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Summary: When we have to cope for the long term, we need to implement God’s template for doing so. Distraction is a key element in this process, but needs to be viewed as part of the whole process.

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The Power of Distraction

(Philippians 4:1-9)

1. The psychology professor was giving an oral test. She asked, "How would you diagnose a patient who screaming at the top of his lungs one minute, then sits in a chair weeping uncontrollably the next?"

A sports-minded young man answered, "He's probably a basketball coach?" [funnp.com]

2. We have our high and low times in life. For example, one blogger wrote, “Today, my girlfriend broke up with me, saying, "I'm not ready for a serious relationship." We're supposed to get married in a month.”

3. This is a low time for this fellow, a hard experience to get through.

4. Life can hold other, longer-term heartbreaks, issues, burdens. Disappointments, conditions or situations that drag on for years or decades.

Main Idea: When we have to cope for the long term, we need to implement God’s template for doing so. Distraction is a key element in this process, but needs to be viewed as part of the whole process.

God gives us a strategy to help us cope with life. We need to take it out of mothballs and put it to work.

I. Advice for Coping That Sometimes Gets the PUBLICITY in the Pulpit

A. PARTICIPATING in church life, the good and the bad (1-3)

The Philippian church suffered from conflict. Some Christians take off at the slightest conflict. You work things out when you sense you have to.

Like marriage, if you leave yourself the option of escaping, you won’t address…

B. REJOICING in the Lord (4)

C. Maturing in the Lord demonstrated by SENSIBILITY (5a)

Biblical wisdom

Self-restraint

Patience and humility

Information not enough; must have sense

D. Consoling ourselves with the HOPE of Jesus’ return (5b)

E. Facing that we are ANXIOUS, disappointed, depressed (6a)

1. The same word is used for being concerned about others…

2. Worry or anxiety is not evil, in moderation; caution, for example is good

3. When we feel distraught or debilitated by worry, that’s another level.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9, “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;”

F. POURING out our concerns to God in prayer with thanksgiving (6b-7)

1. Relief, not cure

2. Result: a sense of God’s peace

God gives us a strategy to help us cope with life. We need to take it out of mothballs and put it to work.

II. Crucial Advice that Is NEGLECTED or Misunderstood (8-9)

Last year, we memorized Philippians 4:8-9, some key verses in

These additions fortify the above for the long term.

A. We need to DISTRACT ourselves with good things (8)

1. The NEED for distractions

a) Interests do a lot for us: they relax us, make us more interesting to other people, expand our minds/skills, help us unwind, balance, refresh us.

b) God gives us good things to distract us to help us cope with life.

c) If you have a long-term issues — an disappointing marriage, a physical limitation, financial pressures, a nasty boss, wayward children…you have to cope for a long time. You need a long-term coping strategy, and finding wholesome distractions is a crucial part of it.


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