Dealing With Stress
In these difficult times we often ask ourselves, how am I as a Christian suppose to deal with stress. Whether it’s bills that need to be paid on our income while the cost of goods rises, or caring for loved ones that seem to need constant attention, we all have varying stress factors in our lives.
The number one answer to that question seems too simple, pray. Actually, we should remember to pray given all situations in life. In the book of James in chapter 5, James writes, “Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him" (James 5:13-14)
The word “afflicted” here is the Greek word kakopatheo (kak-op-ath-eh'-o); to undergo hardship: In other words it means undergoing trying stressful periods in your life. This differs from all the other uses of the word afflicted in the New Testament where the words are translated to mean “realization of one’s own wretchedness” or “suffering from physical persecution”
Trouble is part of life, but in the midst of it we have a choice. We can allow God to use it to mold us into who He wants us to be, or we can allow it to beat us down into something less than God’s will for us. James says we should choose to turn to God in prayer “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray.”
We often use Hebrews 10: 24, 25 when we speak of the importance of attendance at each Bible study and worship service. However, when you read the text, you can see the case the writer is building to remain faithful to Christ, which includes Christians assembling together to encourage and stir up love and good works. This goes beyond just gathering together in formal worship services. One way to help deal with difficult times is to spend time together with fellow Christians in social situations.
Interestingly, therapists have found that social networking is good therapy for treating anxiety, depression, and other stress related illnesses. What man is just now discovering, God has known since the beginning of creation. People are social creatures, and we thrive on interaction with others when we have common bonds. Christians should strive to spend more time with one another.
Having friends over for pizza and a game night to forget about your cares for awhile can lift the spirits. Having Bible studies with some of your fellow Christians can take your mind off of your worldly problems and focus on spiritual things for an evening, which can be very rewarding.
The more we fill our time in prayer and fellowship, the less time the devil will have to remind us of our shortcomings and troubles. We can do little to change the economy or make our troubles just go away, but we can choose to find comfort in God and each other.