Stress is Paradoxical (Stress is part of life series)

STRESS is a part of life Series

 

“Stress is Paradoxical [contradictory][teenstrydig]”

People want freedom without responsibility of enduring.

 

Seek freedom and become captive of your desires.  Seek discipline and find freedom.  Frank Herbert

(When you apply the word not avoid it, freedom comes)

By Pastor George Lehman

 

Paradoxical means – at first glance it appears wrong, but upon closer thought reveals a deeper spiritual truth.

How can a bad situation turn out to be good for me?

So many want answers and victory, but the way they want it to be.

Here’s the paradox:

It’s trying to side-step or avoid trials that we actually find ourselves in deeper stress.  More problem-focused than solution-focused.

However… When you seek to discipline yourself in the word of God, that’s where you find the peace, joy and true freedom.

James 1:2 (Amp) – 2 Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter trials of any sort or fall into various temptations. 

 

James insisted we should “count it all joy” when we face stressful trials of many different kinds.

How much JOY?  ALL JOY. (This is really not a misprint. It’s a conscious decision.)

We are to counter stress with joy.

James’ firm instruction seems directly opposed to the way we tend to look at life’s challenges and difficulties.

On the surface this advice appears strange because most of us would say, “Count it all joy when you escape trials of various kinds”.  This is paradoxical. It’s like the opposite to what we feel.

James’ main thought is that stress should not be looked upon as our enemy.

We should let go of the misconception that we can avoid stress. “It’s part of life”. It’s Predictable and problematic.

For those of us who believe in the supernatural power of Christ… our times of stress should be times of making sure we are in the will of God. (Handling life God’s way)

Stress is not really the problem – it’s the way we react to it.

Jesus speaking about the importance of our reaction.  The sermon on the Mount – Matthew 5 through 7. Gives some paradoxical statements:

If we get a slap on the cheek we are to “turn the other check too”.

If someone sues you for a piece of clothing, you should give him your coat as well.

If you want to lead, you must first serve.

If you want, you must first give.

Greatness if found in your low position.

These are hard sayings, but so is dealing with stress.

It’s important to note James wasn’t saying the trial itself should be considered a joy.  It’s my attitude and reaction in the time of stress.

The word ‘consider’ literally means “to think ahead”, to “think forward”.

This is exactly what Job was doing.  Job didn’t consider the severe trial he went through.

But he did look forward to the joy he knew would follow his trial.  Something great would come of this, because of his trust / faith in God.

 

Job 23:10-11 (Amp) – 10 But He knows the way that I take [He has concern for it, appreciates, and pays attention to it]. When He has tried me, I shall come forth as refined gold [pure and luminous].  11 My foot has held fast to His steps; His ways have I kept and not turned aside.

 

Here is endurance, steadfastness and patience.

Joseph is another example.  He was thinking ahead, looking beyond the trials.

Genesis 50:20 (Amp) – As for you, you thought evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring about that many people should be kept alive, as they are this day.

 

God has a plan for a man and a man for His plan.

Joseph “counted it all joy” to be abandoned and sold by his own brothers, to be accused falsely and sit in a prison. How do we know? By his attitude to his hardship.

You see, Joseph trusted the Lord – he was thinking ahead.

What about our Lord Jesus Himself?

Hebrews 12:2 (NIV) –  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

We too, like Job, Joseph and Jesus need to think ahead with focused hearts during our stressful situations.

James was not telling us to try to find some kind of superficial joy during life’s trials.

He was saying – look ahead to Jesus.

Psalm 30:5 (LB) – His anger lasts a moment; his favor lasts for life! Weeping may go on all night, but in the morning, there is joy.

Paul says it this way…

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (Amp) – 17 For our light, momentary affliction (this slight distress of the passing hour) is ever more and more abundantly preparing and producing and achieving for us an everlasting weight of glory [beyond all measure, excessively surpassing all comparisons and all calculations, a vast and transcendent glory and blessedness never to cease!], 18 Since we consider and look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting.

 

James’ approach to stress is a family secret.  It belongs to the born-again children of God.

It is ridiculous to tell a man without a spiritual life to ‘count it joy’ when trials come.

Romans 8:9 (Amp) – But you are not living the life of the flesh, you are living the life of the Spirit, if the [Holy] Spirit of God [really] dwells within you [directs and controls you]. But if anyone does not possess the [Holy] Spirit of Christ, he is none of His [he does not belong to Christ, is not truly a child of God].

 

The world doesn’t know this!

Romans 8:28 (LB) – And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans.

Note – “we know”

Stress is paradoxical but……every stressful trial can become an opportunity for growing in the likeness of Jesus Christ.

 

“Every humiliation, everything that tries and grieves us, is God’s way of cutting a deeper channel in us through which the life of Christ can flow.”   – Roy Hession

 

Deeper the channel the more of Christ.

God must break us to make us. (Like the Potter)

James went on to say…

James 1:3-4(Amp) – 3Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. 4But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.

 

Next week we talk about “Stress is purposeful”

Oh the benefit of stress is truly awesome.

 

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