When the fig tree does not bud, and there are no grapes on the vines; when the olive trees do not produce, and the fields yield no crops; when the sheep disappear from the pen, and there are no cattle in the stalls, I will rejoice because of the Lord; I will be happy because of the God who delivers me!
Habakkuk 3:17-18 MSG
How you view things in life is very important, especially as a Christian. The world will point out everything that is wrong, but it is up to us to see the good, especially in our own circumstances. I’m going to translate verse 17 of today’s scripture in modern language in terms of how life can try to get us down:
Though my bills keep pouring in and my bank account is in the negative;
Though my workload at my job is overwhelming and people are testing my patience;
Though my enemies are plotting against me and my health is declining; Continue reading
“The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get”
Proverbs 21:20 NLT
A lot of people’s stress comes from money problems, which can lead to stress in other areas of their lives. Some of our financial difficulties come from the demands of life, but honestly, most of the problems stem from not budgeting, living beyond our means, and not controlling our fleshly desires. We put a lot of unnecessary stress on ourselves for these very reasons. It really boils down to not wanting to do what the Bible says regarding money and wanting to spend whatever you want to spend. If you have this mentality you’ll have stress your whole life. Continue reading
Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.
1 Thessalonians 4:11 NLT (emphasis added)
This may come as a surprise to you, but one sure fire way to eliminate stress in your life is to simply mind your own business. Have the mindset the less you know the better. The more you know the more you want to help, and the more you will end up being stressed over the situation. We always want to be in the know, but it’s really so we can be nosy or stay in the loop that we have no business in in the first place. If you think about it, how many people do you know who find out what they want to know actually do something productive with the information? Oftentimes people’s motives are not pure to begin with, so once the information is received, it can be used as a source of gossip or manipulation. You need to be selective with the information that you let resonate with in spirit. I’m not saying to not help people who genuinely need help—even though that can still be stressful in and of itself—but what I am saying is if you don’t need to know certain information, be content without knowing. You will find that you will have so much more peace in your life if you just worry about your own affairs rather than adding the stress and pressure of someone else’s. To operate like this will not happen overnight, especially if you are the type that always has to know what’s going on. It will take the help of the Holy Spirit to constrain you, and discernment to know what to get involved in and what to leave alone. Continue reading
God makes everything happen at the right time. Yet none of us can ever fully understand all he has done, and he puts questions in our minds about the past and the future. I know the best thing we can do is to always enjoy life (Ecclesiastes 3:11-12 CEV emphasis added)
Proverbs 16:4 tells us “The Lord has a reason
for everything he does…” (CEV). We never know what God is going to do and when He is going to do it. Because we are to live in expectancy, we need to just release our faith and go on about our day knowing that He will take care of our every need. Jesus said don’t be anxious about anything (see Philippians 4:6). Anxiety causes so many problems and zaps our joy. Jesus also said don’t worry about tomorrow because tomorrow holds its own troubles (see Matthew 6:34). Most people live in anxiety and worry, which does not change anything and it doesn’t please or move God. Continue reading
He said, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.
But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the LORD’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the LORD is with you!”
2 Chronicles 20:15, 17 NLT (emphasis added)
One way we add stress to our lives is by trying to handle what only God can handle. I am guilty of this myself, even to this day, but I am getting better. I think unless you’ve had a strong upbringing in the Lord, people typically operate by using Him as a last resort. We tend to try to figure things out ourselves first and then if what we planned doesn’t work, then we turn to God. What we need to realize is that we need to go to God FIRST and let Him direct us on the path we should take (see Proverbs 3:5-6). When we get involved, we cause more mess and then it becomes a vicious cycle which usually ends with God getting the blame at the end. It’s funny how we blame God for something that he had absolutely nothing to do with (both the problem and the solutions that we cooked up on our own). Continue reading
It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].
Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].
