How To Live A Stress-free Christian Life

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“Times are hard”, “things are tough”, and “the economy is crumbling”, are some of the common phrases we hear daily. In recent times, there seems to be hopelessness afflicting people with despondency, sorrow, and fear. The world has never been the same since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many interventions have been put in place to help restore life to normalcy. Is there any possibility of getting our pre-pandemic life back? One thing we cannot forget is that the Word of God has stated plainly, without any ambiguity, that “in the last days perilous times shall come (2 Timothy 3: 1, KJV).” However, the same Word of God tells us in the book of Philippians 4:4 (KJV) that we should “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” How then do we reconcile the tough times with this exhortation to rejoice? In this article, we will look at some basic principles that will help us to live a cheerful life in these tough times.

In the book of 1 Corinthians 10:13, the Apostle Paul encourages us that “There hath 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 ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” Therefore, no matter how tough and uncomfortable life gets, we cannot choose to give up. However, we can, together with Job, courageously say “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him (Job 13:15, KJV).” Again, we should always remember that “For the God of the mountain is still God in the valley. When things go wrong, He will make them right.” In Hebrews 12: 1-3 (KJV), the bible tells us “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” The message is clear: God always takes care of His own. We are proudly His own first, through creation, and then redemption.

Let us delve into the principles that will guarantee a cheerful life even in adversity.

Gratitude

The timeless hymn by Johnson Oatman exhorts us to “Count your blessings name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done.” We owe God our life and everything we have because the early apostles firmly established the fact that “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” Whenever we feel sorrowful, dejected, and rejected by men, let us remember that God has provided everything for us to live a happy life. We do not need to depend on external things such as cars, mansions, money, and other people’s approval to derive our happiness. Though these things are very important in life, without joy in the Lord, they cannot make our joy full. Therefore, in all our toils to gather money and material things, let us also remember to live in the moment and rejoice over what God has already given to us. Talk of family, peace, loved ones, friends, job, accommodation, and the like. When we show gratitude to God for all the things we have, our confidence and optimism will increase, to attract many more good things to us. Are you having a bad day? Please count your many blessings and name them one by one. It is only then that you will realise how blessed you are.

  1. Kindness

Almost everything in nature lives for others. The bees make honey for us, the trees give us their fruits and Oxygen. Also, the birds sing sweet songs to us, while the land gives us its abundance, at no cost to us. Surprisingly, we humans may not have fully understood the sacrificial responsibilities in our lives. We are to “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2, KJV).” The surprising thing is that selfishness and selflessness are direct opposites. They are mutually exclusive. Just as light and darkness cannot coexist, selfishness and selflessness can never coexist in one person at any given time. Some feign selflessness and show it before men, yet, deep down they are very heartless and wicked. These are not converted and so their kindness may come with many conditions and expectations attached. However, the kindness from above is a gift. Like the Master and Saviour of humanity, genuine kindness is empathetic and selfless, expecting nothing in return. Jesus Christ, when he walked this world, freely gave the gifts of healing, peace, salvation, love, and respect. He also told us to “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give (Matthew 10:8, KJV).” All that we are and have, or all that we will ever be and have, are gifts from our Heavenly Father. He blesses us to be blessings to the world. That is why He said “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid (Matthew 5:14, KJV).” The golden question is: Is the world a better or worse place because of me…and, how would the world be if everyone was like me?

Practicing kindness is a miraculous way of taking our attention off ourselves. Through this, we may forget about our struggles and get some joy as we try to make life better for others. It is not about the quantity of your gift, but the genuineness of your intention is what matters most. Tough times are the best times to share love and hope. Someone may be saved from death by your kindness. Finally, the bible in Galatians 6:9 (KJV), motivates us “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”

  1. Contentment

Many people wish to get all the riches in the world, to enjoy the best of life. These dreams are legitimate ones to have. Unfortunately, some of us always focus on what we lack, whether the latest phone, laptop, car or whatever we desire. Surprisingly, some have achieved much in many areas of life, yet they are not content with what they have. Some have built mansions, bought big cars, and lived the best life the world can offer. Unfortunately, some of these people are plagued with greed and insecurity. And so, just like Jezebel of old, who vehemently coveted Naboth’s garden (1 Kings 21), leading to the murder of Naboth, they seek to destroy. Like David, who coveted Uriah’s wife and continued to eliminate him from the world, there are still some wealthy people who are not satisfied with their opulent life, but covet the life of the poor. Though they do not want to become poor themselves, they detest it greatly to see the poor being blessed by God. God can choose to bless anyone in any way, He pleases. If we fail to be content with what we have, we may end up like Jezebel who paid the price for the atrocities she committed against Naboth. If you are a wealthy Christian, God requires you to nurture and support others to get a better life, but not to sabotage them and always try to keep them under your control. Drunkenness for power is never a godly trait, but meekness, kindness, and mutual respect are the game-changers.

  1. Avoiding Comparison
    In my opinion, comparison is the first killer of joy. Comparison robs us of our peace of mind, our love and respect. Oppression, hatred, sabotage, and insecurity are all offspring of comparison. Irrespective of your level in society, comparing yourself with others will negatively affect you. Some old people compare themselves with younger people and try to destroy them. What we have to understand is “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content (1 Timothy 6:6-8, KJV).” If we do not avoid comparison, we may never be content with what we have. This is because God gives different blessings to different people in different ways and at different times. Therefore, if we want to live a stress-free life, we have to avoid all forms of comparison and stay within our lanes. Though they are supposed to be a team, some husbands covet their wives and vice versa. God knows why He gives some many gifts and others few gifts. Let us learn to appreciate what God has given to us and our life will be filled with heavenly joy.

“In order to be happy, we must strive to attain to that character which Christ exhibited. One marked peculiarity of Christ was his self-denial and benevolence. He came not to seek his own. He went about doing good, and this was his meat and drink. We may, by following the example of the Saviour, be in holy communion with him, and in daily seeking to imitate his character and follow his example, we shall be a blessing to the world, and shall secure for ourselves contentment here, and eternal reward hereafter. {RH, January 18, 1887 par. 16}”

“Too many cares and burdens are brought into our families, and too little of natural simplicity and peace and happiness is cherished. There should be less care for what the outside world will say and more thoughtful attention to the members of the family circle. There should be less display and affectation of worldly politeness, and much more tenderness and love, cheerfulness and Christian courtesy, among the members of the household. Many need to learn how to make home attractive, a place of enjoyment. Thankful hearts and kind looks are more valuable than wealth and luxury, and contentment with simple things will make home happy if love be there. {AH 108.1}”

“Parents, let the sunshine of love, cheerfulness, and happy contentment enter your own hearts; and let its sweet, cheering influence pervade your home. Manifest a kindly, forbearing spirit; and encourage the same in your children, cultivating all the graces that will brighten the home life. The atmosphere thus created will be to the children what air and sunshine are to the vegetable world, promoting health and vigor of mind and body. {CG 146.2}”

By: Mr. Seth Owusu Agyei

How To Live A Stress-free Christian Life

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