Psalm 37:1 – Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
It has been generally accepted that one of the reasons why women live longer than men is because men suffer from higher levels of stress. This seems to be particularly the case with black men, among whom the medical community has observed far higher levels of physical, mental, and emotional illnesses that have been associated with stress than their white counterparts. Do women suffer less stress than men? Of course not! Rather, women are more likely to admit that they are stressed out, cannot deal with it, and either seek help or vent. Men, meanwhile, refuse to admit that they are overburdened because of misguided notions of masculinity as well as fears and insecurities about inadequacy. This problem is compounded when mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters confide their stresses in the men on their lives, and the men feel compelled to appear strong for the sake of the women and children. Ultimately, inability to deal with the stress is what causes many men to seek outlets in compulsive, addictive, and unnatural behaviors like workaholism, addiction, pornography, sports obsession, gambling, violence and abuse, withdrawal, unfaithfulness, cultism, and suicide. Of course, all of these are demons. Women further experience not only those things but also guilt, persecution, and eating disorders (bulimia, anorexia) and further may develop compulsiveness and neuroses about their appearance and develop obsessive attachment to family members, institutions, possessions, etc. And often times men, women, and children just leave, abandon the family, for fear that stress will drive them to harm someone they love.
The two major causes of stress in our society are economic and social. On the economic front, many people desire security, many others desire material things, and more still desire both. And socially, we desire certain levels of acceptance by various people. Further, economics and appearance greatly influence our social feelings: we not only want other people to accept us but what we have and how we look, and are even willing to be accepted at least in part because of what we have and how we look. Men are more vulnerable to desiring acceptance based on possessions, women on appearance.
We have to realize how much this falls short of what is given to us in The Word of God. Sadly, a great many churches really do not deal with the problem. Rather than provide sound counsel, comfort, and spiritual deliverance (going to the root), churches either implicitly or explicitly blame the victim by claiming that people suffering from stress merely need more faith. That they just need to be thankful for what God has done for them. That they need to immerse themselves in works, helping those less fortunate. Or they are merely told to “take it to God in prayer” without being told in what manner to pray. Or if they seek counseling, they resort to the same humanistic nonsense that you will get from a psychologist, psychiatrist, or talk show. Further, churches who are led by people who misunderstand what the Bible means with “the man is the head and the wife should submit to her husband” reinforce the notion that the man should bear the burden and the woman should add her burdens to it, meaning that neither gets carried. Even worse, churches who have forgotten that pastors and ministers are servants to the congregation instead of rulers of it erect these false idols of unattainable role models of strength and perfection in the “strong pastor” with the loving wife and kids who never seem to have any problems which causes the other men (and women) in the church to feel inferior. (And if any problems with the pastor or his family are revealed, it causes them to lose their faith!) And yes, many churches have a “country club” social scene, replete with expensive clothes and jewelry, nice cars, and hateful gossip and attitudes towards whoever cannot keep up or fit in. This is abomination; the exact opposite of what Paul laid out to the churches in his letters and more in keeping with the behavior that Christ warned the churches against in Revelation 1 – 3.
Believers with economic worries need to take to heart Matthew 6:25-34. It is not so much that those passages say that do not worry about your material needs for God will take you (“I have never seen the righteous forsaken” from Psalm 37:25) though that certainly is true. The real reason not to worry about your financial situation is that your financial situation is not in your hands. Your financial situation is in God’s Hands! We are taught by our culture – which includes our religion – that we are responsible for our financial situation; that we control it by getting educated, working hard, living right, and practicing sound money management. Many churches even claim that your financial status is directly linked to your devotion to God. It appears that such people have totally forgotten The Great Depression, where virtually everyone in this nation was plunged into poverty that lasted decades? Do not get me wrong, I agree with Psalm 37:25, and I also agree with the prosperity doctrine and the word of faith doctrine. I also know that there are plenty of committed Christians in the Third World starving to death as we speak! How can prosperity, “name it and claim it”, and Psalm 37:25 still be true when there are Christians starving in Third World countries but even a generally prosperous majority Christian nation can go through a Great Depression (and even in boom times we have a lot of Christians living in cars, homeless shelters, on the streets, and in housing projects and trailer parks)? Well, Believers you must cast off the blinders and unwillingness to deal with unpleasant facts because they challenge your faith and go to God about it; He will tell you what Psalm 37:25, prosperity, and word of faith really mean. Just know that your economic fate is in God’s Hands. God is in control. God can give, and He can take away. Do not spend your life worrying about that which can be lost, stolen, or frittered away; or something that will become totally worthless if there is an economic collapse, or if a bunch of guys sitting in a room just decide that a certain nation’s currency is no good or a certain precious metal just isn’t precious anymore.