1 Corinthians 13:5,7 (AMPC, emphasis added)
One way we stress ourselves out on a daily basis is dealing with people in the wrong way. We have to learn how to start living by the spirit and not by the flesh. The flesh does everything opposite of what God wants, and it does this because it is sinful. Galatians 5:16 (NLT) says, So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.” Your flesh wants to hold a grudge, cuss somebody out, let them have a piece of your mind, give them the silent treatment, etc. The world tells you to act in the same way—eye for an eye. If we act the same way that the world does, how does that set us apart as God’s holy people? I know, because I’ve been there most of my life, how people can just send you over the edge with how they act; and I know how badly you want to just let them have it. I get it! But I know the other side and I know how that side actually wins the hardest of hearts. That side is walking in love. I know you are thinking, “Walking in love! They don’t deserve that after how they treated me.” That’s the devil sitting on your shoulder feeding you lies. Think of Jesus…He was abused, talked about, spit on, lied on, beat up, and ultimately crucified, but what did He do? He prayed for those people on the cross and asked God not to hold it against them. If Jesus can pray for people who mistreated Him, what more should we do when we think we are treated unfairly! Continue reading
Work hard and cheerfully at all you do, just as though you were working for the Lord and not merely for your masters, remembering that it is the Lord Christ who is going to pay you, giving you your full portion of all he owns. He is the one you are really working for.
Colossians 3:23-24 TLB
A slave is defined as, “a person who is wholly subject to the will of another.” We are slaves to Christ first and foremost because we live our lives to serve Him, but we are also slaves in our workplace, meaning we are employees of the company and our bosses are the masters over us. This may be shocking to your mind to think of it in terms like this, but it’s true according to Scripture. Even in the most irritating and stressful of jobs, Christians are supposed to be a light in a dark place. This means that we cannot behave, think, and talk like everyone else on the job. Our co-workers, bosses, and customers should see something different about us. Most people hate their jobs, but what this attitude says is that you’re unthankful for what provision God has supplied you with. Having this type of attitude eventually leads to your actions showing exactly how you feel—your work will be half done, you’ll be unpleasant, you’ll engage in gossip, etc. This doesn’t please God one bit and it decreases your witness in the workplace. Having the wrong mindset will make any job/task stressful because it’s how you are thinking about it. It may be a simple task, but because you hate it, it makes it harder, and when things get hard, stress settles in. Continue reading
“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”
Galatians 1:10 NIV
One of the facts of life is that you will never be able to please everybody. This should be very liberating because if you’ve been stressing yourself out by trying to make everyone happy, you can now be relieved of that duty because it’s an impossible task. Being a people pleaser will only lead to frustration, stress, exhaustion, and disappointment. Human beings are fickle and unpredictable in nature, so to know what they want all of the time is impossible. Trying to impress people to gain their acceptance is futile, and depending on how you receive rejection, it can send you into depression. Continue reading
Casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully].
1 Peter 5:7 AMP (emphasis added)
Another way we add stress to our lives is by spending countless hours trying to figure out what only God has the answer to. This doesn’t mean that when a situation arises that you just sit and do nothing, but what it does mean is that you leave the outcome to God. Your job is to do what you can do in the natural, but most importantly, do what you can do in the spiritual realm as well. This includes praying, speaking God’s Word on the matter, seeking God’s face, etc. Believe it or not, operating in the spiritual realm produces more results than anything you can do in the natural. Continue reading
…For apart from me you can do nothing.
John 15:5 NLT
We can eliminate a lot of stress in our lives if we truly believe what Jesus said to His disciples…you can’t do anything without Him. I believe people fall into many different categories as to why they try to handle life on their own. I know for me personally, even though I always knew about God, I really didn’t know that I can go to Him for everything, and because of this, I didn’t. Once you truly know what you have, the need to be independent and do everything yourself subsides because you realize that no matter what you do, if God isn’t in it, it won’t work. When we try to do what only God can do, not only do we mess things up, but we cause unnecessary stress on ourselves. Continue reading