Joyce Meyer - Five Ways To De-Stress
Stress is the disease of the century. It's a multibillion dollar business. But Оesus said, "I came that you might have peace, my peace I give unto you." So, you have peace. If you are a christian, you have peace in you. If you have received Christ as your Savior, you have received the Prince of Peace. He lives in you. Peace is in you.
I gave an example last night of how if there's a storm, the top layer of a body of water will be wavy, and ripply, and bouncy, and not smooth and calm, but way down deep, that water's still just as calm as it can be. And if we look at ourselves like that, there's always something blowing on the surface of our lives. But peace is defined as a quiet heart and so no matter what's going on in our circumstances, we can maintain a quiet heart.
Now, I'm just gonna say that I believe that's easier for some people than other people. I'd like to say that's not fair, but however God creates us all differently and we all have to learn how to... there's something that's hard for everybody so like my husband, it's very easy for him to cast his care and not worry about things and so he's been a perfect picture of peace throughout our 48-1/2 years of marriage.
I, on the other hand, was just, you know, hanging by my fingernails about everything, you know, all the time. So, that has not been as easy for me but I've learned how to be peaceful and I can tell you that I'm probably more peaceful now than I've ever been in my whole life, and I have more responsibility than I've ever had in my whole life. And so, if I can learn to be peaceful, you can learn to be peaceful.
Now, I believe that whatever the word is preached on, there's power to bring deliverance to people in that area because there's power in the word. So, I'm expecting bondages to be broken off of people in this area and that doesn't necessarily mean that just magically all your stress is gonna go away but something is gonna happen in you, something's gonna be broken and you're gonna receive a revelation that you don't have to live that way anymore.
"Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls." Sounds to me like He's saying, "I can teach you how to live without stress." "Take my yoke upon you and learn of Me."
Now, these two scriptures prove out what I'm trying to say. If we just read verse 28, it looks like all we need do come to Jesus and He's gonna make all this happen. "See, come to me, if you're laboring, heavy laden, overburden, I'll cause you to rest."
Well, we would just like to take that part and go... "Jesus here I am, do it." But then He says, "Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me." So, learn of me means, "Okay, I can show you how to have ease, and relief, and refreshment and recreation, but you're gonna have to watch how I live and you're gonna have to follow Me and learn to do things the way that I do them."
Now, He uses this term "Yoke," take my yoke upon you, which we are probably not as familiar with so I actually have a picture that we're gonna put up that we want to show you of what it means to be yoked with someone else.
Now, that is called a yoke of oxen and you see that they are connected together because if the two are pulling the load, it makes the load a lot simpler.
And Jesus is literally saying to us, "If you will stay yoked to me, attached to me, I will pull with you through life and it will make your load a lot easier."
But now, we want to understand that Jesus is saying, there's another analogy to this and I believe it's, "Stay so close to Me, stay connected to Me, stay with Me in every situation and watch closely and see how I would do something and then you follow Me and in that way, you will not be living under stress all the time."
Okay, you can take that away. I wanted you to see what that was. A good prayer, a wonderful prayer is, "Oh God, teach me your ways." The bible says that the Israelites saw the acts of God, but God taught Moses His ways.
See, the Israelites wanted miracles. Many people want miracles. "Oh God, make this go away. God, change this situation so there's no pressure on my life." But Moses went deeper and I'm asking you to go deeper and say, "God, whatever the circumstances do, let them do it, but You teach me Your ways. You teach me how to handle it the way you would handle it." Come on, can we come up a little higher?
I said last night I spent a large part of my life trying to change the people around me. If I didn't like what Dave did, I tried to change Dave. You know, you love all your kids, but you don't always like all their personalities and so I had kids that I loved but I frankly wasn't too crazy about their personalities.
The one that I had the most trouble with was just like me and so that's always a nightmare waiting to happen. So, I was trying to change them, trying to change Dave, trying to change my kids, trying to make my ministry grow and trying, trying, trying, trying, trying. And it just wasn't working. It wasn't working at all.
And God didn't want to change everything around me and I don't want to upset you when I say this, but somebody needs to tell you, God doesn't want to change everything around you. He wants to change you.
See, I just feel drawn over here. Boy, if we can just get that through our head. God doesn't want to change so all my circumstances just suit me all the time and life is cushy and good. He wants to change me. He didn't mean, "Follow Me around and let Me make your life amazing." He meant, "Watch Me and learn how to do what I do."
Now, before I go any further with this wonderful message, God inserted something in it this morning that I believe is just like a word from God for some people here today. And God dropped this in my heart when I was sitting up here this morning during worship. I thought at first I was just gonna do an exhortation but then I realized I needed to add it to my teaching.
We're gonna look at Psalm 32 for a minute, the first 5 verses and I want to talk to you for a minute about guilt and condemnation. Wasn't part of my message, but I feel like God wants me to talk to you about guilt and condemnation because I believe that there are people here today that you're just like I used to be, you literally feel guilty, pretty much almost all the time.
