In the last post we looked at 3 stress reducers this holiday season from Philippians 4, now we’ll look at one more stress reducer and a guarantee of peace. To have less stress…
Think About The Right Things
To reduce stress in your life you must change the way your think. The stress is in yourself not outside. Your mind is a special gift from God. Your mind is capable of storing over 100 trillion thoughts. It can handle enormous things. You have been given by God the freedom to choose what you think about.
“finally brothers, whatever is true … noble .. right .. pure … lovely … admirable — If anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
You need to choose what you think about and think about the right things. What we put into our minds affects our lives.
What I see that some people allow to enter their minds, no wonder they are under stress. Many people, even Christians, are totally indiscriminate about what they allow to enter their minds. They are allowing all kinds of trash garbage and reading material and movies and songs that are downers. Then they wonder why they are depressed. What you think affects the way you feel; the way you feel affects the way you act. Guard your mind. Keep your mind on the right things.
Paul is saying this involves a deliberate, conscious choice. Change the channels of your mind. When a thought comes into your mind, ask “Is this true, noble, right…?” If it’s not, reject it.
These eight words are eight filters. If the thoughts are not: true … noble .. right .. pure … lovely … admirable…excellent or praiseworthy. Don’t think about them. Don’t allow them to get into your mind, because it’s going to create stress.
Proverbs 23:7 “As a man thinks in his heart, so he is.” (KJV) What dominates your mind? What do you think about the most? The root cause of stress is the way I choose to think.
Insight: Whatever I think about is what I am becoming.
If you don’t like the way you’re headed, change what you think about. Change the direction of your thought life.
“If you do this you will experience God’s Peace which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your heart quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.” v. 7.
There is a promise of guaranteed peace of mind. People are looking everywhere for peace of mind. They try pills, fads, therapy, rock crystals, stress reduction seminars and listen to tapes, books — anything to give just a little peace of mind. Paul says, God’s peace is a gift to you. It is a gift that cannot be explained, duplicated, fabricated or understood. It is the sense of peace that comes over your life.
How do I maintain that kind of peace?
“… as you trust in Christ Jesus.” Paul is not taking about a religion; he’s talking about a relationship with God’s Son Jesus Christ. At The Ridge we say to KNOW Christ. You were made with a God-shaped vacuum in your life and when you try to fill that with anything else it’s like trying to put a square into a round hole — it doesn’t fit. We try to fill our lives with popularity, power, pleasure, possessions or prestige and they don’t fit. God made you to KNOW Him. Nobody is here on the earth by accident. He made you for a purpose. The starting point of that purpose is to understand that He made you for a relationship. He wants you to KNOW Him. And when you know Him there is a sense of peace that comes into your life. Then you begin to GROW like Him. This is process. Start that relationship, continue to grow by praying, thinking about what is right and being in a Growth Group.
This passage also says, “His peace will keep your thoughts…” The word “keep” in the Greek is a military term. It means a sentry guard, a garrison, or a detachment of soldiers. The book of Philippians was written to a group of people who lived in the city of Philippi in Greece. The city of Philippi was a Roman colony that was protected by the Roman legion. The people knew this word very well for they knew the Roman legion kept the peace in Philippi. Paul used the word that he knew everybody would know and says, that’s the way God will guard your mind and heart when you have a relationship with Jesus Christ and trust Him moment by moment. Instead of worrying about everything, you pray about everything. And you thank God for all things and keep your mind on the right things. God will put a garrison, a sentry guard, around your heart and when worry comes knocking at the door He will protect you with His peace.
What’s got you worried? Finances? the economy? your health? your marriage relationship? your kids? your career? What makes you anxious, that raises the stress level in your life?
How do you normally respond to stress? What is your favorite pattern?
This is God’s alternative to dealing with stress. I Peter 5:7 “Throw the whole weight of your concern on God because He considers you His personal concern.” He carried your sins on the cross, He will carry your stress in the present. Give it to Him.
Let me pray for you,
“God at this time of the year many people are stressed out. I pray that your words to us would reduce stress in our lives. Help us to not be anxious because we are praying about all things. We are excited about the ways you work in our lives that we can GROW like you.” Amen