by Kenneth Copeland
Christmas is just weeks away, and many of you are probably feeling stressed. Starting around Thanksgiving time, it seems that the stress level in the atmosphere goes up a few notches, and it increases every day until Christmas.
If you’re like a lot of people, stress at Christmas is yet another load you must carry, on top of your “normal,” day-to-day stress. And if that’s not bad enough, some people even believe that a little stress is healthy, while others brag about how stressful their lives are. It’s as if being stressed has become a badge of honor, and whoever has the most stress wins!
Nothing could be further from the truth. Stress is burden, overload, pressure and anxiety, and you were not created to lug that weight around with you every day. So, what’s the answer?
The world says to cope with it, and offers everything from books and seminars to expensive counseling sessions to help you live with it. But the Bible says don’t cope with stress—get rid of it!
Does this situation sound familiar?
You go to bed at night with something on your mind. You’re trying to understand: How am I going to get out of this? What are we going to do?
You go over the whole thing in your mind, but you don’t have an answer. So, you go back through the whole thing again, still without an answer. You try to go to sleep, but you can’t let the problem go. So you spend most of the night rehearsing the entire situation, slowly going over every detail step by step. And by the time you get through it again, you don’t have any more answers than you did at the beginning.
The answer to your problem wasn’t in your head. In fact, it only made matters worse because now you’re frustrated and tired. Your problem is still there, so what should you do?
Rest in Him
Proverbs 3:5 exposes the source of stress and gives us the answer to it: “Trust in The LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
If you’re leaning to your own understanding about something, you don’t understand that you’re in a mess. Stress is caused not by hard work but by failing to find the right object of our trust. The way out of that mess, and the stress of it, is to trust in The LORD with all your heart.
If we’re going to have a Proverbs 3:5 answer to that challenge, we will need to remember what trust is. Noah Webster, in his 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, defined trust as: “Resting the mind on the integrity, veracity, friendship and sound principles of another person.”
Take No Thought
How do you rest your mind on God? In Matthew 6:24-34, KJV, Jesus repeated the answer to that question five times: Take no thought. No thought about your life, what you will eat, drink, wear. In other words, health, safety and provision.
Now if you’ll think about it, those basic necessities of life that Jesus said to take no thought about are at the root of nearly all our stresses.
The word mammon (verse 24) literally means “money.” Notice that Jesus didn’t say that you can’t have money and serve God; He said you can’t serve money and serve God. Serving money is constantly worrying about getting your needs met by the world’s ways or system.
You shouldn’t be serving money. Money should be serving you as you serve God and others with your money.
Let God Do the Adding
Now the fact that we need to be trusting God—not money; not the world’s way of doing things—is not new to us. The challenge has been the process. How do we “take no thought” about those basic needs of life? How do we stop relying on a lifetime of training in how to be our own gods by taking care of ourselves?
If you’re not going to take thought about the needs of this life, which your heavenly Father already knows about, then you are going to have to take thoughts about something else.
In verse 33, Jesus tells us what we are to think about: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God [His covenant; His way of doing things], and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33, KJV).
Do you see where our stress has come from? Instead of having God add to us what we need, and the dreams and desires of our hearts, we’ve been trying to add them to ourselves.
When you think about it, there are only three ways we can add to ourselves, and none of them work very well. One, you can steal. You know better than to do that. Two, you can borrow. That doesn’t benefit anyone except the credit card company. Three, you can work hard and save. That’s good, but the world can do that, and even that is not enough if you don’t have the grace of God in it.
Obviously, we’re not supposed to add to ourselves. If we seek first the kingdom of God, all these things will be added to us. That’s God’s way.
Better Plans Than You Can Dream
The next time the devil tries to trouble you to take some of those worried thoughts about the basic needs of life, remind him what Jesus said in Matthew 6:32. Tell him, “No, I’m not taking those thoughts. My heavenly Father knows I have need of those things. So, I’ll continue to focus my thinking on His covenant promises to me.”
If the thought comes that you’ll never have anything if you don’t figure out how to do it yourself, remember to consider the lilies of the field that “toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you?” (verses 28-30, KJV).
God has plans to meet your needs and desires on a scale much grander than even the glory of Solomon’s wealth and possessions.
Get Rid of the Stress This Christmas
What can you do about stress this Christmas? Get rid of it! Trust God with your whole heart, take no thought about your basic needs, and seek the kingdom of God first.
Refuse to worry! Fill your mind with the promises God has given you. Speak and act on God’s WORD in faith. Consider Jesus—not your body, your finances or your situation—and give the care of your harvest to Him.
Then turn over. And go to sleep!
Dare to Shine His Light on Stress This Christmas!
- Are you worrying or “taking thought” about the basic needs of life —what you will eat, drink and wear? Make a list of all the worries you’re carrying and put them in categories. How many are considered basic needs?
- Remember, God knows you have these needs, and He promises to take care of you. Choose to roll the care and the worry of these basic needs onto The LORD. Most importantly, refuse to take them back! Release them to Him in faith, and ask Him to do a tangible work in your life.
- If you’ve accepted stress as a normal part of life, it’s time to renew your mind in The WORD of God! Study and memorize verses about peace, joy and casting your cares upon Him. Let them sink into your spirit until they become a natural part of your thinking.
- Whenever you are tempted to worry or stress about a situation, say out loud, “I take no thought about that! God has provided for me, and I receive it in Jesus’ Name!”
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