Be Thankful Even In Tough Times
By Rick Warren
— May 21, 2014
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Philippians 4:4 (NLT)
When the Apostle Paul says, "Always be full of joy in the
Lord," he doesn't say only be joyful in good times. Even when times are tough,
The Bible teaches we can be joyful if we follow this simple strategy -
Don't worry about
Worrying doesn't change anything. It's stewing without doing.
There are no such things as born-worriers. Worry is a learned response. You
learned it from your parents. You learned it from your peers. You learned it
from experience. That's good news. The fact that worry is learned means it can
also be unlearned.
How do you unlearn it? Jesus says (Matthew 6:34), "Therefore
do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has
enough troubles of its own." He's saying don't open your umbrella until it
starts raining. Don't worry about tomorrow. Live one day at a time.
Pray about everything.
Instead of worrying, use your time for praying. If you prayed
as much as you worried, you'd have a whole lot less to worry about. Is God
interested in car payments? Yes. He's interested in every detail of your life.
That means you can take any problem you face to God.
Thank God in all
Whenever you pray, you should always pray with thanksgiving.
The healthiest human emotion is not love but gratitude. It actually increases
your immunities. It makes you more resistant to stress and less susceptible to
illness. People who are grateful are happy. But people who are ungrateful are
miserable because nothing makes them happy. They're never satisfied. It's never
good enough. So if you cultivate the attitude of gratitude, of being thankful
in everything, it reduces stress in your life.
Think about the right
If you want to reduce the level of stress in your life, you
must change the way you think because the way you think determines how you
feel. And the way you feel determines how you act, which is why the Bible teaches
that, if you want to change your life, you need to change what you're thinking
This involves a deliberate conscious choice where you change
the channels. You choose to think about the right things. Because the root
cause of stress is the way we choose
to think, we need to focus on the positive and on God's word.
What is the result of not worrying, praying about everything,
giving thanks, and focusing on the right things? Paul says we will then "experience God's
peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your
hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7 NLT)
What a guarantee! He is guaranteeing peace of mind. Have you
noticed that is what everybody seems to be looking for?