Learn how to handle stress as a Christian!
This past Sunday AM, I preached a message entitled “How to Maintain a Heart for God when the Pressures Pile Up” (you can listen to the audio of that message here). There were many Scripture references that we did not have time to look into in depth during the service, so I promised to post my notes here to allow for more in-depth study of this important matter.
I trust and pray this will be a help and encouragement to all Christians today! And, if you are not saved, then you can find out about that here! You cannot effectively handle stress without Jesus Christ!
Stress: you know the feeling; everything is coming undone. You feel as though your whole world is crumbling before your eyes. Your inward parts are in turmoil and never still, just like Job (Job 30:27). You may call it affliction, anxiety or tension. You are possibly physically ill with that stress headache again. You would give anything for this stress to be replaced with comfort, happiness and peace. Good news!
Christian stress management is needed in the times in which we live. Stress is something we all claim to know something about. We have felt it in our body in various ways.
When it’s good stress, we feel a natural chemical flowing through our body, which causes us to feel good. However, when the stress is bad, it can have effects on the body that can cause pain and other negative effects.
There are at least three main “sources” that stress comes from:
Physical – Some of our stress can be caused by illness, pain, exercise injuries, and fatigue. In Christian stress management, we recognize that the list can go on and on about our physical stress. It can happen suddenly or slowly.
Mental – Some stress is mental. It is important to remember when trying to “de-stress” that we let people or things get into our head and it can cause us to feel stressed.
People have a way of irritating us to the point that it bothers us mentally. This can be stressful. Things such as jobs, houses, cars, and the like can be a source of stress. When things don’t go the way we planned for them to go, it can cause stress.
Spiritual – Maybe it’s Satanic attack or just daily struggles to maintain a consistent/abiding relationship with Jesus.
• Millions of Americans suffer from stress each year.
• In fact, 3 out of 4 people say they experience stress at least twice a month.
• Over half of those people say they suffer from ‘high’ levels of stress at least twice a month.
• Stress can contribute to heart disease, high blood pressure, and strokes, and make you more likely to catch less serious illnesses like colds. It can also contribute to drunkenness, obesity, drug addiction, cigarette use, depression, and other harmful behaviors.
• In the last 20 years, the number of people reporting that stress affects their work has gone up more than four times. (Whereas the number of people reporting that other illnesses affect their work have gone down.)
• One fourth of all the drugs prescribed in the United States go to the treatment of stress.
Look at Jesus (in our text) and see how ‘stress’ piled up on Him…. Matthew 14:1-21
Since God intends to make you like Jesus, he will take you through the same experiences Jesus went through. That includes loneliness, temptation, stress, criticism, rejection, and many other problems.
- Emotional Pressures —14:12
- John the Baptist
- Physical/Mental Pressures —14:13a
- Religious Leaders
- Spiritual Pressures —14:13-14
- Multitudes follow to Bethsaida
- Multitudes demand Attention
- Ministerial Pressures —14:22
- He sees their trouble
- He walks on water
“True leadership is tested and proved in crises. The real leader is the one who can handle the stress. He is the one who can solve the problems, bear the burdens, find the solutions, and win the victories when everyone else is merely flustered, confounded, and perplexed.”
Now that we have seen how ‘stress’ can come into our lives….let’s look in detail at how we can still maintain a heart for God during these times!
An unpeaceful mind cannot operate normally.
We look at David – Psalm 59 –
- Written after Saul tried to kill David
- Saul sends men to watch David’s house….and kill him
- 1 Samuel 19:9-12
The pressures in David’s life forced him to probe to the depths of his relationship with the Lord, and this relationship with God was necessary equipment for his future role as Israel’s greatest king.
1. Talk to God —v.1-2
- Anchor yourself
- You are only as stable as your anchor!
- Don’t trust any external, internal, or secular source before you have trusted in Jesus Christ as your eternal Savior!
- Handling stress is an impossible thing to do without Christ!
Matthew 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
- Admit the problem
- Yes, you must tell God what He already knows.
- Confession is good medicine for the soul!
- “Many of those who once were so passionately in love with Christ now run about pursuing their own interests. They’re burdened down with stress and problems, chasing after riches and the things of this world.”
- There should be a “progression” of confession!
- Others (There is safety in Godly council (Proverbs 11:14); however, others should not come before God.)
- Ask for help
- “Deliver Me” should be our cry
- The Lord loves to be asked for help and will readily provide what is needed.
Matthew 7:11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
2. Trust in God —v.8-9
1. Trust His character
- He is our loving Father
- He is the friend that stiketh closer than a brother
- He is the Balm of Gilead
- He is the good Shepherd
2. Trust His creeds (This is a matter of “mind over matter”. You might not think that this can be solved by God or might think you have to have “external” help….you must choose to believe in God’s Word!)
- John 14:27
- Isaiah 40:30,31
- Malachi 4:2
- Romans 8:6
- Romans 16:20
- Philippians 4:6,7
- Psalms 37:5
- Psalms 55:22
- 1 Peter 5:6,7
- Psalms 103:1-5
- Proverbs 16:3
- Jeremiah 17:7,8
- Romans 12:2
- Habakkuk 3:17-19
- James 1:2-4
- Isaiah 55:1-3
- Matthew 11:28-30
- Luke 10:41-42
- John 12:32
- 1 Corinthians 3:11
- 1 Corinthians 10:13
3. Trust His compassion
“O yes, He cares, I know He cares,His heart is touched with my grief; When the days are weary, The long night dreary, I know my Savior cares.” -Does Jesus Care (Frank Graeff went through some very difficult trials. The period before writing this song was one of great despondency, doubt and physical pain. When he turned to God’s Word, 1 Peter 5:7 gave wonderful comfort: “He careth for you.” After meditating on that truth, Graeff wrote these lyrics, with the resounding affirmation in the chorus, “O yes, He cares…”)
Hebrews 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
3. Triumph through God —v.16-17
- Keep sight of God
- Looking unto Jesus….Hebrews 12:2
- NOTHING is too big for Him!
- Keep singing to God
- John Wesley: Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing him more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to do this attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually; so shall your singing be such as the Lord will approve here, and reward you when he cometh in the clouds of heaven.
- D.L. Moody Every good gift that we have had from the cradle up has come from God. If a man just stops to think what he has to praise God for, he will find there is enough to keep him singing praises for a week.
- If you loose your song….you loose your heart for God!
A.W. Tozer “In almost everything that touches our everyday life on earth, God is pleased when we’re pleased. He wills that we be as free as birds to soar and sing our maker’s praise without anxiety [stress].”