What does the Bible say about stress? In this video, discover how to cope with stress as Richard Ames examines instruction and principles from Scripture, giving you seven ways to de-stress from every challenge in life.
[The text below represents an edited transcript of this Tomorrow’s World program.]
Millions, if not billions, of people around the world are experiencing major stress in their lives adversely affecting their health. Are you one of those whose stress negatively affects your success and happiness? How happy are Americans? The World Happiness Report summarized “The Sad State of Happiness in the United States and the Role of Digital Media”: “The years since 2010 have not been good ones for happiness and well-being among Americans…. Happiness and life satisfaction among United States adolescents, which increased between 1991 and 2011, suddenly declined after 2012…. Thus, by 2016–17, both adults and adolescents were reporting significantly less happiness than they’d had in the 2000s” (WorldHappiness.report, March 20, 2019).
My friends, how can you overcome stress and live a life of success and happiness? Your Bible gives proven keys to cope with the challenges of life, and keys to produce lasting happiness and success.
We all face major stresses in our lives, but you CAN find the way to true success and contentment. You can meet the challenges of stress, and even produce success and happiness, IF you follow the ancient and proven keys revealed in your Bible.
Warm greetings to all our friends around the world!
The world is facing dangers, nationally and personally. The COVID-19 pandemic and the war in the Ukraine cause worry and anxiety. Many fear a World War III, or even a more severe disease pandemic. As we accelerate our technology and pace of life in our 21st century, millions experience increasing stress, depression, and physical illness.
Regular viewers of Tomorrow’s World have seen these biblical trends, prophesied long ago, coming to pass here in the 21st century. Our news headlines seem to present a never-ending series of conflicts, wars, and riots. The global pandemic and financial crisis have severely damaged many nations and peoples. Natural disasters are setting new records of devastation, death, and destruction.
Can we survive under these stresses? Can we even succeed in spite of stress? Can we experience happiness in our danger-filled world? We’ll answer those questions on today’s program.
How successful are we coping with stress? The American Psychological Association stated: “Around three-quarters of adults (76%) say they have experienced health impacts due to stress in the prior month…” (“Stress in America 2022,” APA.org, October, 2022). We also saw that The World Happiness Report stated that “The years since 2010 have not been good ones for happiness and well-being among Americans….” The report also stated that adolescents have been seriously affected: “Adolescents spent less time attending religious services (Twenge et al., 2015), less time reading books and magazines (Twenge et al., 2019b), and (perhaps most crucially) less time sleeping (Twenge et al., 2017). These declines are not due to time spent on homework, which has declined or stayed the same, or time spent on extracurricular activities, which has stayed about the same (Twenge & Park, 2019). The only activity adolescents have spent significantly more time on during the last decade is digital media…the amount of time adolescents spend online increased at the same time that sleep and in-person social interaction declined, in tandem with a decline in general happiness.”
On today’s program, we’ll share with you seven strategies for success and happiness in times of stress. And be sure to write down the contact information to order your free audio CD, “Vital Keys to Happiness.”
STRATEGY NUMBER ONE for success and happiness in times of stress is: SEEK THE HIGHEST GOALS IN LIFE. Millions of people seek the wrong goals in life. Many set wealth and possessions as the sign of success. The more money, designer clothes, luxury cars, and glittering possessions, the more successful in life they think they are. But your Bible emphasizes greater values in life. Proverbs 8:10, for example: “Receive my instruction, and not silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold; for wisdom is better than rubies, and all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her.”
When you seek the true values in life, you can put into perspective the carnal passions that produce stress. One of the most important passages in your Bible discusses the common need for food and clothing. In Matthew the sixth chapter, the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, commented on those of little faith. People were stressed over their physical needs. What did Jesus tell them? Matthew 6:31; “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things” (Matthew 6:31–32).
Here we find an awesome truth that many reject. In rejecting that truth, they reject the very solution to their problem. God is the giver of every good and perfect gift, as it tells us in James 1:17. And He has promised to fulfill all our need in Philippians 4:19. My friends, you need to listen to what Jesus told those who lacked faith. Read that in your own Bible. Matthew 6:33: “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
When you set the right priorities in life, you can overcome many worries and anxieties. STRATEGY NUMBER ONE: Seek the Highest Goals in Life. STRATEGY NUMBER TWO for success and happiness in times of stress is: CLAIM GOD’S PROMISES.
