Summary: surviving the trials of life

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Illustration:Traits characteristic of the stress-prone:

1. Plans day unrealistically

2. First to arrive, last to leave

3. Always in a hurry

4. Makes no plan for relaxation

5. Feels guilty about doing anything other than work

6. Sees unforeseen problem as a setback or disaster

7. Is always thinking about several other things when working

8. Feels need to be recognized and overextends because of this

If this sounds like you in any way, I’ve got good news for you today, God doesn’t want you to just survive, but thrive.

I heard that statement this week, and that is our title for today:

Don’t Just Survive, Thrive

Philippians 4:4-9

I was reading some materials this week and someone suggested this was Paul’s stress reduction plan. In these verses he gave the keys for a victorious life in Christ. I hope this will be a helpful message for those who are just surviving life, and that you will thrive in God. Before we look at these: let’s look at a dangerous list of what happens to us if we don’t get our mind and emotions under God’s care:

Conclusion:Symptoms of stress overload:

1. Decision-making becomes difficult (both major and minor kinds).

2. Excessive daydreaming or fantasizing about "getting away from it all."

3. Increased use of cigarettes and/or alcohol.

4. Increased use of tranquilizers and "uppers."

5. Thoughts trail off while speaking or writing.

6. Excessive worrying about all things.

7. Sudden outbursts of temper and hostility.

8. Paranoid ideas and mistrust of friends and family.

9. Forgetfulness for appointments, deadlines, dates.

10. Frequent spells of brooding and feeling of inadequacy.

11. Reversals in usual behavior.

Keith W. Wehnert, Stress/Unstress, 1981, Augsburg

Here are Paul’s keys to thrive, not just survive:

1. Learn To Rejoice—v.4 maybe Paul saw that joy had slipped out of many of the believer’s lives. Joy is an essential part of life, having a sense of humor, learning to laugh at yourself, learning to enjoy the simple things in life will help you thrive.

· Take a daily inventory of all the blessings you have in life. Don’t get bogged down with all your problems, count your blessings.

· Let the joy of the Lord—a knowledge of Christ in your life will help you as you face the wear and tear of daily life.

· Take time for the things that cause you joy. Don’t get so into living that you forget to really live. Take time, make time for the things that you really enjoy.

2. Learn to Relax—v.5—moderation—you don’t have to save the universe today. Don’t stay uptight, learn to take life in stride, learn to take a day at a time.

· Moderation—don’t let your highs be too high or your lows be too low, learn to pace your life for the long run, don’t live life like a continual sprint.

· Let others witness your moderate spirit, when someone comes around you, let them sense a calming effect on their life; let them see you handling life in stride.

3. Don’t let your emotions rule your life—v.6a- be careful for nothing—don’t let worries burden you down, don’t try to fight tomorrows battles today. Take one day at a time.

a. Hebrews 12 tells us to avoid the sins and the weights that keep us from winning the race of life. One of the greatest weights is anxiety.

b. Learn to trust God in everything—don’t lean on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths. Galatians 6:6-9

c. Most things we worry about, most of the dread we fear, never happens. Don’t cross bridges before you get there.

4. Pray Things Through—6b—let your requests be known to God.

· Let God handle it and go to sleep. The people of God couldn’t enter rest because of unbelief. Today it is the same, we will not have rest until we learn to give things to God.

· We don’t believe God just hears prayer, but answers pray. God specializes in things thought impossible, and He will do what no other power can do.

· Prayer doesn’t just change things, it changes you.

5. Let God Settle You—v.7 the peace of God—I’m trading my sorrows, I’m trading my pain, I’m laying it down for the joy of the Lord.

· Learn to face everything in light of God’s Word.

· Learn to see things from God’s point of view.

· God doesn’t want to just save your soul, He wants to give you peace, love and joy into your spirit.

6. Look for the Good not the Bad—v.8 this should be a verse that everyone should read before they face any day. Look for good things instead of bad things.

· We live in a negative society where news is bad, even the weather always has a chance of rain. You never hear there is a 100 % chance of things going good. So you must guard your heart by looking for the good, and if you look for the good you will find it.

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