Thursday, August 28, 2008

When I Feel Stressed...

The past few days have been super tough on me, but God has been faithful to get me through. As I've struggled through different trials the Lord has placed in my life, I was wondering why I continued to sin and choose the wrong path when I knew the truth. I realized (by God's grace) that the reason I was sinning was that I was basing my decisions--my thoughts, actions, deeds, words, etc.--on my emotions and feelings in the moment rather than the truth of God in His Word that is steadfast and eternal. Think about it. Often times, our feelings, though deceptively conveyed as a "natural" part of humanity, lead us into sin. Indeed, the word "natural" almost always sounds much safer than it is, for "naturally" we are all inclined to (and will, without Christ's intervention) sin. I hadn't understood, but Satan was deceiving me into believing that it was a-okay to act on my emotions. Thus, in the heat of the moment or under pressure, I made poor, sinful decisions, because I was rationalizing with myself that it was "only natural" to respond as I did, which, in fact, it was. Although some emotions/feelings--such as loneliness and temptation--are not sinful in and of themselves, many emotions/feelings--like pride, doubt, stress, anger, and impatience--are in sinful in and of themselves. Plus, those feelings like loneliness and temptation that aren't sinful in and of themselves can very easily (and often do) lead to sin. For example, the lonely man or woman might find themselves falling prey to the temptation of lust and sexual impurity if they don't guard themselves against both the loneliness and the temptation. 
As a result of this God-given realization, I knew I needed to put on the Word of Christ and use it as a shield against my feelings and emotions, fighting the momentary "truth" in my life with the absolute truth of Christ. Here is the first set of verses that I have found (and this is by no means a comprehensive list) to fight stress.

When I Feel Stressed...
...I know that Christ is all-powerful, and Christ is in me.
"And [God] put all things in subjection under [Jesus'] feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all." --Ephesians 1:22-23
"I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." --Philippians 4:13
...I know trials are intended in God's will for my sanctification.
"Not that I have already obtained [resurrection from the dead] or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus." --Philippians 3:12
"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." --Romans 5:1-5
"But He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness." --Hebrews 12:10b
...I know I am instructed to give my worries/problems to God.
"'Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.'" --Matthew 11:28-30
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." --Philippians 4:6-7
...I know my current "sufferings" pale in comparison to the riches of Heaven.
"For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." --2 Corinthians 4:17-18
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God." --Romans 8:18-21
...I know I am called to a life of service for Christ's sake.
"For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bondservants for Jesus' sake." --2 Corinthians 4:5
"For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." --Mark 10:45
...I know my problems are as dust before the power of my God.
"If I say, 'Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night,' even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You." --Psalm 139:11-12
"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" --Romans 8:31
"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed." --2 Corinthians 4:7-8
...I know peace, not stress, is indicative of God's overwhelming grace to me.
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." --Galatians 5:22-24

God be glorified!

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