Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Philippians Road

Hi all,
At Calvary, we just came through a series, "Beyond Blue", where we dealt with grief, loss, and God's help to us in those times. I know that there are a lot of us who, although we don’t have any major crises, do have a lot of stress in our life and who struggle in the regular Monday-Friday of our lives.

Many of us turn to other methods to calm our stress, such as t.v., food, drink, money, and prescription drugs. None of these are “wrong” in themselves and God has provided us with means to help us through these times.

I felt, though, like perhaps we turn to those things first, instead of God, our “Prince of Peace”. The things listed above, . .as well as many others. . . .can become harmful when we rely on them to bring us comfort instead of Christ. Jesus gives us good gifts to be enjoyed,. . . . but not solely relied upon. So, I looked in the Word for some places where we can be ministered to by God, and His word. Hopefully, this will free us up to enjoy the parts of God’s creation listed above, and not elevate them to the status of dependency or addiction. . (and none of those things are pleasant when you’re dependant on them ) And, most importantly, these verses will hopefully lead us to Christ who asks us to “come to me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest” Matt. 11:28

Some of you may have heard of “The Romans Road” which is a way of going through the book of Romans as you lead someone to Christ for the first time. I’ve been reading Philippians lately, and thought I would put together “The Philippians road to conquering stress”. Some of these verses would be good to memorize. Perhaps, some of them, to put on your bathroom mirror, or on your speedometer. The Word of Christ is active in our lives and as we walk in Faith we should return to the source of our comfort and strength, our Savior Jesus, . . through His Word.

These questions and statements are followed by a passage from Philippians. Sometimes the passage will answer the question,. . .other times it will help us know that Christ knows what we go through, saw it coming, and even appointed it for our spiritual growth and the freedom of our hearts. So, off we go.

“The Philippians Road to Conquering Stress”

1) Why am I stressed?

a) For the sake of Christ, persecution
(perhaps family looks down on you for your faith; or perhaps you are making a tough financial decision because of your convictions which makes life a little tougher)
Phillipians 1:29
For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for His sake.

b) Issues from my past
Phillipians 3:13
Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

c) Present circumstances
Phillipians 4:11-13
Not that I complain of want; for I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to get along with humble means, and I know how to abound; in any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want. I can do all things in Him who strengthens me.

We can be strong in faith in any of these situations.

2) What should I do to counteract stress?

a) Be committed to seeing the Grace of God in many circumstances
(it’s so easy to see the 2 things that went wrong instead of the 10 things(or 10,000) that God did for you today)
Phillipians 4:4
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let all men know your patience.

b) Pray for help
Phillipians 4:6-7
Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition 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.

3) What can I replace stress with?
(it’s important to not just try and avoid stress with things (mentioned above) but to replace your stress with new thoughts)
Phillipians 4:8
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whtatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

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