Your Bible is a treasure house of God’s sure and wonderful promises for you. If you have your Bible, turn to 2 Peter 1:2. The Apostle Peter gives us strong encouragement! He writes to us: “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us [Listen to this] EXCEEDINGLY GREAT AND PRECIOUS PROMISES, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:2–4).
I’ve listed some of these wonderful promises in previous programs. And I encourage you to make your own personal list of God’s promises. God has promised to answer our prayers (Matthew 7–8); He has promised to fulfill all our needs (Philippians 4:19); He has promised to guide our lives (Proverbs 3:5–6); He has promised us long life, if we honor our father and mother (Ephesians 6:2–3); He has promised to give us the desires of our heart, IF we delight in Him (Psalm 37:4–5); He has promised us peace of mind (Philippians 4:6–7); He has promised us the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; Luke 11:13); He has promised us the gift of His love (Romans 5:5); and He has promised us eternal life (1 John 2:25).
And there are many, many more promises in the Bible for you and your family, and for all human beings on earth, IF you will come to God in prayer, and in faith, through our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Yes, Apply STRATEGY NUMBER TWO: CLAIM GOD’S PROMISES.
STRATEGY NUMBER THREE for success and happiness in times of stress is: PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING THAT WORRIES YOU.
Turn in your Bible to Job 3:25. Are you what some call in the vernacular, a “worry-wart”? Do you let your fears and worries produce emotional and physical stress in your life? The patriarch Job said, “For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me” (Job 3:25).
Job expected his fears to materialize. He did not pray about his fears. My friends, you need to acknowledge your fears and worries and ask God for His help! What was the Apostle Paul’s solution for anxiety? How do you cope with worry and fearful concern? Let’s read this amazing biblical strategy in Philippians 4:6: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” In other words, share your worries, your fears, and your concerns with God in prayer!
Do you CONFRONT your worries, concerns, and fears? Pray about EVERYTHING that worries you. Share your intimate thoughts with God. He knows them anyway! Now, notice HOW you pray about everything. Remember Philippians 4:6: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, WITH THANKSGIVING, let your requests be made known to God.” The Apostle Paul says to pray with thanksgiving! Thank God for all your blessings. Thank God for the very privilege of asking for His intervention, and for victory over your anxieties. STRATEGY NUMBER THREE for success and happiness in times of stress is: PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING THAT WORRIES YOU. And pray with an attitude of thanksgiving. Thank God that He is WILLING to help you overcome your anxieties and fears, and that He’s willing to give you peace of mind.
STRATEGY NUMBER FOUR for success and happiness in times of stress is: MAINTAIN A POSITIVE MIND. The Apostle Paul experienced stress, trials, and tribulations. He wrote in 2 Corinthians 11: “From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep” (2 Corinthians 11:24–25). How did he cope with those stresses? He focused on maintaining a positive attitude. Even when Paul was in prison, he wrote encouragement to others. Turn in your Bible to Philippians 4:8. Paul exhorts us to think on these subjects: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8–9).
Think about those things that are TRUE! What is true? Jesus prayed to the Father in John 17:17, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” The Bible, God’s word, is TRUTH. Think about those scriptures that are important to you. Read your Bible. Highlight or underline those verses that mean something special or significant to you! My friends, we must read the Bible. I encourage you to read your Bible every day! God’s word will inspire you. It will help clean up your thoughts and mind. As Jesus said in John 15:3, “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you” (King James Version).
STRATEGY NUMBER FOUR for surviving stress is: MAINTAIN A POSITIVE ATTITUDE.
