Bible Answers for: Coping With Stress

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Bible Answers for

Coping With Stress

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Medical professionals warn us that stress is a killer. It’s a risk factor for heart disease, strokes and many other diseases. With the impact stress can have on our lives, it’s important to have a biblical perspective on how to cope.

The Bible is a guidebook for dealing with life. God has provided us with this manual about how life works. We hope you’ll see that the Bible contains practical solutions to the issues and challenges we all face, including the challenge of stress. And we encourage you to contact us if you would like additional information or would like to talk personally with one of our ministers.

We need to believe there is a reason for our trials and that God is in control. God is not far off and unconcerned.

Facing a challenging world

How would you describe the world we live in today? Challenging, fast-paced, dangerous, unstable, immoral? The apostle Paul describes the last days as “perilous times” (2 Timothy 3:1 2 Timothy 3:1This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
American King James Version×
). What are the results? Stress! We can find ourselves feeling anxious and apprehensive about how the challenges of the world will affect us personally, leaving us stressed out.

A number of people were asked to write down some of the things that cause stress in their lives. Here are a few responses:

“The most stressful things for me are dealing with my health issues, paying bills and feeling worthless because I can no longer do what I used to do.”

“I tend to worry over a matter. What if this happens or what if that happens, or how can I solve this? So I worry over problems—real or not real—the job status, money, my anger that comes at times.”

“I take on things that I feel I can’t handle. I don’t know how to say ‘No’ and say, ‘That’s too much for me right now.’ I stress over everything!”

“It’s very hard for me to not be able to please everyone. This causes stress in my life.”

So where do we turn first for help? Again, the Bible is God’s instruction manual for life. It provides the answers and gives us comfort, peace and hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Let’s consider some specific biblical principles that can help us cope with stress.

Does God show us how to reduce stress?

“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” (Philippians 4:8 Philippians 4:8Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
American King James Version×
).

When negative experiences and situations are coming at you and it seems overwhelming, stop, take a deep breath and focus on something lovely and good. Overcoming stress starts with the ability to control our thoughts. We need to focus on the positive, uplifting things of God .

Can God help when our problems seem overwhelming?

“… Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7 1 Peter 5:7Casting all your care on him; for he cares for you.
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).

“Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible’” (Mark 10:27 Mark 10:27And Jesus looking on them said, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
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).

Even if we can’t change something, God can. Do we believe that? Have you ever thought about asking God to help you change a situation that is causing you stress?

How can I find comfort in dealing with the trouble and stress in my life?

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted of God.
American King James Version×
, emphasis added throughout).

God promises to comfort us in our times of stress. How about trying to be a comfort to someone else who may be going through greater difficulties than you are? Giving comfort or helping someone in another way usually brings satisfaction and joy to the giver. “There is more happiness in giving than in receiving” (Acts 20:35 Acts 20:35I have showed you all things, how that so laboring you ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
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, Good News Translation). Part of coping with stress is learning to put it in the right perspective.

Can I expect my life to be more peaceful if I ask God for help?

“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful” (Colossians 3:15 Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also you are called in one body; and be you thankful.
American King James Version×
).

God’s plan is to bring peace to a troubled world at the return of Jesus Christ. We can have that peace now if we follow His plan for peace. It involves a lifestyle change and a change in our hearts. Peace is part of the fruit of God’s Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22 Galatians 5:22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
American King James Version×
).

Is there hope even if I feel like I’ve reached my limit in a very serious, stressful situation?

“Every test that you have experienced is the kind that normally comes to people. But God keeps his  promise, and he will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, he will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out” (1 Corinthians 10:13 1 Corinthians 10:13There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.
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, GNT).

Consider biblical examples of people facing severe trials. Whatever the trial, when they asked God for help, He provided the strength and help for them to bear it. Jesus Christ Himself was “in agony” and “His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground” as He prayed before His crucifixion (Luke 22:44 Luke 22:44And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
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). God strengthened Him, and God will strengthen us as well when we ask.

Why do I have to put up with so much stress in my life? Why doesn’t God just take it away when I ask Him?

“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:12-13 1 Peter 4:12-13 12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy.
American King James Version×
).

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4 James 1:2-4 2 My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith works patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
American King James Version×
).

We need to believe there is a reason for our trials and that God is in control. God is not far off and unconcerned. He really is working in our lives to transform us from what we are into what He wants us to become. We need to accept trials and tests and understand what they are doing for us.

What is the ultimate purpose of my stressful trials?

“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4 1 Timothy 2:3-4 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
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).

“But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you” (1 Peter 5:10 1 Peter 5:10But the God of all grace, who has called us to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you.
American King James Version×
).

We go through stressful trials for a reason: God is working with us! He was working with Joseph when he was at the bottom of a well and when he was in an Egyptian prison. Joseph had a reason to be stressed out. When Daniel was in the lion’s den, he too had a reason to be stressed out. When Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego were facing their fiery trial, they also had a reason to be greatly stressed.

But they kept going and obeying God! They faced their doubts and fears. They didn’t collapse in self-pity and cease to trust in God. When you come to realize that there is a divine purpose for your trials, then the stress of dealing with them should diminish.

Can I have confidence that God understands my stress?

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? … Neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35 Romans 8:35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
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; Romans 8:38-39 Romans 8:38-39 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
American King James Version×
).

“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15 Hebrews 4:15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
American King James Version×
).

Whatever trial you’re going through, it cannot separate you from the love of God. He understands! Jesus Christ knows what it’s like to be human. He loves us.

Ask God to help you learn the lessons He has for you. Ask God to help you build His character through your trials. There’s nothing wrong with expressing to Him that you’re having trouble and that you need His help. He wants you to trust Him and to rely on Him for help!

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