Stress is merely a result of an inaccurate perception that has the ultimate consequence: death. Stress is the manifestation of fear and leads to sickness and disease. According to the American Medical Association, 75% to 90% of all sickness and disease is linked to stress (Cohen et al., 2007). 75-90% of all visits to primary care physicians is because of stress (Rosch, 1991; Perkins, 1994). We experience stress when we fear that we ‘lack’ in any area of life. And this fear is innate. In Psalms 51:5 it says that we are born into sin. In other words, we are born fearful.
Psalm 51:5 (KJV): Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
The Hebrew word for iniquity in Psalm 51:5 is “`avon”, and means perversity. The definition of perversion is the alternation of something from its original course, meaning, or state to a distortion or corruption of what was first intended. Creation fell, or was corrupted when Adam sinned. Therefore, we are automatically born into perversion with a fear based nature. God’s original design was perfection.
A fear based nature is the catalyst for stress and fear is rooted in unbelief. Therefore, stress is rooted in unbelief. Stress is due to an inaccurate perception, or unbelief of the Bible which makes the Word of God of no affect in your life. You lack in commitment to believing the Word of God, thus you lack results. The ability of God to fulfill His promises in your life are disanuled by your inaccurate perception.
So, how is stress a perception? Because it all begins in your mind. Research shows that 98% of all mental, physical and behavioral illness comes from one’s thought life (Leaf, 2013, p. 33). Stressors are categorized as stressful events when construed as such by the individual. The degree of its impact (the magnitude of the stress) is generated by the person’s appraisal (perception) of the stressor, and secondly on the social and cultural resources at their disposal (Lazarus & Cohen, 1977; Antonovsky & Kats, 1967; Cohen, 1984). In other words, how you perceive the stressor is more important than that actual stressor itself (Lazarus, 1966). The way you think about an event has everything to do with how you react to it.
Our reaction when not rooted in God’s Word is control. Because of fear, we have a natural desire to control our lives. We think that the more control we have the less stress we will experience. This gives us the illusion of control in an attempt to eliminate fear. However, research shows that control can actually be stress-inducing (Averill, 1973; Thompson, 1981; Averill, O’Brien & DeWitt, 1977; Mills & Krantz, 1979; Houston, 1972; Shipley, Butt & Horwitz, 1979; Shipley, Butt, Horwitz, & Farbry, 1978; S. Miller, 1980; Andrew, 1970; Delong, 1970).
This is why God tells us to seek Him first and promises that He will add everything else unto us (Mathew 6:33). When you seek God first, you rely on Him and His promises for provisions and direction in life. You trust in Him. You eliminate fear because you relinquish control to Him over every, literally every facet of life. This is also why the Word tells us to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Stress and fear begin in the mind. The moment thoughts enter that are rooted in lack or fear, recognize it and make them obedient to the finished work of Jesus. You defeat the lies of lack by aligning your mind and mouth with the promises of God. You renew your mind to His Word, rest in the authority given in Christ, and SPEAK His truth over your life. This is bringing every thought to the obedience of Christ. Christ was obedient to His Father until death and reaped the priceless gift of eternal life for ALL mankind (Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 12:3).
When you understand and accept that God is always for you and desires you to win in every area, releasing control becomes easy. God actually calls us to be “dumb-like”, or still concerning the control over our lives (God calls us to be dumb-like). You enter rest and get to watch His hand work out details in your life. Obedience will bring blessings and provision in your life. Stress will be defeated and you will truly experience the unconditional love He intended for you from the very beginning.