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Friday, June 22, 2012

Why So Much Stress?

1 Peter 5:6-7 (NIV) 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Most Christians know that they are to cast their fears, worries or anxieties upon the Lord because He cares for them. They know this and many of them have done so. They have rid themselves of the whole of their anxieties by truly trusting in the Lord. They are free from this self-imposed pressure.

However, many, maybe even more, Christians have tried to cast their stress upon the Lord but have received no relief. They are just as worried, fearful and anxious as before. Why is this?

Let's look at the previous verse. It says that believers are to be humbled (it is in the passive voice) under God's mighty hand. Humility is certainly knowing who He is and who you are but it is also obedience to Whom you are being humbled. In other words, humility requires obedience to what the Lord has told you to do.

There are stresses that cannot be avoided. A sick child or an accident while driving certainly cause stress. Casting these fears and stresses upon the Lord will give relief. But the stress that comes from disobeying what the Lord has led you to do will not be relieved by any effort to cast them to the Lord. He simply will not take them as long as you fail to do as He has commanded.

You obey, even in the middle of a stressful time, and He lifts you up in due time. You cast these fears upon Him because you know His love. You know that He only wants your best and what He has told you to do is best. You will be unable to cast these fears upon Him if you have not been humbled because humility and trust are in direct opposition to each other. You didn't trust Him with obedience. You won't trust Him with fears.

Many stressful situations come because a person has not done what he should have done when the source of the stress is small. The stress has, therefore, become a crisis. The crisis will exist until something is done.

Someone doesn't thoroughly put out a campfire after he leaves a campsite. The smoldering embers reignite and catch the nearby grass on fire. The fire continues to the tress until there is a full fledged forest fire. Hundreds of people are called in to put out the fire. Millions of gallons of water and fire retardants are expended. Thousands of manhours are spent putting out this fire that one bucket of water from a nearby stream would have prevented.

This is often the case of our stress. The non-performing employee is stressed because he is afraid of losing his job. He has let this come to a crisis. The boss is stressed because he must fire this employee but doesn't want to. The company is stressed because the lack of performance has put them in a financial bind. Of course, everyone can be stressed because of the failure to do what needs to be done.

The Christian should ask what the source of his stress is. He needs to ask if he has done everything that he believes the Lord wants him to do. He must be humbled by this complete obedience or there will be no relief no matter how hard he tries to cast his fears upon the Lord.

Often the thing that must be done is easier than than the Christian believes it will be. It may be to return to school or to apply for a new job. It may be that the Christian speaks to someone who has been giving him grief. It may be confronting a bully. God will give him the wisdom to know what to do if he will only ask.

When I was in school I often studied thoroughly the night before. I was confident that I would do well on the next day's test. I even looked forward to the test. The days I didn't study were always full of stress as I faced each test.

The Christian should know that he has done all that the Lord has commanded him to do. Then, he can rest in peace because it is really in the Lord's hands.


high-expressions said...

Oh! Sorry, Ps Prentis, I did NOT read this, when I commented on the article just before this. Much of the expansion, I said there, apparently, you said it, here, in this article. Well, it only shows one thing, we do agree that believers must note such things.

Although different texts were being referred to, all the same, the theme was that, obedience is absolutely essential.

The titles of the 2 articles are related, one has the word, "trouble", and the other (this one), "stress". The connecting word for the two is perhaps, "worry".

Ok, some of us can be in trouble, but NOT stressed (or NOT much). This is because you trust that God is with you in your trouble - yes, as said in Psalm 91:14-15. For all others, trouble means stress; because you worry, and you worry because you have no confidence that God is going to help you through.

And yes, one can be stressed even before he gets into trouble. This is because he already started to worry even before trouble hits.

In either case, it is usually, as correctly pointed out, because you have NOT obeyed God or His Word. Or at times, you just do NOT know what to do, or you lack godly wisdom to handle the situation.

Why do you NOT want to obey God or His word, which would account for the much worrying, stresses or troubles? To me, no matter how you look at it, it always come back to, either you refuse to be holy as God is holy, or you refuse to love God (Of course, I will NOT argue with you, if you only state it as solely because you refuse to be holy as God is holy, because the two are related, too).

The laws or commands of God, His righteousness and justice are the demands of His holiness. They are the outworking from the holiness and wisdom of God. When we refuse to obey, we are refusing to acknowledge the demands of holiness, or we can say, we are refusing to be holy as God is holy.

