Breaking Free From The Crippling Effects of Stress
Anxiety, worry and tension are some of the most destructive forces we can face. They sap our strength and slowly undermine our faith, keeping us from maturing in the Lord (Luke 8:14). If we are to grow in our relationship with Jesus, we must discover God’s plan for freedom from the crippling cycle of stress.
Stress’ Source of Power
Anxiety, worry and tension occur when we face a situation and choose to rely upon our own strength rather than upon God and His Word. Maybe we have forgotten that God can handle any problem. Or perhaps we let our carnal nature persuade us that we can do a better job handling the situation ourselves.
By doing this, we are actually engaging in a subtle form of idolatry. Consider the first commandment God spoke to Moses: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3, Deut. 5:7). In other words, we should trust God alone.
But when we choose to lean on our own understanding instead of God’s promises, we are placing ourselves or the overwhelming situations we are facing, before the Lord. The moment we step into that place of self-reliance, we open our emotions to a flood of anxiety, worry and tension. But there is hope and freedom for anyone caught in this snare.
God wants us to be free from worry. Jesus said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). But to enter that rest we have to cut off stress’ source of power: our unbelief (Heb. 3:19).
In one of the greatest passages of Scripture, Jesus confronts our futile anxiety (Matt. 6:25-34). He tells us to look at how God feeds the birds of the air and arrays the lilies of the field. How much more will He care for his children?
Then Jesus says, “Do not be anxious” about the things of this world. Instead, give God the proper priority in our lives. “Seek first the kingdom and His righteousness” and He will take care of the rest.
As we grow in our understanding of God’s love for us, we will soon realize that nothing in this world can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39) … no financial burden, family crisis, job situation, sickness … nothing in the past and nothing in the future. Because He cares so deeply for us, we can cast our anxiety upon Him (1 Peter 5:7)
Casting Our Cares On Him
Every day will bring new opportunities to cast our cares upon Him. One of the best ways we can do this is by replacing our worry and tension with prayer and thanksgiving. “Be anxious for nothing,” the Bible says, “but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil 4:6). This command is followed by a wonderful promise: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:7).
It is also important to begin incorporating God’s pattern for rest into your own life. You should set aside one day a week as the Lord’s day taking a break from your work routine so you can enter into His rest.
As we learn to take God at His Word, walk in His favor and trust in His strength, our worries will melt away, replaced by a precious peace that is known only by those who rest in God’s loving arms.
As You Pray
Are you walking in His peace? Or are you weighed down by anxiety, worry and tension? There’s a simple solution: tell God you are sorry for not believing His promises, begin to give Him first place in your life, and then enter into His rest.
Take a few moments right now to enter into the rest God has for you: “Father, forgive me for my unbelief. I no longer want to trust in my own strength. Thank You for caring so deeply for me. I give You all my worries. I know I can trust You with these situations. I accept Your rest. Please teach me how to walk in Your rest each and every day. In Jesus’ name. Amen”
God’s Word On Anxiety
“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single cubit to his life’s span? And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; thy do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith? Do not be anxious then saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘With what shall we clothe ourselves?’ For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:26-34).
Scriptures For Study
Matthew 13:22 – The unfruitfulness of worry
Luke 21:34 – Jesus commands us not to worry
Joshua 1:8-9 – How to face impossible situations
James 1:2-4, 1 Thess 5:18 – How to face trials
Hebrews 4:1-3 – Entering into God’s rest
Psalm 22:3-5 – How praise can set us free
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