Joyce Meyer — Stress Management
Father, we thank You for the Word. It's amazing to me, Lord, that every problem that we deal with, the answer is in Your Word, every single one of them. And obviously if we live the way You lead us to live we're not gonna have stress, so we need You to speak to us this weekend and help us to understand the changes that we can make by your grace to help us live in peace in Jesus' name, amen.
Well, stress is the disease of the century. It is a multibillion-dollar business, the management of stress, the cure for stress, whether it comes through paying a counselor or different medicines or books or stress management classes or seminars or whatever.
I mean, well, you saw the way you reacted, and when I told the worship team I was gonna teach on that, they were all, like, "Oh, we are really gonna listen this weekend." And so--I mean, I think surely we all understand that it's not God's will for us to live under pressure and stress all the time.
How many of us understand that that is not God's will, okay? And so it is a disease of our culture, but just because we live in a culture, that doesn't mean that we have to adopt that culture.
Now listen to what I'm sayin'. Otherwise we just end up makin' excuses for everything. It's like, well, that's just the way the world is today, but that does not have to be the way your world is, amen?
Matter of fact, I'm gonna say that again. You know, just because that's doesn't mean that has to be the way your world is or the way my world is. And I can tell ya if anything is gonna change in your life or my life, then we're gonna have to take responsibility to change it.
Now I don't mean that we change anything without God. The first thing we always do in every situation is go to God, but I think we get mixed up between what God will do and what He will enable us to do. You see, we are participators with God. We're partners with God.
And I really think that a lot of times people think that prayer is just getting God to fix all this while I just don't do anything, or I even just keep doing the same silly things I'm already doing, but now I'm expecting God to somehow get rid of the harvest that I'm sowing in my own life. Am I makin' sense? And so when you pray you have to have your ears open to see what God will say to you about what the root cause of your problem might be.
Now sometimes there's not anything we can do, and if that's the case, then God comes in and does it all. But a lot of times the root of our problem is, to be honest, we're just living with a lack of knowledge. We're living in what the Bible calls ignorance. We're not walking in wisdom.
We're doing things maybe even because that's just the culture we live in, and that's what everybody does, and so we do that. But we have to go back to the Word of God all the time, back to the Word of God, and, boy, is Proverbs full of wisdom. Back to the Word of God and make a commitment that we're not gonna live according to what's going on around us, but we're gonna make decisions based on the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
How many of you believe with me that if we will all be led by the Spirit we're gonna have pretty peaceful lives? Okay. So I'm just gonna tell you that I don't have any magic trick to just wave a wand over you this weekend and make all your stress go away, and neither does anybody else if you wanna know the truth.
I honestly think sometimes when people go to stress management classes or counseling or whatever, I don't think a lot of times they go with this mindset, "I'm ready to make a change." I think it's just, "Well, I want somebody to solve my problem." And we have to camp here for a minute, or this whole thing is gonna be useless. I cannot solve your problem, and neither can God if you won't do what God shows you to do or not do what God shows you not to do.
I want you to get this 'cause this has just been comin' to me really strong that prayer is not just, "Now God's gonna fix all this." I mean, obviously there are many times when that is what happens because we--maybe you're already doing what God's asking you to do, and now God needs to do His part.
Prayer is not just talking to God. It's also listening to God, and God does talk back. He may not talk exactly the way we do, but God will communicate with you in a variety of ways. God will speak to you tonight through my mouth if you'll listen. He speaks through the Word of God. He'll speak through a little kid. God will speak through a circumstance. I mean, He speaks in all kinds of ways, and we need to pray and obey.
There is not one person in this room or watching by television who cannot exchange a life of stress for a life of peace if you're willing to not just have a magic formula but really start getting to the root of some of the issues of why you have the stress and being willing then to make the changes that need to be made with God's help.
I'll say it over and over. Apart from Him we can do nothing, but I think it's also fair to say apart from us He doesn't do much, huh? Well, I don't know. Are you sure that's Scriptural? Yeah, pretty sure it is.
It may not say it exactly like that, but God tells us to cast our care not our responsibility. He uses us. He works through people. So I pray to find out what God wants me to do, or if there's absolutely nothing that He tells me to do, then I expect Him to do it. But we have to understand that real prayer is not just sitting back expecting God to do everything while we change absolutely nothing.
