Life Lived in Less Stress

Written September 7th 2007 Friday

Posted September 10th 2007 Monday 

Life Lived in Less Stress  

            We must unearth a way in our lives, to find the balance that I believe God desires for us to have.  Without it, we will ultimately crash and burn or underachieve in life. God loves us and neither one of these things are His desire for us.  Does the Bible talk about balance?  Is there such a thing as stress free or close to stress free living?  Let’s find out.  

Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law.  – Proverbs 29:18

            We need guidelines within our lives in order to keep our lives in balance and from spinning out of control.  The lust for intemperance, in any area, is so great because the pull of sin is so great, that without boundaries, we are doomed to excessive behavior.  We need the revelation of God’s Word and principals coupled with the revelation of God’s personal desires for how we are to manage our lives and what is right for us, in order to bring that balanced living about.  Without both we are tempted to “cast off restraint” and live aimlessly.  

And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things.  Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.  – 1 Corinthian 9:25

Temperate = 1467   to exercise self-restraint (in diet and chastity):— can ([-not]) contain, be temperate.

     We need to live with the sense that too much of anything is not good for us.  We have heard this; however, do we believe it to be true?  If you look at the way people live the answer would have to be no.  We must choose balance, restraint, temperance, in every aspect of our lives; it will not going just happen.  We need to reach the place in life, if we are not there yet, where one can or cannot do something at any given time. I just couldn’t resist, is a death mantra!  Yes, you can!                                   

When you sit down to eat with a ruler, Consider carefully what is before you; And put a knife to your throat If you are a man given to appetite.  – Proverbs 23:1,2

For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, And drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.  – Proverbs 23:21 Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is led astray by it is not wise.  – Proverbs 20:1

     Here Scripture is warning us against the sin of excess.  The danger of such it is trying to point out to us.  Those given to excess will be led to poverty.  Now, is the Bible stereotyping?  No, of course it is not.  It is however, pointing out truths, we are able to examine within our society.  Very often, those given to excess in the area of food and alcohol can also be noted for being poorer in nature.  Usually if we are unable to discipline one area of our lives, we are going to unable to discipline others.  There are exceptions, where one might have a single area of their lives, which is found to be undisciplined, while other areas of their lives remain temperate; nonetheless, all and all the discipline, or lack there of, seem to run throughout one life.

     There is also the aspect where over indulgence leads to a problem with alcohol or certain foods.  Here we have the chicken and the egg theory.  Which comes first the overindulgence of alcohol and/or food or an addiction to alcohol or certain foods?  People debate this all the time.  I personally believe that overindulgence leads to addiction, not the other way around.  I believe Scripture supports this idea, hence, the warning against overindulgence.  I was having this debate in a Bible Study one day.  A lady asked me, “What are you going to do if one day science proves that alcoholism is genetic and a disease?”  My response to her was, “I do not believe that is going to ever be able to be proven, as the Bible does not support such a theory.”  Overindulgence in anything” can lead to a stronghold aka addiction developing in our lives.  Excessive behavior is extremely dangerous! 

Do not overwork to be rich; Because of your own understanding, cease!  Will you set your eyes on that which is not?  For riches certainly make themselves wings; They fly away like an eagle toward heaven.  – Proverbs 23:4,5

     Excessive work of any kind, even ministry, was never what God intended and causes a great deal of stress in our lives.  Without the proper rest and relaxation in our day, what we are able to accomplish is going to suffer. Many have this idea that if a person is working in the ministry than excess is allowable and understandable.  Not true at all.  We have, at last statistics I received, 5,000 ministers leaving ministry work each year from burnout, their families are often in shambles, and their marriages suffer a great deal.  This holds true of those who leave the ministry and those who remain.  The fact we are “doing it for the Lord” is no excuse for neglecting the spouse, family, and body our Lord gave us.  Lust for money or prestige is often the driving force behind any overwork.  Once we are gone, what we have done as minister’s may remain, but at what cost.  Once we are gone, someone else will enjoy all our secular spoils.  Our podium and / or everything we have can be gone in a flash of light.  Let us make sure we do not cling too tightly to either and destroy our relationships and body in the process.  

For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, And drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.  – Proverbs 23:21

     On the other side of the coin, we are not to be lazy either.  Laziness in it own right is often a stressor.  It will also lead us to poverty and despair.  When we are lazy, we are just as out of balance as when we are overworking.  It will also cause family and relational problems.  There is a wonderful balance, which is reachable, between overwork and laziness, one we would be wise to find and maintain.  

Do not be overly righteous, Nor be overly wise: Why should you destroy yourself?  – Ecclesiastes 7:16

     As we grow in our love for the Lord and our faith and knowledge of Him and His ways, we must be mindful to reach for all He has for us without falling into legalism and pride, which leads to destruction. We are to desire to grow in our godly behavior; behaving in a righteous manner without becoming overly righteous.  If we were not meant to be righteous in our behavior, we would not have the warning not become overly righteous.  Again, it is about balance.  Balance even with our faith, as it relates to our behavior.

     We also need to grow in our knowledge of God and in wisdom without becoming particularly wise in our own minds.  Almost seems like a contradiction but it is not one at all.  We can be very wise and still hold ourselves in check before the Lord and others.  Real godly wisdom is simply relying on God to tell you what is best.  Consequently, no reason for pride as it has almost nothing to do with what we know.

     Pride in either one of these areas will lead to our destruction.  We do not have to become prideful.  We can chose to have faith and confidence in the walk and wisdom God has given us, without viewing it through the lenses of “our” accomplishment.  As long as we keep an attitude of gratefulness toward God for our godly walk and our godly wisdom, keeping our mind off ourselves, we will fair fine.  We will be able to balance being wise and walking godly without pride and the stress of having to perform.    

A life lived at extremes is headed for disaster!  

Make a choice to balance your life,

save your sanity, and reduce your stress.

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