Steady Our Stress

“Have no anxiety 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 passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7

As you may know, these verses come from a book that Paul wrote during a very difficult time in his life and in the life of Christians who were living under a very cruel Roman Empire. This book shares an overarching message of suffering and joy. I think it's interesting that Paul is able to magnify possibility of experiencing deep-seated peace and joy while enduing soul searching and gut wrenching suffering and sorrow. Only as a believer in Christ can joy and suffering work together productively.

Many people today know about the peace with God, but fewer experience the peace of God. And it’s showing! Too many are filled with anxiety, and can’t make it ten minutes without worry.

Corrie Ten Boom wrote, "Worry is a cycle of wasteful thoughts swirling around a center of fear."

When Paul writes, “Do not be anxious about anything,” the word “anxious” literally means to be pulled in two different directions and it implies that there is an inward war going on inside. This word implies that there’s a battle in the spirit that is pulling hard to separate peace from the mind so that worry becomes prominent. What a picture! Does this describe your life right now?

Notice the phrase, “Let your requests be made known to God,” this means anything that is big enough to worry about is truly big enough to pray about. In the day that we are living in, even now with a developing war in the Middle East, it’s high time we apply scriptural truth to help motivate our minds, steady our stress, enrich our emotions, and purify our person for the glory of God. With the increasing chaotic culture we live in, our thought life is supposed to be positive and powerful because our thought life is the launching pad for what others see in our lives!

One of the biggest reason we stress and worry about life is because we struggle with the love of God. Does God really love me? That’s the question we so often ask ourselves. Our security of mind is directly connected to the love level of God. Too often, we act as if God loves each of us on a different level, or on a different scale – that is faulty thinking and flawed theology! Only God can love each of us perfectly, uniquely, and completely!

Paul powerfully settles this in his mind as he writes in Romans 8:35 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” In these words, as I shared in Sunday’s sermon, the word “separate” is interesting because in classical Greek before the N.T. was written, it was used to “separate in thought.” But when common Greek came into the 1st century, the word was used to “separate in presence.” Do you know that you are not only locked into God’s presence, but you are also locked into His thoughts?

Paul is giving us first hand testimony that God’s love is the padlock on his life, and love’s lock assured him of the depth of their relationship together.

So let your stress, anxiety, and worry, bow to the beauty of God’s love for you!

As I said on Sunday, "The next time Satan tries to trap you in a headlock, just remind him that God has your life in a love lock!"

God bless you,

Pastor Dave

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