Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Principles for Stress-Free Living - Principle #2

You are better than a bird. Matthew 6:25-26 For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? "Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?

In Matthew 6:24-34, Jesus gave some very simple, yet powerful advice about living life free from undue stress and pressure.  Many of the things He spoke about are things that consume our minds and disturb our peace.  Over the next few days, we will look at some Principles for Stress-Free Living.

Worrying is an emotional reaction which plagues many of us. It is a self-defeating reaction to problems and stressors and does not lead to any practical resolution of issues.  Worrying is a form of magical thinking whereby we believe that the exercise of worrying may actually keep us out of harm’s way. The practice of worrying provides us with a protective illusion that somehow makes us think that we are actually changing the outcome of events.

The dictionary supports this with definitions such as “to touch or disturb something repeatedly”, “to subject to persistent or nagging attention or effort”, “to afflict with mental distress or agitation: make anxious”.  That's a far cry from Isaiah 26:3 -- You will keep in perfect peace the mind that is dependent on You, for it is trusting in You.

Worry is about the worst form of mental activity there is.  Worry is pointless. It is wasted mental energy.  It also creates bio-chemical reactions which harm the body, producing everything from indigestion to coronary arrest, and a multitude of things in between.  Worry is like a rocking chair - it gives you something to do but it doesn't get you anywhere. It is the darkroom in which negatives are developed.  It does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but it does empty today of its strength.

Ironically, worrying actually detracts from changing circumstances because those who worry usually are focused on self-blame and protecting others from harm, rather than evaluating and resolving current problems.  Someone has called anxiety "fear in search of a cause."  It does not make you escape the evil; it makes you unfit to cope with it when it comes.

Worry is faith in the negative, trust in the unpleasant, assurance of disaster and belief in defeat...worry is wasting today’s time to clutter up tomorrow’s opportunities with yesterday’s troubles.

Inwardly Fashioned for Faith
Dr. E. Stanley Jones wrote these words which can certainly be our words for the day.

I am inwardly fashioned for faith, not for fear. Fear is not my native land; faith is. I am so made that worry and anxiety are sand in the machinery of life; faith is the oil. I live better by faith and confidence than by fear, doubt and anxiety. In anxiety and worry, my being is gasping for breath—these are not my native air. But in faith and confidence, I breathe freely—these are my native air. 

Scripture to Claim:
Don't worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

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