An example: the nation of Senegal is a former French colony in Africa. Seeking economic uplift, they linked their currency to that of France, and diligently labored and sacrificed to do everything that French economic, political, and corporate leaders told them to over many years. In the mid – 1990s what did the French do? Devalue the Senegalese currency anyway, costing the Senegalese economy untold sums of money and wasting years of hard work, sacrifices, and hope. Why? NO REASON WAS GIVEN! It was an arbitrary unfair decision completely unrelated to Senegal’s natural resources, human capital, or economic management and stability, done solely because France’s European neighbors were sneering at them for helping a sub – Saharan African nation governed entirely by blacks gain economic legitimacy. Did God do this to the Senegalese because of their sins? God forbid! Rather, it is just another example of how man’s economic destiny is not a function of his own actions, but rather controlled by God for God’s Purposes. Instead of worrying about that which you cannot control, concern yourself with the things that you can, which is your salvation through Christ and your obedience to the Father. Do not build up your store on earth but in Heaven. If you are saved and obeying God, God is taking care of your soul. That is all that you can control, and if your soul is fine, so should you be. It is tough to swallow, but it is true. Read the Bible with understanding! God’s covenant with man is not that of promises of riches and comfort, but of eternal life in Heaven!
As for social anxiety, just remember Psalm 1:1 – ‘Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” If you are saved, you need to be around saved people. If a person is saved, he or she will not want you to impress him or her; he or she will only be concerned about your serving God. If you are hanging around anyone whose primary goal in life is to serve God and their secondary goal is to help others – including you – serve them, why? Unless you are evangelizing them at God’s direction, what possible good are they doing you? Do not delude yourself into thinking that you are helping them with your presence. How can you be if you are ignoring God’s Word? And yes, this includes these loveless churches. If your church does not show love and makes you feel uncomfortable, it is wordly. Leave it and find a loving spiritual church! Of course, your daily life may require you to be in the regular presence of sinners, i. e. on your job or in your family. What did I just call them? The same thing that you should call them. SINNERS. Do not delude yourself, that is what they are. So how do you expect them to act? On what basis do you have to think that they are going to treat you any better; to be nice to you or accept you? How can they if they lack the love of God in them? And why do YOU want to be accepted by those who do not love God and have not accepted His Christ, YOUR CHRIST? Is God’s Love and Grace so inadequate to you; is the fellowship of loving Believers so insufficient to you that you have to run to sinners for approval. Again, understand God’s Word. Jesus Christ said for YOU to LOVE EVERYBODY. He most certainly did not say that EVERYBODY will LOVE YOU. Instead, you are going to be hated for knowing and having the truth; rejected as Jesus Christ was. Not only should you just deal with it, but you should glory in it! Rejection by the foolish is evidence of your wisdom, rejection by the hateful is evidence of your charity; rejection by the proud is evidence of your meekness. If you are rejected by the world and those who are of it, then you will be accepted by God, and if you are fine with God then you should be fine with yourself.
