Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™ I AM Ministries
“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”
Saturday, September 7, 2013
Sources of Stress
Are you feeling stressed-out these days? If so, take a moment to consider what the major sources of stress are in your life: Family problems? Job stress? Financial problems? A demanding boss? Career problems? Job search? Too many responsibilities (kids, school, sports, church)? If these types of things are on your list, you are typical of Americans today.
I think God would agree that some of these things are stressing many of us. However, I also think God would add a few things to the list that most of would never consider. See, God always looks at the spiritual perspective, not just the worldly one. He might argue these things are not the real source of your stress. They are only symptoms of an underlying failure to put our faith in Him and allow Him to direct every aspect of our lives.
In God’s eyes, the root causes of stress have everything to do with His world, not our Earthly world. He sees the sources of our stress as unbelief, disobedience, and self-sufficiency. The events and circumstances that serve as flash points for our stress are many and varied, but the root cause is always the same.
Jesus tells us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). It’s our unbelief in Him and His Father that underlies much of our stress. One of the best examples of unbelief causing stress is the nation of Israel. God wanted to give them rest in the land of Canaan, the land of milk and honey, after they suffered for four centuries in Egypt. He performed miracle after miracle to get them there as a demonstration of His great power.
Then, just as they were on the brink of entering, Moses sent out twelve spies to investigate (Numbers 13). When they returned, only Joshua and Caleb had sufficient belief in the power of God. By faith, they recommended the Israelites should take the land (Numbers 13:30). The remaining Israelites’ unbelief angered God greatly (Numbers 14:11). God forgave them, but He forced them to stay in the desert until all of the unbelievers had died (Numbers 14:20-23). Forty years in the desert will cause a lot of stress!
God’s power and activity in our lives is always limited by one primary thing – our unbelief. Jesus withholds His power from us as well when our belief in Him falters. Consider what Matthew records about Jesus’ visit to His own hometown of Nazareth, “And He did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.” (Matthew 13:58). Because of unbelief, Jesus’ power was suppressed.
A second source of stress is disobedience. As a result of Israel’s unbelief, they defiantly refused to enter the Promised Land (Numbers 13:31-14:4). The author of Hebrews reminds us of the Children of Israel’s disobedience. “And to whom did God swear that they would never enter His rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief.” (Hebrews 3:18-19).
The Children of Israel stood at the threshold of the greatest land acquisition opportunity in all of history, yet it looked frightening and uncertain from a human perspective. In their staggering unbelief, having witnessed miracle after miracle by Him, they disobeyed God. God told them to possess the land, but in outright defiance they turned their backs and walked back into the wilderness, where they wasted the next forty years wandering aimlessly.
Finally, self-sufficiency is a source of stress. One of the reasons the Israelites failed to enter the land of rest, Canaan, is because of “self-effort”. The Truth is, the Israelites could never conquer the Promised Land in their own power and strength. God never intended for them to do it in the strength of their own power and resources. They needed to be supernaturally energized and empowered by God. After forty years of wandering in the desert, they finally did enter the Promised Land and conquered it under the supernatural power of God. Even then, whenever they tried to take part of the Promised Land in their own strength, they were soundly defeated.
It is not normal to be stressed. What appears to be the source of our everyday stress is really a symptom or a flash point for an underlying spiritual problem. You can manage these flash points only when you are living in the strength of the LORD Jesus Christ. Jesus tells us He will give us rest, not stress (Matthew 11:28-30). Which condition will you choose today?
In His love and service,
A servant of Jesus Christ
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