“How are You Handling Stress?”

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We live in probably the most amazing time in the history of the world. It’s an era of immense technological advance coupled with profound opportunities for our physical well-being. Specifically, we often have immediate acces to astounding time-saving devices, land and air-travel vehicles, and cellular communication. In addition, we have vast information at our finger-tips (because of computers and the internet), which enable us to access helpful information on medical and financial issues, and even to find answers to Bible questions, and those about the Bible. Yet, we have never been more overwhelmed and maxed-out in our daily lives. 

Indeed, instead of these tremendous advances making our lives easier, or is it we, who have made our lives busier and busier, and all stressed-out? Sadly, when it comes to measuring the daily stress levels of the average American, there’s not much difference between the professing born-again Christian and the avowed unbeliever. Almost every one of us, at the end of the day, is admittedly, both physically and emotionally wiped-out. There is simply no margin left on our daily calendars. Is it, then, any real wonder why our stress management methods need an overhaul? What is stress? Stress is the “wear and tear” that our physical, emotional, and spiritual lives experience, as we adjust to our continually-changing environment. Such stressed-out lives are often characterized by: anger, depression, headaches, upset stomachs, IBS, Colitis, a wide-array of rashes, insomnia, ulcers, chest-pains, high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, etc. Brethren, let’s face it, our own sin often takes a toll on our physical lives! O may God forgive us! How then are Christians to live in such an age? Let us begin by heeding the timeless words of the sons of Korah, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God … Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God” (Psalm 42:5, 11). This Psalm is telling us, that if we are to glorify God in this age of gospel opportunity, we must give God and His worship the first place in our lives, as Paul exhorted us, “And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent” (Colossians 1:18). In other words, a stress-monster life, is a life that is most likely, in spiritual disarray. It’s a life that must learn to stop, reflect, repent, reorganize, and then, rejoice that God has revealed to him or her a way out of this cycle-of-self-destruction. Therefore, let us remember and ruminate over the following wise words of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, so that we might heed them, each day, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). And last, may we also deliberately simmer often over the following quote by Dr. Wayne Mack, “If you don’t handle stress differently than unbelievers, don’t expect to make an impact for Christ.” In conclusion, let us draw near to God, first, by taking heed to our heart preparation today, for encountering the living God tomorrow, in our public Worship service, both through our praises and prayers to Him, with God’s people; and secondly, through our attending to the reading and preaching of His Holy, inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word! Soli Deo Gloria! Happy Reformation Year 500!!

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