We live in an unprecedented time in history, a time when most in western society have access to an abundance of resources and information. We also live in a time of amazing technological innovation where newer and better solutions to problems are being presented at record pace. However, despite the virtually infinite amount of information we have access to, many today still find themselves burdened and overwhelmed by stress and anxiety.
Many hope to find relief from stress at the bottom of a glass or in the form of a pill or some other substance. Others seek respite from their anxiety in front of the TV or in other forms of entertainment, and even others have turned to new age practices like mediation. Unfortunately, temporary indulgences in food, alcohol, drugs, sex or entertainment do not provide lasting relief. The deceptive practice of eastern-meditation and its illogical fallacy of trying to use your own thinking and reasoning to temporarily suspend your thinking and reasoning certainly won’t help either. If we want a lasting cure for our stress and anxiety, the only solution is to turn to God and mediate on His word. God says to:
“Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7
When we find ourselves stressed and anxious, we should stop to consider the simple question Jesus asks us:
“And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” – Matthew 6:27
I know this all sounds simple enough, but honestly, how many of us when confronted by stressful thoughts ever stop and think about the folly of dwelling on such unproductive thoughts? God promises in His word to take care of our NEEDS, not necessarily all our WANTS. Many of us find ourselves stressed because we have wrongly labeled wants as needs and our own covetousness is robbing us of the joy of the Lord. Worrying about the future not only won’t change it, but it also will keep us from fully experiencing and enjoying the present time we are living in.
“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:34
Often we all find aspects of our lives that are troubling or burdensome, and all of us will undoubtedly experience seasons of trouble and hardship. When we fail to live completely holy and righteous lives, which we all do, (Romans 3:23) we find ourselves dealing with the consequences of our own sin and paying for our past mistakes. What can be even more challenging is when we are unjustly dealing with the devastating effects of someone else’s sin against us. The first thing we must always do when we are dealing with troubles and hardship, is cast our cares on God. We must:
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7 (emphasis mine)
Notice God instructs us not only to be ANXIOUS for NOTHING, but to let our requests be known with THANKSGIVING. In other words, no matter what comes we should be thankful. God always desires that we grow in GRACE and in TRUTH, and even when we experience unjust troubles, it is an opportunity to glorify God and witness to His power working in our lives to the very person or persons who have caused us trouble.
If we find ourselves repeatedly praying for the removal of a problem and it continues, just consider that the Lord may have allowed a THORN in our flesh so that His will and purposes might be fulfilled in our lives to their fullest. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10) No matter what we face, or how hard it gets we must always remember that God is sovereign and in control. God says:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
When we are weak, God is strong. That should be a HUGE relief! When we fully understand the magnitude of this truth and fully surrender to the Lord so it can be made manifest in our lives, stress and anxiety are a thing of the past! We will find a contentment and peace that is completely inexplicable. The reality is when we find ourself stressed and anxious, we have simply lost sight of Jesus. We are living in doubt and fear, not living in faith. When we live in faith, we simply trust God, let our requests be known to Him and then we can be free of the worry because we know He has it under control. Mediate on God’s truth and the God of peace will be with you.
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, 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 anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” – Philippians 4:8
What causes you stress and anxiety? Do you have unhealthy ways to deal with stress that need to be addressed? How can you more fully live the truths of God’s word on this matter to experience freedom from stress and anxiety?