Over the years as I’ve met with men and women to talk about their spiritual health, I’ve been amazed to discover that there’s one thing that limits believers more than anything else. In fact, I’d say it’s the number one reason that most American Christians miss reaching their full potential as an instrument of the Kingdom. Stress.
I’ve heard it said that stress is nothing more than a “socially acceptable form of mental illness,” and in a way, I completely agree! Our society tells us that stress is just a normal emotion and all we can do is live with it. But Scripture says something different!
When Jesus was teaching the parable of the seeds, it’s clear that He regarded the worries of life to be a limiting factor in our relationship with Him. Take a look at what Jesus says in Mark 4:3-19 (emphasis mine):
“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up…. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times… (Some people), like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.”
Our Lord teaches here that there are essentially three things that can come into your life and choke out God’s Word in your heart: worry, trusting in worldly wealth, and discontentment with God’s blessings. Isn’t that interesting? And when it comes down to it, the root sin of worry is idolatry. When the stresses of the world steal the joy that God has meant for you to have, you are committing a form of idolatry by taking your focus off Him and putting it on something else!
Now, one simple truth about stress is that it breeds more stress. The path of a worrisome life is a circular one, leading you to more and more anxiety as you worry about your worries. It’s like getting on a carousel that, before you know it, is going too fast for you to get off!
But when God created us, He knew you and I would have a propensity to worry about worldly things. So when those anxieties hit, He wants us to take them and place them all on Him because He is the one who’s really in control. In 1 Peter 5:7, we’re told, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” -1 Peter 5:7
So whatever powers the cycle of stress in your life—whether it’s finances, family issues, health problems, or uncertainty about the future—you can have full confidence that when you let go and step off the dangerous carousel of worry, God will be there to catch you in His loving arms.
When worries and stress seem to be overwhelming you, I want you to remember this simple phrase: Let go and let God. Because when you cast all your anxieties upon Him, you’ll experience the freedom and joy that He so deeply desires for you!