You Win or Lose the Battle Against Stress in Your Mind
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8 NIV).
Blaming stress on external forces is easy. We think we’re stressed because of work or relationships or health struggles.
But stress doesn’t come from what’s on the outside. Stress takes place between our ears. You’ll win or lose the battle against stress in your brain.
To cut down on stress, learn to control what gets into your brain. Unfortunately, most of us treat our brains like a freeway, where anything can drive right on in. And consequently, we let a lot of garbage in. We consume movies, books, and social media content that focuses our thoughts on the worst of the world.
But the Bible tells us, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8 NIV).
Think of the eight characteristics Paul describes in this verse as a test to discern what you let into your mind. To lower the stress in your life, you must change what you think about and control what you allow in your mind. So before you read, watch, or talk about something, ask yourself:
- Is it true?
- Is it noble?
- Is it right?
- Is it pure?
- Is it lovely?
- Is it admirable?
- Is it excellent?
- Is it praiseworthy?
Does that sound like what you’ve been watching on television or reading in popular novels?
Think about the characteristics described in Philippians 4:8. They all describe Jesus. Paul says to fix our eyes on the wonder of who Jesus is, not the ugliness of this world around us.
When you’ve fixed your mind on Jesus, you’re less likely to be stressed out.
Talk It Over
Think back through the movies, books, and social media content you’ve recently consumed. Do they pass the Philippians 4:8 test?
What kind of unhelpful or unhealthy content tempts you the most?
What safeguards can you put into your life to help you better filter the content you consume?
This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.