I’m so excited to kick off this online study with all of you who have signed up from around the world! This is a stressful time we live in, regardless of where we call home, and my prayer is that this study will take you on a journey to learning to truly embrace and feel the peace Jesus offers and learn to rest in trusting God with all circumstances of your life.
Peace does not come due to an absence of problems, but because of the Presence of a peaceful God in our heart. (click to tweet) If you have been looking for stress relief in all the wrong places, or you have to accept that overwhelming stress is just always going to be part of your life, I hope this study will serve beneficial for you and that God will do a mighty work in your heart. Remember, you have nothing to lose, but a new peaceful life to gain.
Each Monday for the next 6 weeks, I’ll share a devotion with you, a link to a brief video, and your reading assignments. So, without further adieu, here we go!
Does Jesus really understand what it means to be stressed?
I used to wonder about the answer to this question too, until I got desperate enough to ask Him myself.
For years, I was under the impression that the Bible was not a resource for handling stress, much less for finding stress management tips. However, although the word “stress” was not a commonly used term in biblical times, Jesus referred to stress consistently through synonyms which can be found in every Bible translation and on practically every page. Synonyms such as anxiety, worry, troubles, fears, burdens, anguish, dismay, strain, trials, tribulations and adversity, just to name a few.
He spoke of the heartache of anxieties, fears, frustrations and betrayal; the sadness of deceit, the pull of temptation, and the devastation of sin. He tells of difficult circumstances taking place in politics, churches, relationships, marriages, families, parenting, sexual sin, in communities and the world as a whole.
Despite the differences between biblical times and the 21st century, the presence of stress and our need for Jesus is the same. The lack of the term “stress” certainly did not keep Jesus from understanding a stressful life, or from promising the peace we would need to hear and apply in today’s busy, chaotic, stressful world.
It didn’t keep Him from voicing encouragement and reminding us of the hope that is available in Him that is applicable no matter what century we live in. Jesus knew we would be stressed, so He not only addressed it, He provided the solutions for dealing with it.
You see, throughout each chapter of the Bible, Jesus teaches us how to celebrate and enjoy life, despite life.
How to find joy, despite circumstances. How to overcome stress, despite the constant balancing act that we all experience. How to not only survive the storms of life, but how to stay afloat in the midst of them. From Genesis to Revelation, we can discover infinite suggestions for biblical stress relief, if only we seek them out, and recognize that He holds the answers we need.
Stress is not a sign of the times; it’s a sign of living. Always has been, and always will be. Our stressors may be different today than when Jesus walked the earth, but nonetheless, the overwhelming power that stress holds over our hearts is the same.
Maybe you have tried massages, pedicures, vacations, relaxation techniques, shopping therapy and listening to soft music to help you manage your stress. Maybe you have tried bubble baths, hot tubs, quiet reading, grown-up time outs, and studying stress management books and self-help websites. Or maybe you have even tried drugs or alcohol to help you cope with stressful situations in your life, but always find yourself facing the same problems the very next day.
Maybe you have tried every stress relief tactic known to mankind, to no avail. But have you really given Jesus a try?
All the stress management tactics in the world cannot hold a candle to the real and permanent stress relief that Jesus offers. His methods have withstood the test of time, used by generation after generation for thousands of years. He is the only tried, true and proven stress relief method that there has ever been, or ever will be.
If you have been searching for a peace and serenity that seems completely out of your reach, then just maybe you have simply been searching in all the wrong places.
Dear Jesus, I am drowning in stress, and I have tried everything to relieve it – except for You. Forgive me not trusting You enough to believe that You offer the peace I am searching for. Today, I invite You into my circumstances, and into my life, and ask for You to open my eyes to see the real truth and stress relief that my heart is aching for. In Your Holy Name, Prince of Peace, Amen.
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THIS WEEK’S READING ASSIGNMENT IS CHAPTERS ONE AND TWO