Summary: This is a sermon dealing with Stress/Worry/Anxiety. The answers - Prayer, Meditation (Bible), Releasing, Receiving and Adapting.
Theme: Stress/Worry/Anxiety and the Christian Life
Proposition: The Bible shares with us some wonderful ways to deal with stress/worry/anxiety 1. Pray 2. Meditate 3. Release and Receive 4. Adapt
Good morning and what a joy to share with you this morning!*
The story is told that one day, Death was walking into a certain city when a man stopped him and asked what Death was planning to do in that city. Death answered by say that he was going to receive 10,000 people that day. The man responded in despair but Death reminded him that his job was to take people when their time was ready. Today, that meant 10, 000 people would be taking their last breath and going into the hereafter.
Later on in the day, Death and the man caught up with each other again. However, this time, the man was furious with Death. The man lashed out at Death and told Death that he had lied to him. This morning, Death had told him that he would only take 10,000 lives and yet, according to all the reports some 70,000 people had died. 60,000 more people had died than Death had said he would receive. The man accused Death of lying and being greedy. Death allowed the man to rant and then stopped the man. Death quickly told the man, "Don't get mad at me, I only took 10,000. Worry killed all the rest." (Adapted from Haddon W. Robinson, What Jesus Said About Successful Living, page 221).
This morning, stress, worry and anxiety can kill a person. In fact, stress has been labeled as the silent assassin. Stress and worry along with anxiety can cause damage to a person's heart and create blood clots that keep a person's blood from flowing properly. Stress/worry and anxiety can lead to heart disease and eventually lead to a person having a heart attack.
The trio of stress/worry/anxiety can be the one of the leading causes of high blood pressure, heart disease, ulcers, stomach problems, panic disorders, headaches, sleep disorders and chronic depression.
Dr. Charles Mayo stated that "Worry affects the circulation, the heart, the glands, the entire nervous system." He also stated that he never knew of a person who had died from overworking, but he did know of many who died due to worry. A person can worry themselves into bad health and even death. But you will never worry yourself into a longer life.
This morning, how many of us honestly have had to deal with worry, anxiety or stress in our lives? Actually, that is a rather silly question. If you are alive this morning, the answer to that question is 100%. And it doesn't matter if you are five years old or 105 five years old we all have to deal with stress/worry or anxiety. More than ever today, our children are having to deal with extended periods of stress, anxiety and worry.
Many people believe that most children live these carefree lives and yet, for many this morning, that is just not the case. Children, especially children here in America are exposed to and have to deal with all kinds of stress/anxiety and worry. They deal with the stress that comes with family, with school and with friends. They deal with the stress of being separated from their parents, competing in sports, adjusting to living in divided households and having to deal with such things as bullying, peer pressure and self-image.
Now, upfront let's take care of a couple of myths or mistaken views that deal with stress/anxiety/worry
MYTH #1 - We can live a stress free life.
Well, you can't. You can't live a stress free life. Stress is a part of the human condition.
MYTH #2 - All stress is bad.
The truth is all stress is not negative. In some ways stress can be a positive thing. It can help us achieve and strive. Stress can help us face challenges and grow as humans. The key to dealing with stress involves how we manage the stress that comes into our lives.
MYTH#3 - If we are overwhelmed with stress it means that we are sinning and not trusting God.
Now, that is just silly. It is true that the mismanagement and mishandling of stress can lead us to into sin and it can make us forget that we must trust God. But, we must also understand that the greatest Christians of all time have had to deal with stress/anxiety/worry. Being overwhelmed with stress does not mean that one has backslid or that one is in trouble spiritually. It just means that one needs to reach out to the LORD.
So, if stress is just a part of the human condition and all we need to do is manage it, then what are some of the steps we can use to help us manage the stress in our lives? In other words, how can we learn to find balance in our lives? What does the Bible say that can help us deal with stress/worry/anxiety? How can we work on the stress/worry/anxiety in our lives as a part of our daily spiritual discipline.