And matter of fact, you don't feel right if you don't feel wrong. That's the way I was. I grew up feeling guilty because my father was abusing me, and I just took it on with me into life and so I always felt guilty. Even after I confessed my sins, I still felt guilty and there's nothing more stressful, now, I want you to listen to me, there is nothing more stressful than going around with that burden of, "Something's wrong with me. Why can't I do things right?"
His vague feeling that God's mad at you, that he's not satisfied with you, and I believe that no matter what else I teach you, this is what I felt like I saw this morning. No matter what else I teach you about how to manage stress, if you don't get this point first, then everything else in life will just do you in because when we're already feeling so beat down and so bad about ourselves because we can't do everything just right, then anything else that comes along just puts us over the edge.
God gave me an example one time of a pressure cooker, and I don't know that people use them as much as they did when I was growing up, but my mother had a pressure cooker and I tell ya what, that was a fierce pot. Because when she put stuff in that, you put this lid on and you seal it, and you can't get it off and it's got this little jiggle thing on top, and steam shoots out of the top every once in a while. The more the stuff cooks inside, the faster the thing moves. And it's just like I remember my mother saying all the time, "Don't touch it. Don't touch it. Don't touch it."
And I used to be like that pressure cooker. I would have all this stuff going on inside me and no matter how spiritual I looked or how many times a week I went to church, I still had all this stuff going on inside me. "What's wrong with me? Why can't I do everything right?" Does anybody know what I'm talking about? You're looking too innocent for me.
And so I was always exploding... I always say, I got along with everybody till somebody came home and then it was. How many of you know I mean, I could just explode over the simplest little things because I just felt so stressed out all the time. And I thought it was my circumstances but honestly, a large majority of it was what was going on in me. So then, if anybody would just touch me in any way that any circumstance would touch me, I would explode.
Well, I was like that pressure cooker. And so, I just want to tell you that this has to change before we go any further, and I don't want you to leave here today and go keep repeating the same thing over and over and over.
Look at me and let me tell you something, you are an imperfect human being, and so am I, and that is exactly why Jesus came for us and there is not one of us here that's ever going to do everything right, not even one day. We've all sinned our way right to the meeting this morning. We were sinning on our way. I mean, if you, you know? The Bible talks about sinning in thought, word, and deed. Well, I can't say that all my thoughts have been beautiful so far today. But thank God I know how to cast them down now.
Psalm 31, verse 1, "Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is he who has forgiveness of his transgression continually exercised upon him, whose sin is covered. Blessed (happy, fortunate, to be envied) is the man to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity and in whose spirit there is no deceit. When I kept silence before I confessed, my bones wasted away through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand of displeasure was heavy upon me; my moisture was turned into the drought of summer. Selah pause, and calmly think about that!"
Are you ready for this? Verse 5, "I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord continually unfolding the past until all is told then You instantly forgave me the guilt and iniquity of my sin!
You instantly forgave me, not just the sin, don't miss it, the guilt, the guilt. Let me ask you a question. If God's removed our sin, what is there to still feel guilty about? You do not have to live under condemnation. I don't know, I think sometimes we think it's religious to hate ourselves.
"Well, I'm just a no-good..." No, listen, you need to put on the robe of righteousness and lift your head up and know that you're the head and not the tail. God loves you. You're above and not beneath. You're anointed by God. Amen.
You've got what somebody you're not ever going to get rid of the burdens of stress in your life if you don't start by having a right attitude toward yourself inside. So, if you don't like yourself, then you best come to terms with it because everywhere you go the rest of your life, there you are. And if you can't get along with you, everything else is gonna be rough, amen? Did somebody need that? I hope somebody needed that.
So, when Jesus said, "Come to Me and learn of Me," one of the first things that Jesus teaches us is to receive His forgiveness and to not live under condemnation.
Now, four things that Jesus did to manage stress. You say, "Jesus had stress?" Well, we talked about that last night. I mean for goodness' sakes, everywhere He went somebody was trying to kill Him. I mean, we don't have to go over that list again, do we? Judas betrayed him for pieces of silver. Peter denied him. Talk about a bad day. We haven't had a bad day.
Number one, He trusted Himself in everything to God, 1 Peter 2:23 . Now, some of you are all stressed out over some stuff that you cannot do one thing about and only God can and you need to give it to God. You need to leave it and let it go and give it to God and that includes your past, your future, your kids, and everything else Peter 2:23, I love this.
"When He was reviled and insulted, He did not revile or offer insult in return; when He was abused and suffered, He made no threats of vengeance; but He trusted himself and everything to Him who judges fairly."
I love that scripture. I've actually got it on my office wall, reminder to me to trust God with everything, little things, big things, and especially trust Him with what happens to me. What I get, God, is up to You. If I don't get it, You've got a reason. If somebody mistreats me, then I'm not gonna waste my life hating them. I'm gonna trust You to take care of it. You have to learn to trust God with every little thing because actually, trust is the answer to all frustration.
