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Stress is Strengthening

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”

– Psalm 34:4

I want to share a piece of information with you today that I believe can shape the way you think about your walk with God. While life’s circumstances are often tough, just because things aren’t going the way you want them to does not mean that Jesus is disinterested; He is not withholding Himself and punishing you. God, on the other hand, isn’t always concerned with improving your circumstances; rather, He is constantly concerned with improving you! He is passionate about making disciples, and that is His top priority. What is the definition of a disciple? Someone who aspires to be just like Jesus in terms of intelligence, strength, power, love, forgiveness, mercy, and wisdom. If this sounds egotistical, realize that this is exactly what Jesus desires for us: to become disciples who faithfully follow in His footsteps through good, bad, and ugly times.

Remember that, despite several articles warning us about the dangers of stress, such as the toll it takes on our bodies, research suggests that, as long as stress does not convert into anxiety, it can really be beneficial to our health. It is, in reality, the thing that expands and strengthens us. Surprisingly, not enough stress in our life can lead to mental health issues such as anxiety and addiction. This is very common among wealthy individuals and celebrities. Since they can prevent many negative things from happening because of their money, they grow concerned about the future and their ability to deal with a crisis if and when it occurs. The world shrinks and closes in around them as a result of this tendency of striving to keep adversity at bay. This, however, is not the abundant life that Jesus paid on the cross for you and me!

Your world can and should expand in Christ, my friend! You can accomplish things that scare you and face obstacles head-on because you are a follower of the One who holds the universe in His hands. Anxiety will be relieved and empowerment will take its place when you undertake something scary. Suffering is unavoidable in this life, but attempting to protect yourself from further suffering might result in a far more extensive and life-threatening wound. Never be frightened to go into the fire because Jesus has already gone before you and paved the way. He is putting you through difficulties to refine you and make you better than you could ever be on your own! Isn’t that a wonderful thought?

Prayer


Jesus, thank you for refining me in and through life’s challenges. I promise not to run from stress, but to allow it to stretch me and broaden my horizons.

Reflection


Was there a time in your life when God improved you despite the fact that your circumstances did not improve?

If you’re unable to attend your local church or need some additional weekly inspiration, be sure to tune into Hour of Power every Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. PT on TBN or watch online at hourofpower.org/episode.  

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