Stress is a choice. Peace is a choice.

Dec 6, 2021

If I had to choose a modern word to describe man’s condition apart from God, I would probably choose the word “stress.”

Many believe that stress is the major cause of sickness, and I am inclined to agree. Once we understand the many facets of stress, it becomes clear that most of us are living stress-filled lives and suffering the consequences. Consider stress in the following ways:

1. The stress of guilt.
2. The stress of rejection.
3. The stress of abuse.
4. The stress of finances.
5. The stress of divorce.
6. The stress of marriage.
7. The stress of parenting.
8. The stress of politics.
9. The stress of social unrest.
10. The stress of poor diet.
11. The stress of bad lifestyle choices.
12. The stress of offense, bitterness, and anger.
13. The stress of fear.
14. The stress of failure.
15. The stress of ministry.

As you can imagine, the list could go on and on. Every area of our lives that is lived independently from God’s life is subject to stress, or as the Bible calls it, the “corruption that is in this world through lust” (2 Pet. 1:4). Lust is the desire to meet our own needs apart from God. Jesus desires that we enjoy abundant life, but that life can’t be lived on our own terms. We must draw from His life.

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

—John 15:5
There is a difference between bearing fruit and generating works. Fruit comes peacefully from within. Works are typically generated by stress and are designed to validate, defend or protect ourselves. The fruit of abundant life will never grow in the soil of stress.

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

—John 14:27

Jesus left us His peace. It is not the world’s peace. The world has no true peace to give. If you look to the world for your stability and peace, you will fall. Your health will fail—physically, mentally and emotionally.

“Let not your heart be troubled.” This is a command. Only you can “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23).

Stress is a choice. Peace is a choice. Death by stress can be gruelling and long or quick and unexpected. The only answer is to abide in Him. Only He has true life. You can live above the stress of the world and be a source of hope to others. It’s your choice.

Barry Bennett

Charis Instructor


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