The ultimate truth is that we are not to bear our stress. We are not to have other people bear our stress. Instead, we are supposed to give it to Jesus Christ. Have you not heard the song “What A Friend We Have In Jesus”? We are supposed to take everything to the Father in prayer … all of our worries, weaknesses, fears, and feelings of inadequacy. Women, do not lay that stuff on the men in your life. Talk to the men about it, and then use the position that God gave you to exhort the men to pray. The reason why God made women more prone to admit and share their feelings is so they can remind and motivate the man to pray not only about your problems but his! Your man cannot solve your problems. He cannot even solve his own problems! But God can solve them both for both of you if you would only pray. And men, forget about these “strong silent types” in those old movies. Also forget about the “overgrown child or homosexual types” in the new movies. Both are abominations produced out of abomination. And do not misunderstand or be misled about what the Bible says about you being “the head.” Read the whole passage! Ephesians 5:23 – “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.” Ephesians 5:25 – “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” It means that your relationship to your family is the same as is Christ’s to the church. Christ did not just take on the problems of His disciples and internalize them along with His own insecurities and fears while taking on the persona of some despot ruler to hide the fact that He did not have the answers. Christ did not encourage His disciples to put their trust in Him despite knowing that in reality their trust was misplaced. No, what Christ did was PRAY FOR THE CHURCH! (Now, of course Christ, as God, had all power and all the answers. But Christ also knew that He would only be with the disciples for a short time, so He dedicated a great amount of time to preparing them to rely on the unseen God when Christ’s physical body departed.) Being “the head” does not mean being some paper tiger in an empty suit. It means going to God with your problems, going to God for your strength, and leading your family to as well! And it means heeding the wise counsel of your wife or any other family member who asks you to pray with them!
A lot of men actually believe that they are doing the right, manly thing by making sure that they get to work on time every day and spending as much time as they can at work; to be the hard working man who pays the bills. That is being “a real man”; “being the head.” Well, society and often religion teaches men that, and women teach that to their sons because that is what their spiritually, emotionally, and physically deadbeat and absentee dads and husbands taught them. It is a lie! As head of your household, your serve only God and compel your family to. Your family’s spiritual needs (and emotional needs) are more important than their financial ones. It is more important than having all the bills paid. It is more important than having a big house. It is more important than having a sterling credit rating. It is more important than having a better big screen TV than your neighbor or your parishioner. It is more important than having food in the refrigerator or shoes on your feet or having phone service. Being the head of the house means making sure that you and your family realize that IT IS ALL ABOUT GOING TO HEAVEN! That you and your family are living for the next life and not this one, so the troubles and cares of the world don’t matter to you for they will not compare with the glory of the next for those who believe or the suffering in the next for those who don’t. Your attitude has to be like Job: “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him!” You have to be willing to tell your family “I cannot promise that we won’t all die tonight, but if we do die tonight we will wake up in Heaven tomorrow”, and have them all glad about it! Before you can grow that Word of The Holy Spirit in your family, you need to believe it yourself, and if you do not believe it yourself, then you are not truly being the head of your household in truth, fullness, and spirit, and that therefore is the true root cause of your stress though you be saved. Your heart has to be right, your mindset has to be right, your priorities have to follow, and your behavior has to change.
Stand strong in the faith men and be encouraged! You most likely are not going to hear this in any church. No, your church tells you that everything is going to be all right. Well what happens when it isn’t all right? What happens when layoffs happen, when foreclosures happen, when natural disasters happen, when crime and fires happen, when foreclosures and repossessions happen, when terminal diseases happen, when drug addiction and teen pregnancy happen, when educational failure happens, when incarceration (sometimes wrongful) happens? The church doesn’t deal with that stuff. They get you to pretend that it will never happen to you if you just love God enough, and if it does they just move on, never hold themselves accountable for what they preach every Sunday, and just pass the plate for an offering for you and offer some encouraging words and a shoulder to cry on. But none of that is true! The truth is that bad things do happen to good people; to innocent, God loving people! So much of our stress is not so much because we fear that bad things are going to happen or worry that we will not know what to do if bad things happen, but we allow the false burden (a demon!) to be put on us that we are somehow responsible for preventing bad things from happening! And when we cannot shoulder them ourselves, we pass them on to others, like “the man of the house”, the preacher, or the government! That is why when something bad happens the first thing out of our mouths is “How could YOU let this happen? YOU let us down! We were depending on YOU to keep bad things from happening to us! YOU failed us!” Well, how else do you expect them to act if you not only allow this attitude to develop but you plant and encourage it yourself! When you urge people to plant their seeds in bad soil or build their houses on sand by putting their faith and trust in you? The real head of the house or head of a church is one who tells and shows the family or the church how to trust GOD and GOD ONLY in the Name of Jesus Christ NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS!
