We live in abundance. From our nice and comfortable things to the ability to reach and touch the things we yearn for, our vacations and travel, and a life full of “stuff”. Although many around suffer and lack for the things we take for granted, we thank our God for the satisfaction of a life well lived.
Still, we often feel the pain of a personal season of need when it seems like none of these abundant experiences satisfy the moment.
We go through low points, sickness, money problems, family strife, war, political stress. It seems the angst of the world creeps into our wellbeing and we are stressed beyond all measure.
The question is, How do I get through this?
I often turn to Paul’s scripture when he says:
Philippians 4:11 KJV Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
Can I give you something to take to heart and consider during stressful times?
“It is not what happens to you, that determines who you are, it is how you respond to it.”
You can either roll over and die, or stand up against the onslaught.
Paul did not have an easy time in life!
- Throughout his ministry, he reaches thousands with the Gospel of Jesus.
- He did not have a steady income that produced stock, bonds, or 401k’s.
- He lived from moment to moment, often nurtured by those he reached.
- We do not find a fine living establishment, good career (he was a tentmaker), or a huge family to rally around him for his birthday celebration.
- He did not have a retiring life to look forward to.
- He traveled in good times and bad.
- He went through so much suffering for the sake of the Gospel – beaten, prisons, stoned, shipwrecked, in deep perils on every trip, and falsely accused by those he would call brother.
Why? To keep preaching the gospel to everyone as commanded by God:
Acts 9:15-16 KJV But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: (16) For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
How do we relate his future sufferings to the contented state in Philippians?
We stub our toe and limp to the emergency room. We wait until the last moment to address problems and find we are overwhelmed by the task. We fail to keep our commitment to God when He is the only way we have to leave this world successfully. We are not even seemingly thankful for the blessing we do have, much less the ones we have yet to obtain!
God gives Mercy, Grace, Love, Peace – in every storm, through every problem of life.
We are abundantly blessed!
What do you do know “Abundant Living in Stressful Times?”
Pray for Spiritual Strength
In every moment of living low, we often cry out for healing and deliverance. But think about it, some trials we face are for our own good. Paul shares a thought that should make us able and capable.
Ephesians 3:14-19 KJV For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, (15) Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, (16) That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; (17) That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, (18) May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; (19) And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Here’s what I think – We often think it’s the physical trial that is important for us to overcome. Why? It’s what we see and experience that seems to be the most important. Go back to my statement earlier,
“It is not what happens to you,
that determines who you are,
it is how you respond to it.”
We see this better choice in folks who have an inner peace when dealing with that snowball thrown from an unexpected source. They are fighting the battle of their life and whether they win or lose, it’s how they face the challenge that gives them peace!
If they can, why can’t I?
We should be strong enough to face these trials even in our momentary weakness.
1 Thessalonians 3:3-4 KJV That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. (4) For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.
In just the previous chapter (2:2) Paul speaks about the trials they faced in Philippi…
- Wait! Is this not where he spoke of being content? Let’s think it through…figure it out…research a little…just don’t let your reaction be a knee-jerk to the pressure of the momentary hammer…
- It Is! The key is that afflictions, trials, persecutions, sickness – none of these things should move us away from our position of Strength!
Let’s Find an Answer!
Sticking with Paul, because he’s the source of my thought…
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 KJV And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. (8) For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. (9) And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (10) Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
His Grace is Sufficient for Y-O-U in your weakness!
That word “Sufficient” relates to the idea of “raising a barrier, to ward off”
He is sufficient for whatever comes your way. His strength is perfected in YOUR weakness!
You are not defeated because of HIS lack of strength! You are defeated when YOU give up!
Are you facing some trials that are seemingly too tough to overcome?
- Jesus faced the cross, Paul faced his battles, early Christians were slaughtered day and night….
- Jesus faced just a few hours of torture, Paul faced an adult life of challenges…but all around the globe Christians are suffering every single day.
Yes, it’s temporary.
James 4:14 KJV Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
If for no other reason than that, your stress should be alleviated. But if you are facing a seemingly overwhelming world… Pray for that Inner Strength.