Tuesday, September 8, 2009

FRIDAY- A STRATEGY FOR REDUCING STRESS, by Rick Warren

THE RESULT
"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. You were made with a God-shaped vacuum in your life and when you try to fill that with anything else it's tlike 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 accienet. 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.

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.