My goodness, if Christ, his disciples, Moses, David, Elijah, and so many other virtuous members of the Bible saw so much hardship and grief, what makes you think that you will not also? So do not tell your family not to worry because nothing bad is going to happen. And do not go worry yourself because you know that you have just told them a lie. Instead, tell your family what is in the Bible! Tell them that they will suffer many things! That there will be trials and tribulations! That there is going to be wars, rumors of wars, economic upheaval, and pestilence! That one day it will be as it was in the days of Noah! But tell them that they should not worry about those things because if they are faithful and endure to the end, they will emerge victorious in Heaven! Think upon Heaven and be comforted. Think about your job yet to do on earth and be motivated. Know that you only need to pray to God and hear and do His commands and be reassured. Just know that whatever happens, God is still good. God is still merciful. He is still righteous. He still takes care of His people. He still keeps His covenants. He will not allow the righteous or their seed to beg bread. He gives prosperity. The wealth of the wicked is stored up for the righteous to inherit. And yes, you can name it and claim it by the Name of Jesus Christ! All of these things are true. You have to know that all of these things are true no matter how much pain you are in, how much sorrow you are seeing, how many holes are in the soles of your shoes and how much your stomach is growling. God will never leave you or forsake you, and that should be something that you and every member of your family has on your lips and in your hearts until your dying days because you know that when that day comes you and yours will receive your TRUE INHERITANCES in Heaven!
So do not accept the burden. The burden is not yours. The burden belongs to God. Not only that, the burden has already been lifted. The veil has already been torn. The debt has already been paid. Sin, disease, stress, death, and hell have already been overcome on your behalf. You already have the victory. This has been done by JESUS CHRIST taking the 39 stripes, dying on the cross, rising again on the third day, and ascending into Heaven to the Right Hand of God! So, your stress is already gone. Christ has already borne it. You just need to renounce it. You just need to receive and act on the right teaching so that when it tempts you and your house, you and your house can tell it to flee. That is the real job of a man of God, a woman of God, and even a child of God. Yes, children, you can counsel your parents with Godly instruction. You can tell Mommy and Daddy that I am not scared, because no matter what happens I will still go to Heaven because I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins and rose again. As a matter of fact, if you are a grown man or woman and your parents are senior citizens, you can STILL tell them that! The truth brings stress only to Satan and those who are of him and of this world. But for Believers, the truth sets you free! So know the truth, live it, and be set free from stress today!
Father God in the Name of Jesus Christ, may I receive and believe your True Word so that I may be liberated from stress. May I not worry about things that I cannot control, and may service to you on earth and entering Heaven be my only goal. Father God, I give all of my fears and worries to you, and I will encourage my family, my church, and everyone else that I know to do the same. In the Name of Jesus Christ.
Deliverance:The demons that operate in this area are stress, false burden, false doctrine, false religion, false teaching, rejection, low self esteem, materialism, and worldliness. In addition, other demons are mentioned in the devotional text above. Please read the Basic Spiritual Warfare guide to learn more about how to go against these demons to help set captives free and win battles in the name of your God through the power, authority, and victory given to you by his Son Jesus Christ and by his blood shed for you!