The second principle of stress management in the life of Christ is found in John 5:30: “By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”

The principle is this: Know whom you’re trying to please. You can’t please everybody, because by the time one group becomes pleased with you, another group gets upset with you. Even God doesn’t please everybody, so it’s foolish to try to do something that even God doesn’t do!

Jesus knew whom he was trying to please; it was a settled issue with him: “I’m going to please God the Father.” And the Father replied, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17 KJV).

When you don’t know whom you’re trying to please, you cave in to three things: criticism (because you are concerned about what others will think of you), competition (because you worry about whether somebody else is getting ahead of you), and conflict (because you’re threatened when anyone disagrees with you). If I “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” then all the other necessary things of life will be added unto me (Matt. 6:33 KJV). This means that if I focus on pleasing God, it will simplify my life. I will always be doing the right thing—the thing that pleases God—regardless of what anybody else thinks.

We love to blame our stress on other people and obligations: “You made me … I have to … I’ve got to.” Actually, there are few things in life (apart from our jobs) that we must do. When we say, “I have to, I must, I’ve got to,” we may really be saying, “I choose to, because I don’t want to pay the consequences.” Hardly anybody makes us do anything, so usually we can’t blame other people for our stress. When we feel pressure, we are choosing to allow other people to put us under pressure. We are not victims unless we allow ourselves to be pressured by other people’s demands.

Rick Warren, God’s Answers to Life’s Difficult Questions(Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008).

Check out this Bible Study based on Rick Warren’s book, God’s Answer to Life’s Difficult Questions.

These lessons are available on Amazon, as well as a part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking Subscription Service. Like Netflix for Bible Lessons, one low subscription gives you access to all our lessons–thousands of them. For a medium-sized church, lessons are as little as $10 per teacher per year.

Lessons include:

How to Cope with Stress

How Can I Rebound from Failure?

How Can I Defeat Depression?

How Can I Live Above Average?

How Can I Have Peace of Mind?

How Can I Handle Discouragement?

How Can I Overcome My Problems?

How Can I Be Confident In a Crisis?

How Can I Ever Change?

How Did I Get Myself in To This Mess?

How Can I Overcome Loneliness?

Why Is This Happening to Me?