Reorienting Anxiety Through the Cross

By Chris Reitmayer, November 20, 2022

Matthew 16:13-25

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.

  1. Denial of self does not mean meeting other people’s needs
  1. Denial of self means learning how to tolerate the disapproval of others
  1. Denial of self means your life is not your own

Questions for D-Groups

Read Matthew 16:21-25

  • What do you think it means to deny yourself?

  • Is there a difference between healthy self-denial and unhealthy self-denial?

  • When can self-denial be used as a way to avoid anxiety rather than face it?

  • Where do you most struggle when it comes to the approval of others (work, family, etc)? How does that manifest as anxiety?

  • Self-denial or dying to self doesn’t mean your life belongs to others, it means your life belongs to God. Why does this difference matter? How can this subtle shift impact anxiety?

  • How can the notion that your life doesn’t belong to you but to God reorient what makes you anxious?

  • What would it look like to trust God more in this area?

  • What anxiety might you need to press through to experience greater freedom?