How To Stress Less #1

Yesterday I preached a lesson addressing the issue of “Holiday Stress.” The message was not only well received, but several who saw the title advertised asked for the outline.

So, breaking with my normal weekly columns, this is the first of a five part series dealing with stress based on that lesson.

When I googled “holiday stress, I received 345,000,000 results in 0.46 seconds. Among the headlines were these articles.

6 Ways To Deal With Holiday Stress

The US Surgeon General’s Next Foe Is Holiday Chaos

The Most Difficult Time of The Year: Mental Health During the Holidays

Feeling the holiday blues? Here 6 ways to fend them off

10 Stress-Free Holiday Tips – 10 Christmas Tips & Tricks

We all have holiday stress, and here’s how to handle it

While many of these article offer some helpful, practical advice, the Bible which contains “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3), provides the best counsel for Christians.

Our text for the week is Philippians 4:4-9. Actually, the entire book, when viewed from how to manage stress would serve as a helpful guide. But, these verses condense 5 major points which will greatly help you manage stress in your life.

REJOICE CONTINUALLY

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand” (Phil. 4:4-5).

Stay with me. I know at first glance, this might sound like an unreasonable, Pollyanna approach to life. “How can I rejoice, when my mind is anxious, my nerves are frazzled, and my relationships are strained?” you ask. When life’s problems are crashing in on us, rejoicing is probably the farthest thing from our minds.

However, consider the circumstances of the Philippian writer. Paul was in a Roman prison. His life hung in the balance. He was innocent of any wrong-doing. Yet, while he was suffering for the cause of Christ, he experienced joy, peace and inner contentment.

Suppose, Paul may have felt a bit of stress in prison? Maybe some anxiety wondering about his fate? Concern about the ultimate outcome? Yet, 18 times in the letter he speaks of “joy” or “rejoicing.”

To help with this thought, we need to make a distinction between “joy” and “happiness.” Happiness is based on circumstances. Joy is based on substance. Happiness is external. Joy is internal. Happiness is temporary. Joy is eternal. Happiness is often based on chance. But joy is a choice.

While Paul’s imprisonment would not make him or anyone happy, he could experience “the joy of faith” (1:25). The joy found in the privilege of prayer (1:4). And the joy of his fellowship with the brethren (4:1). Thus, he could “rejoice in the Lord” (3:1).  Note the key to this attitude is “in the Lord.” It’s an expression found 113 times in the Bible that speaks to our relationship with, our trust in, and our confidence “in the Lord.”

James 1:2-3 addresses the issue of finding joy even in trying situations. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”

Furthermore, according to a Mayo Clinic staff report you can reduce stress and improve your health by “eliminating negative self talk” and maintaining a positive attitude. “Researchers continue to explore the effects of positive thinking and optimism on health. Health benefits that positive thinking may provide include:

  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Lower levels of distress and pain
  • Greater resistance to illnesses
  • Better psychological and physical well-being
  • Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease and stroke
  • Reduced risk of death from cancer
  • Reduced risk of death from respiratory conditions
  • Reduced risk of death from infections
  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

Regardless of the outward circumstances of life, the problems we face, the trials we endure, and the potential of being stressed-out, we can find encouragement, feel confidence, and experience peace of mind, when we steadfastly and calmly rely on the Lord.  

Honestly, some the issues that stress us are “first world” problems, that are relatively trivial or minor compared to some of the serious, pressing problems that many people face.

Through the years I have known many Christians who dealt with financial hardship, loss of love, physical handicaps and debilitating health issues with a spirit of serenity, exhibiting a peace that surpassed understanding and a steadiest joy of faith.

Even someone facing the dreaded disease of cancer, can do so with a serene spirit. One unknown writer expressed their feelings in these powerful words

Cancer is so limited…
It cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot eat away peace.
It cannot destroy confidence.
It cannot kill friendship.
It cannot shut out memories.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot reduce eternal life.
It cannot quench the Spirit..

When we “rejoice in the Lord” we are declaring the sorrow will not overwhelm us. Problems will not destroy us. Trials will not cripple us. Stress will not consume us,.  And the Devil will not defeat us,

In the words of the ancient Roman philosopher and Emperor Marcus Aurelius, ““If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”

God’s strategy for managing stress? “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say Rejoice.”

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

6 Comments

Filed under Discipleship, Life, Stress

6 responses to “How To Stress Less #1

  1. Lois & David

    Tell me how I can find this sermon you preached, was it recorded? I hopeso and that is had CC as I am hearing impaired!!! Lois Stone

    Sent from Mail for Windows

    Like

    • I think it was recorded but I don’t have access to it. And if it was I doubt if it had cc

      These five blog posts however will be better than the sermon because they are more extensive. I am adding material that was not in the sermon. Plus providing links to the outside sources.

      Hope and pray you find them helpful

      Like

  2. Lois & David

    Silly me…. This email IS the sermon so theres the captioning right here. LOL THANK YOU!!

    Sent from Mail for Windows

    Like

  3. Pingback: How To Stress Less #2 | ThePreachersWord

  4. Pingback: How To Stress Less #5 | ThePreachersWord

  5. Pingback: Weekly Recap: December 5-9 | ThePreachersWord

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