My brothers and sisters, I have the best news you could ever have or hear: Jesus is Lord over all! Jesus is Lord over the past, present and future! Jesus loves us passionately, completely, unconditionally! Jesus will never abandon us! Jesus conquers sin, the enemy, sickness, fear, anxiety and anything else blocking us from loving Him unconditionally!
There is much division in society. People have health or family concerns. They call or email me stressed and worried. They don’t know what to do. I tell them the answer is only in Jesus.
1. Seek Jesus every second of every day. This is the key to overcoming adversity, problems, anxiety and everything else. It doesn’t mean that every problem will disappear but it means we have the strength and courage to endure whatever is happening!
[Matthew 6:33-34] “But seek first his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.”
How do we get more of Jesus? We must ask and expect Him to fill our hearts and souls!
[Matthew 7:7] “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
How many of you appreciate 100 percent guarantees? I now give you a 100 percent guarantee: Jesus is waiting for you to ask Him into your life. He is waiting with His arms open for you to fall into them and say “Abba,” daddy. Let us pray fervently for this to happen to you. The degree to which you surrender is the degree to which your life will be changed. Anxiety and fear will be gone and replaced with the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
[Galatians 5:22-23] “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.”
2. Take control of your mind. In order to win the war against anxiety it is critical that you realize that the battle is in your mind.
[2 Corinthians 10:4-6] “For the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.”
It can feel like we have the weight of the world on our shoulders. How am I going to pay my bills? What if I get sick or injured and cannot work? What about my family members who have stopped practicing their faith? These are just a few of the thoughts attacking us. Jesus told us that we would have problems in life.
[John 16:33] “I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
Read this another time and read it slowly, letting the words enter your heart and soul. Now read it out loud. What do the words say to you? Do you really believe that Jesus has overcome the world? Do you have in your heart that Jesus is greater than any problem we have or ever could have?
In order to win this battle of your mind, you must train yourself on only thinking of things that will be positive and build you up.
[Philippians 4:4-8] “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand. Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about those things.”
In our troubled times, the ability to have your mind focused on Jesus and positive thoughts is critical beyond words. Stay away from negative thoughts and, if necessary and possible, people who are negative and would bring you down, including those you listen to on the television or through the internet. Nonstop negative stories or opinions on television telling you what you already know is not helpful and can cause anxiety and even depression.
Listen to the words of Jesus. Read the Bible, listen to praise music, view Mass on your computer or smart phone, read on the internet about the saints, praise God in your prayer life and focus on the positive. You won’t regret it!
3. Put on hope as a mantle. God is the God of hope. It is hope that Jesus is in charge that gives you strength. You will get through your problems! Let Jesus give you strength and recognize that He will supply all your needs, and that of your family, according to His riches and glory!
[Philippians 4:13, 19] “I can do all things in him who strengthens me… And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
What about the future? How can I trust it? In God we trust and believe and our future is full of hope!
[Jeremiah 29:11-13] “For I know what plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me with all your heart.”
God is the God of hope. The enemy wants to take our joy away from us. Let the Holy Spirit give us hope. It is this hope that will lead to joy!
[Romans 15:13] “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
We often feel like there is no hope in what is happening in the world or to us or our families. Recognize that as a tactic of the enemy and ask for the grace of the virtue of hope to fill our minds and soul!
4. Pray fervently and on an ongoing basis. Prayer changes things. Pray and get closer to Christ. Find a place that is quiet and perhaps sacred to you. Look at a crucifix or religious painting. This is the time to be one with Jesus in prayer! Pray with faith and believe that you will receive it. God will fill you with His peace and joy!
[Mark 11:24] “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will.”
5. Expective Faith. Jesus wants us to have faith as big as a mustard seed. How do we get more faith? We ask for it. We learn in the second chapter of Ephesians that faith is a gift. We must ask for the Holy Spirit to release the faith that we received at Baptism.
[Luke 11:9-13] “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?”
Ask for faith. We need faith to endure our trials.
6. Let joy fill your heart. Joy stands for “Jesus Over You.” Joy is a condition, not a circumstance. Happiness depends upon circumstances that come and go. When we achieve something we desire, we are happy. In most cases, we then move on to something else that we pray for and want, never truly satisfied. With joy, we need nothing more because we have Jesus.
[John 15:11] “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that you joy may be full.”
It is joy that gets us through the challenges of our time. It is joy that will give us strength.
[Nehemiah 8:10] “…for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
7. Expect and experience miracles. This is one of my favorite things I say. In fact, I wrote a book by that title! One of the most important realities is that the more we have faith and expect God to act, the more that miracles happen in our lives. The definition of a miracle is “God’s supernatural intervention in our lives.” How many of you believe that God has caused miracles to occur in your lives?
We don’t see and experience miracles because we don’t ask, as the book of James tells us. I have total faith that despite our troubles we can experience miracles. Do you believe?
Deacon Greco writes more about Overcoming Adversity in his 2020 book Be Not Afraid. Visit the online store at www.spiritfilledhearts.org to purchase a copy.