Second thing that Jesus did was He prayed. You know, He was always kind of wandering away from the crowd and praying. He got up early to pray. Sometimes He prayed all night. And I'm not gonna take the time to turn to these scriptures but when He was in Gethsemane preparing for what was gonna be the most difficult time of His life and anybody else's, He asked his disciples to pray with Him.
And we know from reading the "He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, He began to show grief and distress. And then He said to them", this is how he felt. You know we don't have to do everything we feel. He said, "My soul is very sad and deeply grieved, so that I am almost dying of sorrow. Now, stay here and keep awake and watch with Me."
And He went away for a little bit, when He came back, they were asleep. But one of the things that happened that enabled Him to go through this was while He slipped away from them, an angel came and ministered to Him, strengthening Him in Spirit.
And one of the things that happens when we pray is God strengthens us. Come on now. He enables us. Prayer doesn't always mean that God gets rid of what's bothering us. Many times He chooses to strengthen us and enable us to endure it with a good attitude. And it took me a long time to get okay with that 'cause I didn't want to have to endure it. I wanted God to get rid of it. Amen?
And the third thing that Jesus knew how to do to help Him with the whole stress factor, He knew when to be quiet. Uh-oh. John chapter 14, verse 30, Jesus said, "I will not talk with you much more, for the prince (the evil genius, the ruler) of the world is coming. He has no claim on Me. He has nothing in common with Me; there is nothing in Me that belongs to him, he has no power over Me."
Now, you know, I've taught on this scripture a lot and it still just amazes me. The Bible says over in Isaiah 53 that, "Like a sheep led to the slaughter, He opened not His mouth." And I wonder how many times we've read that and don't have any foggy clue at all why the Bible would say that. Do you know how hard it is to keep your mouth shut when you're under pressure? And we need to learn from this.
Come on, Jesus said, "Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me." So, we're looking at how Jesus handled the most intense, stressful time of His life and the Bible says He opened not His mouth. And He told His disciples, He purposed, "I'm not gonna talk with you much right now." He might as well have said, "Because this is a very difficult time for Me. The enemy has no hold on Me and I'm not gonna open My mouth and say something I shouldn't say and give him an entrance into My life."
How many of you are glad that Jesus kept His mouth shut on that day? You know, I find this very interesting. And then in Matthew chapter 27, verses 12 through 14 it says, "But when the charges were made against Him by the chief priests and elders, He made no answer. Then pilate said to Him, do you not hear how many and how serious are the things they are testifying against You? And He made no reply."
Boy, it's so hard not to try to convince people that you're a good person. I don't know about you, but I find that hard not to defend myself. "But you just don't understand me. You got the wrong idea about me". Be still and let me convince Jesus made no reply. He made no reply and again before Pilate and Herod, He remained silent while being accused.
I'm not saying that there's never a time to speak up for yourself, but a lot of times it just makes matters worse. Jesus was on the cross. This is amazing to me. Jesus was on the cross for 5 hours and 59 minutes, during that time, the record of what he spoke was a total of 41 words in greek that turned into 51 words in english. Speaking these words took approximately a total of 1 minute so for 5 hours and 59 minutes of his time on the cross, He was completely silent. Amen?
The fourth thing that Jesus did, which is a great stress reliever, is He quickly forgave. Okay, let me, can I just give you a hint? If you want to have a stressed-out, miserable life, just go ahead and be easily offended. Just go ahead and keep saying, "Well, you know, I can't help it, I'm just touchy. I'm just a touchy person. I just get my feelings hurt easy."
Well, stop it. Anybody can just get their feelings hurt easy if they want to. On the cross Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." On the cross. And surely if He could forgive people for that, we can get over some of the day-to-day things that come our way.
I'm just telling you I don't know what you expected me to tell you when I told you I was gonna teach on how to get rid of stress, but I mean it's not gonna do one bit of good.
You can relieve every stressor, everything that you think is causing your stress and if you stay full of guilt, and you stay mad at people, and you keep worrying about what everybody thinks, and you got your mouth going all the time, you're still gonna be stressed out because real stress is not from what's going on around us, it's what's going on in us. Amen? Well, you should be happier than what you are but I'll go on.
Acts chapter 24:16, I want you to look at this. I think this is a great Scripture. The Apostle Paul said that, he said, "Therefore, I always exercise and discipline myself mortifying my body, deadening my carnal affections, bodily appetites, and worldly desires, endeavoring in all respects to have a clear (unshaken, blameless) conscience, void of offense toward God and toward men."
I love that. Paul said, "Look, I worked at this. This is not something that just falls on ya. This is something you're gonna have to get up and do on purpose every day." Every day I'm gonna have to say no to my flesh. Every day I'm gonna need to discipline myself. You know what? I think we should all just have a goal. Let's all agree together to have a goal. Let's join together and see if we can't give satan a nervous breakdown.