When we refuse to obey, we can also be said as NOT loving God, for Jesus said those who love Him, obey His commands (John 14:15) and those who obey His commands are those who love Him (John 14:21a).

If we say, "But we do NOT know what to do, we lack wisdom-what; that is why we did this or did NOT do that", Scripture indicated to us, that is also NOT excusable! Scripture said, "He who lacks wisdom, let him ask, and God will give to all without undeserved reproach, generously." (James 1:5).

Some might protest, "But I ask-what; I don't get! James 1:5 cannot be relied upon!" No, there is the "without undeserved reproach" in James 1:5. What is that? Think, how does Scripture say, concerning how wisdom is to come. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom or godly wisdom.

The "fear of the Lord" was given a special meaning in the Word. The fear of the Lord, in the Book of Proverbs, is said to be to hate what God hates, evil. What is the opposite of evil or wickedness? Holy or holiness. So what does it mean? It means if you don't embrace holiness, you don't get wisdom. If you want godly wisdom, embrace holiness wholeheartedly. Now, we come back to the "without undeserved reproach" in the giving of wisdom by God, as said in James 1:5. The interpretation for James 1:5 becomes, "If you lack wisdom, and you ask, God will give it generously to you (all of you) provided you are embracing holiness wholeheartedly. If you are impure, you are NOT without undeserved reproach. Actually, it is very true that it is NOT that one does NOT know what to do; it is that he is of impure heart or intent, and so, he chooses NOT according to that which the godly wisdom of God would prescribe. (Additionally, in vv6-8 of James 1, the one who asks must believe and NOT doubt).


high-expressions said...

Cont. from above

Concerning the humility in the opening text, 1 Pet 5:6-7, it is a good word to open up to such subjects as obedience, which Ps Prentis did, and such other subject as pride of Man, and holiness and awesomeness of God. To humble ourselves before God means we are acknowledging we are low (humilis – Latin word) and God is high, meaning we are NOT better than God. When God is better, we are NOT, what does it mean? It simply calls for us to listen to the better one, God; and when you are listening to God, what are you doing, you are obeying Him. To humble before God necessarily mean you have to obey Him; Ps Prentis said it rightly.

One can look from the angle of goodness. Jesus said, when the young rich man called Him good teacher, “Why you call me good (teacher)! Only God is good. There you have it – we are low in good, God is absolute good, or holy. To be humble before God is to acknowledge that God is good, absolute good or holy, and we are NOT. Elsewhere, I have said, that which comes from absolute good or holy can only be wisdom; and so, to humble before God necessarily mean you have to obey Him, for He has the all wisdom. When we recognize the holiness and wisdom of God, we realize the awesomeness of God (of course, the might of God comes in, too); and we should have no room for self-pride before God.

You want to have less stress or worry NOT, catch it - catch that God is holy, that God is wisdom, that God is awesome, and God is righteous, and God loves you unto righteousness. When you are obeying Him, you are loving Him (John 14:21a), and when you humble yourself before Him, you are acknowledging Him, and when you ask, including wisdom for your scenario, Psalm 91:14-15 tell us that you will NOT be disappointed; for there, God promises rescue, deliverance, protection, presence, and even honor. Yes, honor; 1 Pet 5:6 put it as ‘He may lift you up in due time’.

I just said Psalm 91:14-15 tell us that we will NOT be disappointed, but what is the overall picture painted by the 2 verses? God loves and cares for you. That is what 1 Pet 5:7 said, God cares for you, and so, you can cast your anxiety to Him. Those who read my comment on the article preceding this, will realize that I stressed that the main key to Psalm 91 (in my own blog article, which I entitled it, “Secret of our well-being”) is loving God. Remember now, all of these, “so good promises of God”, they are requiring you to love God - love Him back, that He has first loved you.

Jesus said, in John 15:9-10, 9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.

YOU AND I NEED TO LOVE GOD BY OBEYING HIS COMMANDS, TO REMAIN IN HIS LOVE. This is NOT my words, but Jesus’. Please REJECT the teaching that tells you, you have just to bask in grace, chuck the laws (commands), and don’t have to do anything, or can do anything with just the need to tell the devil off!

The secret to our well-being – love God, and one key way to love God is to obey His commands. Do it, and you will have lesser (NOT nil) troubles, and possibly nil stressful trouble.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions