Sermon:
How to Have Joy – Even In Stressful Situations

There is no doubt in my mind that we live in stressful times. Since September eleventh two thousand and one – we have been fighting a war on terrorism. The threat of a terrorist attack lingers and the war continues. World economics are a great concern – as well as the threat of a pandemic. The World Health Organization has estimated that over 52,000 have died from the H1N1 virus. We now live in a technical age where we are constantly wired to the net – whether it is through lap-top, black berry, iPod or cell phone. Technology has exploded over the past few years. Our calendars continue to be filled to the brim with appointments and activities. We seem to be running non-stop – until we drop. Stress has become a normal factor in life.

In Philippians chapter four – Paul returns to his theme about being joyful in life. In verse four he says:

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” Philippians 4:4 (NKJV)

God’s Word translation says it this way:

“Always be joyful in the Lord! I’ll say it again: Be joyful!” Philippians 4:4 (GW)

Is it possible to be continually joyful? Can you “always” be joyful? Most people really don’t enjoy life – they endure it. Their lives are filled with stress and there’s very little room for joy.

This morning I want us to look at a strategy for dealing with stress. Paul gives us four very simple and profound statements on how to manage stress in your life:

I. STEP ONE: Worry About NOTHING

Paul tells us in verse six of Philippians chapter four:

“Be anxious for nothing.” Philippians 4:6 (NKJV)

The Holman translation says:

“Don’t worry about anything.” Philippians 4:6 (HCSB)

The Message Bible says:

“Don’t fret or worry.” Philippians 4:6 (MSG)

Without a doubt – Paul is saying that worry should not be a part of our lives. Worry kills joy and is a major source of stress in our lives. Smithsonian magazine calls the time we are living in: “The Age of Anxiety”.

Dr. Walter Cavert has done studies on your worries. He has discovered that:

40% of our worries never happen
30% of our worries concern the past
12% of our worries are needless worries about your health
10% of our worries are insignificant or petty concerns
8% of our worries are really legitimate concerns

Worry is worthless. It cannot change the past or control the future – all it does is mess up the “right now”. It uses up an incredible amount of energy and places a tremendous amount of stress on an individual. When we worry about things – they seem to get bigger and bigger. Some of us are very creative about worry. But the Bible says:

“Don’t worry about anything.” Philippians 4:6 (HCSB)

This is probably this is the hardest command to obey. It was such an important subject that Jesus even taught about worry when He said:

“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds