Summary: This messsage talked about what happens when we get stressed over the pressure of an overload of workand lack of sleep and we choose the ways of the world for a solution rather than the ways of Jesus.
I’m Stressed—Give Me Chips
“Do not conform to the pattern of the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” Romans 12:12
What does it feel like to be stressed? It could feel you are under pressure from an overload of work and lack of sleep. You are feeling a little bit irritable and bity toward others and you are in a bad mood. I’m stressed—Give me chips! Chips is what we think will make us feel better, and we open the biggest bag we can find and start with one chip and keep reaching our hand into the bag until there are no more. The chips were good while they lasted, but they didn’t take the stressful situation away.
1. The Ways of the World: Romans 12:2 says, ‘Do not conform to the pattern of the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Why do you suppose Paul wrote this? Another scripture answers this question when we are not feeling peaceful inside. Jesus told his disciples, “My peace I give you not as the world gives give I you.” Jesus had something more lasting than a bag of chips even though that is what we think we want and need. Without hesitation we conform to the ways of the world seeking something that deceives us with empty calories having no nutrients to benefit us. When stress causes anxiety to rise, Jesus has a remedy. He said, “My peace I give you.” The peace that Jesus gives is able to take care of the stressors better than anything else. The Psalmist said, “When anxiety was great with me, your consolation (comfort) brought me joy.” (Psalm 94:19). Stressors at work often follow us home making demands on our choices. If not chips, the refrigerator door opens and closes far too often but nothing satisfies as we thought it would because we are conforming to the pull of the world and forgetting the solid promises of God. In our world the hips win out more often than not. It doesn’t matter if they are original, honey barbeque, sour cream, or onion. Just give me hips. Although our reach goes beyond the bag of chips, the world has many other enticements that fuel our stress and cause anxiety to rise out of control. We could go any direction but rarely find the satisfaction we are looking for except temporarily.
2. The Solution: Jesus said, “I have a solution for you.” But we often ignore it or don’t recognize it. It would be good if we could take this verse to heart. “As pressure and stress begin to rise” we must learn to nip it in the bud. How do we do it? Philippians 4:6, 7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything but in every situation by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God.” Another verse says, “Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything.” People often make a joke about worry and say, “Oh, I’m just a worry wart;.” But worry lathes on to us and we end up making a mountain out of a molehill. We have been instructed what to do when we find a mountain has popped up through our own making or other circumstances. “For verily I say unto you that whosoever shall say unto this mountain be though removed and be thou cast into the sea, and shall not doubt in his heart, he shall have whatsoever he saith” (Mark 11:23). Stressors become a mountain to us that we can’t climb or go around or tunnel through. Mountains cause frustration and anxiety to loom heavy over us to the point where even chips don’t help anymore. Psalm 119:143 says, “As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your command” (New Living Translation). Many times we continue to live with the pressure for weeks in spite of what scripture tells us to do. Psalm 55:22 in the Message Bible says, ‘Pile your burdens on God’s shoulders—he’ll carry your load. He’ll never let good people topple into ruin. But, you, God will throw others into a muddy bog.” Even that we are told in multiple ways to cast our cares on the Lord, we are slow to do it. I guess the chips look more appealing. I Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (NIV). The New Living Translation ways, “Give all your worries and cares to God for he cares about you”
According to research more anxiety medication is being prescribed than ever before, but it doesn’t seem to do a whole lot of good. Why not go God’s way rather than relying on the methods of the world? We fail to believe that casting our care on God will work. We say, “Give me something tangible—a bag of chips, a prescription pill, or a new pair of shoes. Something I can see and touch will help me.” We try it over and over to no avail.