This week, we began our new sermon series titled, "You Asked For It," where we tackle your everyday questions through the lens of scripture.
Today, Pastor Clyde Stackhouse, our operations pastor, shared a message over this question: How do I navigate a stress filled life?
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)
Jesus tells us that we will have troubles; they cannot be avoided. But He also tells us that we can find peace, even in our most stressful situations, by leaning into Him.
In the message, Pastor Clyde shared the leading causes of stress:
- Personal Relationships
- Daily Life
- The Loss of a Loved One
These are all very real and valid reasons to be stressed about. Now, the question is, how will respond to this stress?
We need God’s Biblical roadmap to work through these issues.
The main passage of scripture starts in Philippians 4:6 saying: “Do not be anxious about anything,”
1. Worry about Nothing
“Do not worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will have its own worries. The troubles we have in a day are enough for one day.” Matthew 6:34
This alone is difficult. This is much more difficult to actually do because our fear is wrapped up in tomorrow and what will likely never happen.
According to Paul, how do we actually “worry about nothing”?
“6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
2. Pray about Everything
Our natural response is one of two options – Fight or Flight. Another way to look at it: we might work harder to solve the problem or run away from the problem and quit. Everyone carries stress differently.
However, there is a 3rd option – We should pray.
“Give all your worries to Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)
Cast your anxiety on God, and He will show up because He cares. There is nothing too big or too small for Him-- He cares about every detail.
3. Think about the Right Things
And in the midst of prayer, we find peace, but if we’re being honest, that peace can be fleeting. The stress of life always comes back. So Paul tells us this:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
Our lives are changed when this is engrained in us. The Proverbs say, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”
Ask yourself: How is my thought life? What am I focusing on?
4. Be content with my things
“11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Philippians 4:11-12 (NIV)
When we focus on the good things in our lives- the blessings- we become content. It is similar but opposite when it comes to stress. When we stress about what we don’t have, we become discontent. When we begin to lay down our wants, we create space for God to freely give what He wants to give back to us.
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
5. Find Peace in His Presence
“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
This life is difficult, but must remember that there is no substitute for God’s presence. This requires of us to create space in our lives to respond to His presence. We need to encounter the presence of God to find peace and successfully navigate through the stress of life. That means getting out of our seats and going to God’s altar. Even if I feel like it isn’t a big deal, Jesus still wants it from me.
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