Stress is all around us, and it's not very likely to decrease, so what is our options? You see, I went for a long period of time trying to change everything around me, and that may be where you're at right now.
Well, if you stop doin' that I'll have peace. And if you start doing this, then I'll have peace. If I had more money I'd have peace, and if I had a better boss I'd have peace. And it was always something come on now. It was always something out here that was the reason why I didn't have peace, and really that takes us all the way back to the Garden of Eden, blame.
"Well, the woman You gave me. She gave it to me". Excuse me? I thought men wanted to be the head of the house. What about bein' the head of the Garden? I mean, it's gotta get started right. Don't worry. I'm not gonna stay there.
But unless we get rid of that notion that, "Well, I just want some peace, and you're stealin' my peace. And if my circumstances would change I'd have more peace." I don't wanna be discouraging, but you know, your circumstances may change, but you'll get other ones. I mean, you will, ya know? The ones you've got will go away. Something else will come along. We just have to learn how to be in the world but not act like it.
So stress is all around us. It's not likely to decrease, so what are our options? Well, we only have two as far as I can figure. Continue to be stressed out until we fall apart. That's an option, and, sadly, I know that some of you will take that option, or you can learn to not be affected by it by not letting it get into you. What's around us doesn't have to get in us, amen?
Peace has been defined as a quiet heart, and, boy, do I love that, a quiet heart. Jesus was surrounded by stressful situations, rejected by family and friends. Some of you are goin' through that right now. You're lettin' it stress you out. Accused of being evil, accused of doing something or having some kind of a wicked motive that's just not true of you at all.
False accusations can stress us out, boy. We wanna convince everybody that we're good. Has anybody ever noticed that Jesus never tried to do that? His disciples needed a lot of correction. He was mentoring them for the job of carrying the Gospel to the world and only had a very short time to do it.
Sometimes all the people around us that don't do what they ought to be doin' can really stress us out. I have to always tell you what to do every time, constantly, and then when I tell you, you can't do it.
Huge crowds followed Him everywhere, and they all wanted miracles, healings, and help of some kind. You know, I've even said, "Everybody that comes near me wants something!"
Some of you moms, you feel that way. The husband wants something. All the kids want something. Then your parents call you up, and they want something. And then your mother-in-law wants something. And it's just everybody wants a piece of me, and I don't have any pieces left. How many of you ever feel like that?
But, see, Jesus, although He was there for people, He had boundaries, and we're gonna talk about boundaries more tomorrow night. You know, if you don't want the neighbor's dog pooin' in your yard, then you better put up a fence. Amen? And that means that we need to put some fences up around our lives and say, "You can go this far, but you can't go any farther."
One of his disciples betrayed Him for pieces of silver. Peter denied even knowing Him at a crucial time in His life, and Peter was one of his good, close friends. He was mentally and emotionally dealing continually with knowing and being aware of the suffering that He was gonna have to endure on the cross.
Wow, talk about a stressful day, and yet in the midst of all of "Peace I leave with you. My [own] peace I now give and bequeath unto you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]"
Now this kind of proves the point that I was tryin' to make to begin with. God always wants us to come to Him in prayer, and He's always ready to help us, and He's always ready to do what we cannot do.
He is a miracle-working God, but we see right here that honestly, basically, if I'm gonna believe this I don't ever really need to pray for peace because I've already got peace. I'm just not using it. Isn't that what he said? "My peace I leave with you." If we're born again we have the Prince of Peace living on the inside of us.
So way down deep inside--if you think about a body of water and a storm comes over that water, you're gonna see rippling and waves and a disturbance on the surface, but down deep is just as quiet as quiet can be. That's why peace is described as a quiet heart.
All kinds of things can be going on around us, but if we stay in communication with God and we continue to lean on Him and rely on Him, we can still have His peace.
That doesn't mean we have to love the circumstance. That doesn't even mean that it doesn't hurt, but it does mean that we can have this special kind of peace. The peace that the world offers is a peace that only works when circumstances suit us, but Jesus has given us something that's far superior to that.
He's giving us a peace that really--the best way I know how to say it is a peace that just doesn't make any sense. It's an unreasonable peace. In other words, I don't know how I can have peace. You almost feel embarrassed to tell anybody you've got peace because they are gonna think you are just bein' hyper religious or something, but you honestly can have peace in the most difficult circumstance if you really have a depth of relationship with God.