And so we come to the 3rd and final part of our examination of stress.
In Part 1 we introduced our passage, defined stress, and also distinguished between good (eustress) and bad (distress) stress. In part 2 we looked at why a Christian stresses. We reminded ourselves that we are strangers in a fallen world that’ll experience troubles, but our heavenly home makes every bump along the way worth it. We also discovered that we succum to stress when we lose sight of the goal. Our focus should be set on leading others to Christ, not the temporary difficulties we face.
Let’s recall our passage in Philippians chapter 4:
- Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
- Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;
- do not be anxious about anything, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7 ESV)
We see now why we should not stress, but the fact is that we will still feel overwhelmed at times. What then? The Spirit knew we would feel this way, and gave Paul the remedy he writes for us.
So what do we do when we stress?
We pray. That sounds like a Sunday school answer but it’s the solution Paul gives in verse 6. We pray asking God to handle it and calm us. I’m reminded of the old hymn, What A Friend We Have In Jesus:
“O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!”
God is transcendent above all of Creation, yet He is concerned with every detail of our lives. The same hands that scooped out oceans and carved out mountains are the same hands that hold you and me. This God that holds the heavens between His fingers and measures the oceans with the lines of His hands cares for you and me (Isaiah 40:12). This same great, awesome, magnificent, all-powerful God knows the hairs on my head. The Creator wants an intimate relationship with me. Isn’t that amazing? He cares when I’m stressed and distraught. He wants me to draw near to Him. That’s precisely what prayer is.
Paul also gives a stipulation in this remedy that we often miss. With thanksgiving. If we are sincere in our desire to embrace the Father, we will be thankful. We will see His grace and providence in every inch of our lives and be overwhelmed with gratitude and thankfulness.
So I want to encourage you, Church. When you’re torn in different directions by sinful worry and stress, remember to keep your home and your goal in perspective.
Realize you’ve won eternity thanks to Christ! You’re not of this world; your home is above. In the scope of eternity, what’s your little problem?
Remember to focus on Christ. Use the Advocate (Holy Spirit) and the assurance He brings to anchor yourself in reasonableness. It can solidfy your witness.
Pray. Pray. Pray. God cares. He wants to hear you. Be thankful that the creator of the universe listens to you and wants a relationship.
Thank you very much for reading, I pray you gained something from these posts.