So far this year is the year of: “stress and anxiety!” The year is flying by and with all the issues from the pandemic to the protests, it’s a year like no other. We have seen increases in violence, suicides, and rage over mask wearing. Where’s the joy and where’s the civility in our culture?
I have found that when my focus is on the world’s issues, my anxiety goes up. But when I’m focused in the right place, that’s when the stress stops consuming me. When life’s focus is in tune with God, anxiety cannot overwhelm.
Many times the scriptures speak about giving praise and thanksgiving to God and I believe that’s the best way to keep sanity, in a world going nuts. Psalm 100:4 says; “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” That short text speaks volumes in how we can clam down and live above the world’s issues.
Enter God’s courts.
Come to God through Jesus the savior. When you submit to God and turn away from self, God will reveal himself and his peace will be with you. You enter the gates of the Lord’s presence by prayer, scripture reading, fellowship and worship (Acts 2:42).
Give God praise.
After giving your life to God, give him praise. The word for “worship” in the original language of the bible is a word that means; “To turn and kiss.” In worship you turn away from self and turn toward Christ in humble adoration and intimacy with him. The bible tells us to praise God for who he is, his mighty acts, and all he has done.
Psalm 103:1-2 says; “Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” That Psalm goes on to reminds us of the benefits of knowing the Lord and how he forgives us, heals us, guides us, and is with us. When your focus is on the Lord and his benefits, you can’t help but worship him. As you praise the Lord, the world’s problems won’t consume you, because worship puts eternity in prospective.
Be thankful to God.
Like the old song says: “Count your blessings name them one by one, count your many blessings see what God has done.” If you have nothing else to be thankful for, be thankful you’re alive. Thank the Lord for your friends and family, thank him for the freedoms you enjoy and that Jesus frees you from the bondage of sin. Thankfulness is important because when we’re thankful, the focus is off the world’s problems because I’m focused on all that God has done.
Stress and anxiety are facts in these days, but you don’t have to be overwhelmed by them. You have control of what you put in your mind and control of how you respond to the craziness.
Philippians 4:5-7 says; “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
What a great promise, if you need peace, submit to God by trusting in Christ, then pray and be thankful because as Jesus said in John 16:33 (NLT); “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” In your relationship with Jesus Christ you can have peace, even in a world that makes no sense.
Pastor Rich Lammay of High Sierra Fellowship is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers’ Association