the sake of performance. The biblical narrative shows us time and time again that numbers symbolize people, freedom, and transformation. It emphasizes that while God desires to produce numbers, the focus should always remain on the divine force behind those numbers – a compassionate God. When we lose sight of who He is and what He is doing, we are doomed to anxiety induced toil. 

A Prayer for Performance

Drawing inspiration from Philippians 1:6, our disciple-maker shares a powerful prayer strategy. He asks God to do the very thing he is worried about, understanding that God initiates, performs, and completes the work. It’s a dynamic collaboration where our role is to surrender our will and actively participate in what God desires to perform.

Referencing Philippians 2:13, the discourse sheds light on our responsibility in God’s grand performance. Surrendering our will and aligning our actions with God’s plan becomes paramount. Jeremiah 1:9-12  reinforces this idea, emphasizing that God watches over His word to perform it, and our actions play a pivotal role.

From Worries to Actions

Our disciple-maker has been putting these strategies into place for a year now, and the results are extraordinary. In his own words “When I first started the church in 2010, there were times I wasn’t sure we would be able to make the lease payment, but God always performed what we needed. Then in 2015, I was worried about raising the money to buy our building ($150,000 in 3 months and with 1 month to go we needed $50,000). God performed what only He could do, but there were action steps He gave us to do (We paused and prayed Monday-Friday at Noon on Zoom till 12:30, talking to people, and each giving all we could give).   

I worried about seeing the church grow after Covid, but God turned my worries into prayer and then into action: This year I focused on loving one person at a time and making disciples one person at a time and this year here’s what God has performed: 

  • 20 people have been discipled 
  • Every one of them is having spiritual conversations and discipling others 
  • 16 groups have been started ranging from 2-3 people meeting to 20 people. 
  • 10 people have been baptized 
  • 45 people in other parts of the world were trained in how to have spiritual conversations with others and began bible study groups with them, leading to 21 new groups.

But here’s what’s most important: People’s lives have been transformed and healed and will never be the same, and now they have a mission to go and do the same.”

A Year of Transformation

Our disciple-maker’s experience is a testament to the transformative power of aligning personal actions with divine performance. From discipleship to baptisms and global outreach, lives were touched, transformed, and set on mission.

Take Action Today

We can and must apply these same principles to our own lives. To sum it all up in our disciple-maker’s words “What’s a pressure, a worry, an anxiety God is calling you to pray about? Pause and pray right now: Thank God first, praise Him…Then give it to God and ask Him to perform it! What’s an action you will take this week? What’s something God wants you to do that He wants to perform?”

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We believe the Scriptures, both the Old and New Testaments, are inspired by God and are the revelation of God to man, the infallible, authoritative rule of faith and conduct. (2 Timothy 3:15-17, 1 Peter 1:21)

We believe that there is one God, eternally existent who has revealed Himself as embodying the principles of relationship and association as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Deuteronomy 6:4, Luke 3:22)

We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father where He intercedes for us, in His present rule as Head of the Church, and in His personal return in power and glory. (Matthew 1:23, Luke 1:31)

We believe in the creation of mankind in God’s image, and the fall of man, resulting in universal guilt and total depravity; and the necessity, therefore, of redemption and restoration; that all men and women are lost spiritually and face the judgment of God, that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation, and that repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ is necessary for regeneration by the Holy Spirit. (Genesis 1:26-27, Genesis 2:17)

We believe salvation is received through repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ. By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, being justified by grace through faith, man becomes an heir of God, according to the hope of eternal life. (Luke 24:47, John 3:3)

We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; the saved unto the resurrection of eternal life in the presence of our Lord, and the lost unto the resurrection of damnation and eternal punishment. (Matthew 25:46, Mark 9:43-48)

We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ and that all true believers are members of His body, the Church, which has the duty to preach the Gospel to every person. (Ephesians 1:22-23, Ephesians 2:22)

We believe that we must dedicate ourselves to prayer, to the service of our Lord, to His authority over our lives, and to the ministry of teaching, preaching, the prophetic, the apostolic, and evangelism. (Ephesians 4:11-13)

We believe in upholding the ordinances of the church of water baptism and holy communion.

The ordinance of baptism by immersion is commanded by the Scriptures. All who repent and believe in Christ as Savior and Lord are to be baptized. Thus, they declare to the world that they have died with Christ and that they also have been raised with Him to walk in newness of life. (Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:16, Acts 10:47,48, Romans 6:4)

The Lord’s Supper, consisting of the elements—bread and the fruit of the vine—, is the symbol expressing our sharing the divine nature of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:4), a memorial of His suffering and death (1 Corinthians 11:26), and a prophecy of His second coming (1 Corinthians 11:26), and is enjoined on all believers “till He comes!”