STRESS is a part of life series #4
“Stress is Purposeful” [doelgerig]
(showing determination for what you need to do)
There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.
– Leonard Cohen
By Pastor George Lehman
Job 23:10-11 (NIV) – 10 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. 11 My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside.
James 1:3-8 (Amp) – 3 Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. 4 But 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. 5 If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him. 6Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind. 7For truly, let no such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord, 8[For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides].
* This wasn’t written as a nice story but to encourage us on our spiritual journey.
Once again, we are reminded that stress is not simply Predictable, Problematic and Paradoxical.
Stress is also Purposeful. We can benefit from stress.
Job 14:1 (NIV) – “Mortals, born of woman, are of few days and full of trouble.
To be specific, stress can help produce purity in our lives. Job said, “I will come out as gold”.
James spoke of the “TESTING” of your faith that happens in the process of stress.
1 Peter 1:7 – Peter used the same word to say that various trials come our way so “that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes (though it is tested) by fire, may be found to praise, honour and glory at the revelation of Jesus”.
This same word is also translated “purging”.
Example: Precious metal being heated till the impurities rise to the top and are scraped off. Only pure metal remains.
1 Corinthians 3:11-15 (NIV) – 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 14 If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.
James was indicating that our stressful trials are for a purpose.
They have their own way of refining us.
Stress also has the purpose of producing “perseverance” in our lives.
The word perseverance literally means “to stand up under”.
Only trials of our faith can prove the depth of our faith and the strength of our character. When we are squeezed – what comes out of us?
Another purpose of stress is to lead us to perfection.
Matthew 5:48 (NIV) – Be *perfect therefore, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.
*perfect = some translations have changed the word ‘perfect’ to complete, put things in order, grow to maturity)
2 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV) – Finally, brothers, good-bye. Aim for perfection, listen to my appeal, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
The goal is perfection.
James 1:4 – so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
The word ‘perfect’ here means, “to carry to its end; to become fully grown; to mature”.
Our goal as Christians is to come to full maturity (from surrender to fully surrendered). Notice the process
Purposeful, purity, perseverance, perfection.
Stress can also prompt prayer – that’s why its purposeful.
James 1:5 (NIV) – If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
There’s a difference between wisdom and knowledge.
Knowledge is accumulation of facts.
However, wisdom is the ability to take the facts (the knowledge we have) at hand and using heavenly judgment and apply what we know to our situations around us.
This was Paul’s point to Colossians:
Colossians 1:9-10 (NIV) – 9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 And we pray this in order that you may live (1)a life worthy of the Lord and may (2) please him in every way: (3) bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.
There it is again stress is purposeful it produces:
That is purity
That is perseverance
That is perfection.
Most times when we are in stress mode, prayer is our last resort instead of our starting point for dealing with stress.
Psalm 118:8 (NIV) – It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.
James also said:
James 1:6-7 (NIV) – 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord.
Not everyone receives wisdom who ask – It comes to those who believe.
Mark 11:24 (Amp) – For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it].
Where do we find this faith?
Romans 10:17 – Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
Prayer without the truths from the bible has no direction.
The person who lives with doubt in times of stressful trials is ”double-minded … unstable in all his ways” – James 1:8.
James says the doubter is trying to serve two masters. Part of them says “yes, I believe” and another whispers, “I doubt”.
Stress can be purposeful if we dare to trust God.
So, what is our greatest need in times of stress? WISDOM for how to deal with the issues of life.
How do we get wisdom? We ask for it by faith.
Hebrews 11:6 (Amp) – But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].
Stress is purposeful.
What we go through God uses to perfect our faith.
Yes, your stress and trials do serve a purpose.
It is for us to draw closer to the Lord and strengthen our weak faith into a strong, courageous, unwavering walk with Jesus.
1 Corinthians 16:13 – Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.