What Stresses You (1)

  • In many of the studies or teachings on this website, reference is made often to God doing all the work and we simply receiving from Him. It’s God working to get us to see the mystery of the inheritance that’s ours in Christ Jesus.

    What happens when we get this backwards is we move into the area of worry, doubt, and defeat. When we try to fix things that happen in this life, or try to gain by our performance the things of God, we will find ourself anxious and nervous.

    We must realize that we cannot earn by our performance what God has already provided by His grace. Like John Sheasby says. “God cannot give to you as a reward, that which is already yours through inheritance.”

    We see Paul addressing this very area of anxiousness and worry in Phil 4:6,7. Here it is in the Amplified version.

    Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition (definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God.

    Paul is saying that we should not fret or have anxiety about anything. No matter what the world system throws at you, don’t worry about it. Even though Paul makes it very clear that we should not be concerned about anything, in my own life I do not yet live there. If you’re honest, neither do you.

     There are many areas where I used to worry in the past, but today those things “do not move me” (Acts 20:24). So there are victories in this area, but still uncertainties in other areas. Not in the area of releasing the gospel of grace and truth, but in the everyday life requirements on this earth. We are unwavering in testifying the great grace of God.

    Look what else that verse says. It says make definite requests. Maybe it’s just me but I’ve always had a problem when someone says they have a “unmentionable” prayer request. Well how can I pray specifically for you without knowing what to pray for.

    This part of the verse gives religious people a problem. It’s the part that says make your wants known to God. You mean it’s okay to want things? Well, I don’t think God would have instructed Paul to write that in there by the inspiration of the Spirit if it wasn’t true. When people don’t believe we can have wants and bring them to God, they do not understand the compassion and commitment God has toward us.

    So Paul in this verse 6 says instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Then he shows us what happens in verse 7.

     And God’s peace [shall be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

    Paul says, as you turn everything toward praise and prayer, as you make your needs and wants known to God through prayer, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. His peace will come and settle in the midst of all that the world is throwing at you. As you praise Him and give your concerns, worries, and wants to Him, His peace will overwhelm you and it will happen before you know it and without striving. God will do the work and we receive the prize or gift. What actually happens is Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

    The Amplified version says this about God’s peace also. It is that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ. John the beloved in 1 John 5:13 says “I write this to you who believe in (adhere to, trust in, and rely on) the name of the Son of God [in the peculiar services and blessings conferred by Him on men], so that you may know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that you [already] have life, yes, eternal life”.

    We can know and be assured that we have life eternal with the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. We do not have to guess, or hope, or worry, or wonder about it. We can know it. Those who have not received the abundance of grace or the gift of righteousness due to being falsely taught religious acts of performance, do not have an assurance of their salvation. That creates stress and anxiety in their lives. But the truth of scripture that I’ve just shown you says we can be assured.

    Then there’s this part of verse 7 that grabbed my attention. “Fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is. This so speaks to how we react to certain situations. It is not so much what happens to us that brings us into bad situations and feelings, it is what happens in us that will direct our lives.

    It’s no mystery that this world brings with it trials and tribulations. Jesus knew that. It’s why He made the following statement in John 16:33 – “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world”. Notice how He ended the verse. He said “take heart”. I love the way the Amplified says it. “Be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

    Jesus said “I have deprived the world of it’s power to harm you and have conquered it for you”. It’s all past tense once again and it’s all Him. It’s Him doing it, depriving the world of power, and conquering it for us. That’s why we are more than conquerors.

    Jesus is the conqueror, but we are more than conquerors. Why? Because we get the prize without doing all the heavy lifting. He runs the marathon and wins and we get the prize. He wins the heavyweight championship after 15 rounds of brutal waring and we get the belt and the “purse”. He gave up His life for us and we get eternal life from Him. Woo Hoo!!

    Now having said all that, we can see that this world is a fallen structure. It is a failed environment. It is corrupt. Evil does exist. Sickness does try to invade our lives. All these things can lead to stress. We live alongside stress because of this.

    What we ought to realize is that things happen in this world, but usually God is speaking to us and warning us about them before hand. Something as simple as you get the idea you should take a different way home and you don’t. The next thing you know the bridge is out due to rains washing away the structure. Now you’re stressed because you are going to miss an appointment. But God tried to warn you. You just didn’t listen.

    So God is constantly speaking to us about things, but we are not listening to Him, or we simply brush off what He said thinking it’s just us. We take way too much credit for our own thoughts. Many times it’s God speaking to us. So when we don’t listen, sometimes things happen to cause stress. The more stress you have in your life, the harder it becomes to hear God speaking to you. Do you see the problem here?

    I'll stop here for now, but come back for part 2. In part 2 we will begin with Matthew 11:28-30 wherein Jesus gives us an absolute solution to stress and worry. Grace and Peace.