The good news is that there is an antidote to stress, it’s all a part of living life as the masterpiece God created you to be: it is the peace that God gives us. You have a choice; stress or peace? Stress zaps your strength and robs you of joy. Just because life is stressful does not mean that you have to be stressed. You can be in the midst of stressful circumstances and have peace. In Philippians 4:6-7 Paul writes: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (NLT)
That verse is a prescription to rid your life of stress and walk in the peace that Jesus has for you. He has created you as His masterpiece, and you need to protect your Life Palette from stress by living in His peace. The life He has for you is one of freedom. Jesus called it a rich and satisfying life in John 10:10. Here is the prescription from Philippians for living a stress free life:
Instead of Stressing Start Praying
Replace all of that stress time with prayer time? “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything…” Think about it for a moment, which one do you think is more productive? Stressing or praying? Which one do you think brings better results? Stress, which is the natural result of worry, produces nothing of value in life. “The seed cast in the weeds represents the ones who hear the kingdom news but are overwhelmed with worries about all the things they have to do and all the things they want to get. The stress strangles what they heard, and nothing comes of it.” (Mark 4:18-19 Message) Notice that stress chokes out your life – it is not what God has for you as His masterpiece.
Tell God Your Needs
In this prescription from Philippians Paul says that you are to “Tell God what you need…” It sounds so simple, yet how often have you thought that something was too small of a problem or need for you to take to God. Surely He has better things to do! Or perhaps you don’t want to use up your allotted amount of grace or provision. The truth is that His grace and provision never run out. Tell God your needs! “Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.” (Ps 55:22 NLT)
This is hard for us to grasp because our human energy runs out – God’s power never does. You don’t have enough power to make it through the stresses of life on your own, you need another source, there is only one that lasts for all of eternity, the One who created you as His masterpiece.
In Philippians 4:19 Paul writes: “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” (NLT) Quit stressing about your needs and tell them to God – He meets all of your needs!
Thank God For All He’s Done
In the Philippians prescription for stress free living Paul continues: “…and thank him for all he has done.” If you have a hard time seeing all that He has done for you, start with the reality that He has forgiven you for your sins through Jesus and the cross. He provided for your need of forgiveness long before you even knew you had a need. In the same way, He has provided for all of the needs that you are stressing about. He is an all knowing God; He didn’t wake up this morning surprised by your needs. He has already made a way: “When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” (Is. 43:2 NLT) Thanksgiving is one of the most potent weapons in your arsenal for stress free living!
Exchange Your Stress for God’s Peace
Paul continues: “If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Stress will cause you to do thing that you would never normally do, it will cause you to make bad choices. Stress causes you to feel that you are trapped and that there is no way out. When you allow stress to control you it is serious business because God did not design you to live in stress – He designed you as His masterpiece to live in His peace. “If your sinful nature controls your mind, there is death. But if the Holy Spirit controls your mind, there is life and peace.” Rom 8:6-7 (NLT)
Paul’s prescription for stress free living is not about taking 4 easy steps or pulling yourself up by the boot straps, it’s all about a relationship with Him and dependence on His power. “God will strengthen you with his own great power so that you will not give up when troubles come, but you will be patient.” (Col 1:11 NCV) Make the exchange today: your stress for His peace.
Take a few moments to reflect on your relationship with God through Jesus. Is your relationship with Him growing? Are you stressed? That is not what He wants for you as His masterpiece.