STRATEGY NUMBER FIVE for success and happiness in times of stress is: DETERMINE TO DO GOD’S WILL. In fact, the model prayer Jesus gave, instructs us to pray, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
One of the greatest keys for success and happiness is to do God’s will. One of the Bible themes from Genesis to Revelation, is that obedience to God’s way of life and His commandments brings blessings. Disobedience brings curses. My friends, pray that you can fulfill God’s law of love. Pray that God’s will be done in your life. Read your Bible daily to know God’s will. Read the sermon on the mount in Matthew 5, 6, and 7. Jesus said in Matthew 5:7, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” Several Bible versions translate the word blessed as “happy.” Yes, “Happy are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”
Many make the mistake of setting happiness as an end or a goal in itself. They become frustrated because they are not growing, learning, giving, or sharing. As Dennis Prager, in his Reader’s Digest article “A Simple Truth About Happiness,” wrote, one “secret” to happiness “is realizing that happiness is a byproduct of something else. The most obvious sources are those pursuits that give our lives purpose—anything from studying insects to playing baseball. The more passions we have, the more happiness we’re likely to experience” (June 1998, p. 99). My friends, be careful not to make “happiness” an OBSESSIVE goal. Such people remind me of the comic strip “Luann.” The student Luann is confiding to her counselor Miss Phelps, “Last week I decided to give up TRYING to be happy.” In the last frame of the comic strip, Luann concludes, “And now I’m MUCH happier” (News America Syndicate, March 19, 1986).
God’s will is that you give to others and share your life. As Jesus stated in Acts 20:35, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Or as the Moffatt translation has it, “To give is happier than to get.”
Fulfilling GOD’S WILL includes MANY biblical principles of loving others. For example, Jesus taught us to forgive others. Again, you can read that in the model prayer in Matthew 6:12. Have you forgiven anyone recently? Forgiveness can even help one to overcome depression, according to Paul Meier, M.D. Dr. Meier writes in his book Don’t Let Jerks Get the Best of You, “A patient can be depressed for many years, then FORGIVE the one who caused his repressed anger and totally recover from the depression, because his serotonin has been restored naturally and the brain is able to work correctly” (1993, p. 170. Emphasis added).
Forgiving others can produce peace of mind. And doing GOD’S WILL can turn your depressed life around and bring you joy and happiness. STRATEGY NUMBER FIVE for success and happiness in times of stress is: DETERMINE TO DO GOD’S WILL. STRATEGY NUMBER SIX: REPENT AND SURRENDER YOUR LIFE TO GOD.
The Pharisees and the scribes complained that Jesus was spending time with tax collectors and sinners. So, Jesus gave the parable of the lost sheep. The owner of one hundred sheep leaves the 99 and goes after the lost one. He rejoices when he finds the lost sheep. Jesus said in LUKE 15:7, “I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”
Then Jesus gave the parable of the lost coin and emphasized the same principle in verse 10: “Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10). My friends, true happiness begins by repenting of your sins. After repentance and baptism, God gives the awesome gift of the Holy Spirit, as you read in Acts 2:38. STRATEGY NUMBER SIX for success and happiness in times of stress is: REPENT AND SURRENDER YOUR LIFE TO GOD.
CAN WE conquer our fears, worries, and anxieties? Yes, we can, with God’s help. We must maintain a positive and tranquil mind. And our final strategy will help us do that. STRATEGY NUMBER SEVEN for success and happiness in times of stress is: THANK GOD CONTINUALLY.
If you have your Bible, turn to 1 Thessalonians 5:16. Be sure to mark these verses in your Bible. 1 Thessalonians 5:16. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16–18).
A thankful person will be a happy person. Again, Dennis Prager, in his Reader’s Digest article “A Simple Truth About Happiness,” wrote: “The first secret is gratitude. All happy people are grateful. Ungrateful people cannot be happy” (Prager, p. 99).
Have you observed that characteristic in others, or in yourself? Rick Foster and Greg Hicks, authors of How We Choose To Be Happy, put it simply; “Happy people actively appreciate their lives and express gratitude and thanks to the people around them” (1999).
And remember the Scripture we read earlier in the program; Philippians 4:6; “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, WITH THANKSGIVING, let your requests be made known to God.”
THE SEVENTH and FINAL STRATEGY for success and happiness in times of stress is: THANK GOD CONTINUALLY.
On today’s program we’ve discussed seven vital keys to success and happiness in times of stress. My friends, when you apply these biblical principles, they’ll help you have a joy-filled and happy life. The Messiah, Jesus Christ came to this earth as an act of love. He gave His life for the world, that we might be forgiven. YOU can be forgiven. And you can begin a new life in Christ. As Jesus said in John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” And remember what the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:4: “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”
May God bless you with peace of mind and the success and happiness that come from living God’s way of life.
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Is your life filled with happiness, contentment and success? The Bible contains vital principles that, when followed, can help you live the “abundant life” that God promises for those who live according to His word. The three programs on this CD reveal vital insights from Scripture that could change your life forever!