Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- May 27, 2011
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:24-25
Success as God defines success is stressful. It is not a passive process to deny self, bear a cross for Christ and follow Him. There is a weight of responsibility that comes with those who wholeheartedly follow Jesus. The resume of a disciple is full of stressful experiences that engage the Lord’s faithfulness. Success brings stress, but God provides rest.
Furthermore, it’s out of these seeds of stress that the Lord grows His kingdom. Hearts are made whole, marriages mature, children are parented with truth and grace, the hungry are fed, jobs are completed, giving is generous, churches are planted, the lost are saved and God is glorified. Without stress there would be no babies born, buildings built or battles fought. God’s will is not stress free living—but faithful living—as we learn to rest in Him.
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast” (1 Peter 5:10).
It’s when stress becomes distress that we have transitioned to distrust in the Lord. Distress feels like you have lost control and then you react out of false fears. Tension is good, because it keeps us trusting Jesus, but distress throws us into a frantic frame of mind. We lose our bearings of belief and make unwise, even irrational decisions. We are miserable and we make those around us miserable. However, distress is deflated when faith is inflated.
So, are you happy in your success? Are you able to enjoy what you have worked for all these years? If not, take an audit of your motives. Are you driven to control and hang on, or are you free to give over control to Christ and to give freely by faith? Distress follows distrust, because the context of control depends on you. God did not make you to handle that degree of pressure. Like a soda can in a freezer, you explode under a hardened heart.
Therefore, in the middle of your success—give up your life to the Lord—and you will find it. A life worth living accepts stress, but rejects distress. Use stress as an indicator to slow down and rest. Like a red light on the dashboard of your automobile, see stress as a warning to maintain your soul care. Success accepts stress as an indicator for intimacy.
“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” (Hebrews 10:36).
Am I trusting God in my stress or has my distrust created distress?
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