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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Too Blessed to be Stressed ( ?? )!

This phrase is becoming more and more common in usage, especially among Christians, but, as in so many other cases; do we really practice what we preach? In so many secular songs, even ( I can think of one country song, anyway ); we often hear that 'I am so blessed', or something to that effect. There can be no doubt that we are too blessed to be stressed ( Ephesians 1:1-3, etc. ), but this doesn't stop the best of us; at some point or another, in some way or another, we all succumb to, if not the physical out-workings of the numerous stress factors that we come face to face with every day, then at least the mental, emotional, and sometimes the spiritual effects of that wondrous creation we call 'stress'!

Why do we get 'stressed', even though we know that we've been blessed beyond our wildest imaginings? If we sat down ( calmed down ) and really thought about it; we have been blessed so far beyond what we can even speculate, I mean; what does it really mean ( entail ) that our Creator God, our Father, He who birthed us ( spiritually-John 3 & 4 ), should deem to come down off His throne, subject Himself to the indignity of becoming one of us ( lowly ( weak ) humans ), suffering a lifetime of a fairly normal human existence, and then, in the last three or so years of His physical life on this earth being persecuted by His own kin, to finally end His ( physical ) existence in one of the most cruel deaths imaginable, the suffocating death of the cross ( crucifixion ), as the song goes, 'just to save a sinful soul like mine', to redeem His people, really, from their ( our ) own weakness, and, put simply, stupidity; idiocy, if you will! So how blessed are we?

Sure, you might say ( you must say, if you're honest with yourself, and Scripture ), 'we've been spiritually blessed, but those physical blessings seem 'far and few between', most of the time!'. This is so, but, as we all know; it usually only seems that way. If we stop ( rest-this is another of the 'Purposes of Night' ) and really think about it, as the song says 'Count Your Blessings, and 'name them one by one', we come to see ( understand ) just how blessed we are, even in this physical realm of our human existence! We have everything we need, do we not? God ( Jesus ) promised ( Matthew 6:33 ) that if we seek first His Kingdom, ( spiritual blessings), then all these things ( physical blessings ) will be added to us. We know this; I believe we all understand this ( and believe me, especially lately; I'm one of those I'm about to mention ), at least to a lesser or greater extent, but we still seem to be 'brought down' by the multitude of 'stress' factors that we find in our lives. Why must this be so?

A few years ago; I wrote a series of articles entitled 'A Focus on the Physical', and found that this had been one the major 'problems' throughout the history of God's people ( real or imagined ), and still 'plagues' many within the Body of Christ today! I believe that many, if not all, of our 'stress' factors can be blamed on this ( again, I'm not better in this area than anybody else )! In this physical realm that we call 'life ( 'That's Life' ) it is hard to live among all the hardship and pain without letting it 'get to us', which it inevitably does, at some point, or in some way, to whatever extent. The key is to stay focused on what God, in Christ, has done for us, and not on what we ourselves 'must' do. We need to find a happy medium between realizing ( trusting fully ) what Christ has done, 'resting from our labors' ( ceasing trusting our own works ), and willingly, happily doing what is necessary for us to do while we exist in this physical, human plane. There are things that need to be done while on this earth, and, normally, these things require hands and feet, but, while we try to keep in mind the spiritual and physical blessings; we often tend to get 'stressed out' ( I know I do ) when thinking of all the things that we 'have' to do, and while it's easy to preach Matthew 6:33, etc., it is infinitely ( almost ) harder to practice it!

What can be done then? Is it possible to live amongst all this anguish and turmoil without letting it get us down? I say 'Yes'! I've admitted that I'm finding it more and more difficult to accomplish, and basically found that it's almost an integral part of the human condition, but I'm by no means saying that it is a lack of faith ( maybe I am ) or trust in God, that many of us do fall prey to the 'stress' in our lives, but that when we begin to feel the 'weight' of those 'stress factors' pulling us down, we should immediately stop, raise our 'eyes' to 'Heaven' and thank God for the 'stress factors' that He has placed in our path, and for the strength that He has given us to over-come those obstacles!

Humbly & Hypocritically.
Charles Shank

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