Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Managing Stress Like Jesus: Know What Matters Most
In review of Luke 9:51 it says, “As the time drew near for his return to heaven, he moved steadily onward toward Jerusalem with an iron will” (TLB).
Today’s verse comes from Luke 9:51-56. I read that as the time drew near for Jesus to ascend to heaven, he resolutely (purposefully, determined, and unwavering) set out for Jerusalem. He sent messenger's ahead to a Samaritan village to prepare for his arrival. But the people of the village did not welcome Jesus because he was on his way to Jerusalem. When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, "Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?" But Jesus turned and rebuked them. So they went on to another village.
Although Jesus know he would face persecution and death in Jerusalem, he was determined to go there. This kind of resolve should characterize my life as well. When God gives me a course of action, I must move steadily toward that destination, regardless of the potential hazards that await me there.
"Purebred" Jews hated these "half-breeds," and the Samaritans in turn hated the Jews. So many tensions arose between the two peoples that Jewish travelers between Galilee and southern Judea often would walk around rather than through Samaritan territory, even though this would lengthen their trip considerably. Jesus held no prejudices, and he sent messengers ahead to get things ready in a Samaritan village. But the village refused to welcome these Jewish travelers who were headed for Jerusalem.
When the Samaritan village did not welcome Jesus and his disciples, James and John didn't want to stop at shaking the dust from their feet. They wanted to retaliate by calling down fire from heaven on the people, as Elijah had done on the servants of the wicked king of Israel. When others reject or scorn me, I too may feel like retaliating. I must remember that judgement belongs to God, and I must not expect him to use his power to carry out any of my personal vendettas.
I tend to get distracted by trivial things. If Satan can’t get me to be bad, he’ll get me to be busy.
And this causes me more stress than I can imagine. In the last few days, I’ve been looking at seven principles of stress-free living from the life of Jesus.
The first three principles were:
Identification: Know who I am
Motivation: Know whose approval am I living for
Vocation: Know my calling
Jesus’ fourth principle of stress-free living is concentration. I must know what matters most.
Jesus was a master of concentration. He focused like a laser on what the Father wanted him to do.
When light is diffused, it has no power at all. But light that’s focused has enormous power. Take the sun as an example. On its own, the light won’t harm grass. But if you focus its light with a magnifying glass, you can burn that grass. Focus light even more and it becomes a laser—and a laser can cut through steel and kill cancer.
If I want my life to matter, I need to focus it.
Jesus showed umes this in Luke 9:51: “As the time drew near for his return to heaven, he moved steadily onward toward Jerusalem with an iron will” (TLB).
Jerusalem was where the cross was. Jesus knew that was where God wanted him. Nothing would keep him from it.
I have enormous spiritual power that will only be unlocked if I decide what’s most important to me. I can focus on either what will last for eternity or what is temporary. It’s my choice.
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:23, “Someone may say, ‘I’m allowed to do anything,’ but not everything is helpful. I’m allowed to do anything, but not everything encourages growth” (GW).
I’m free to do anything, but not everything will be helpful. If I don’t concentrate my life on what matters most, I’ll stress myself out over what matters least.
Before it was time for Jesus to be taken up to heaven, he made up his mind to go to Jerusalem.
What this means to me:
Not long before it was time for Jesus to be taken up to heaven, he made up his mind and determinedly set out on his way to Jerusalem.
In summary, Jesus, knowing what was ahead still purposefully set out for Jerusalem. This kind of resolve should characterize my life as well. When God gives me a course of action, I must steadily move toward that destination, regardless of any hazards that may await me. Even with what Jesus was going to experience, he never held any prejudices. When I'm rejected or scorned, I too may feel like retaliating. I must remember that judgement belongs to God. I should not expect him to carry out any of my personal vendettas. I also must remember that I can be easily distracted by trivial things. If the enemy can't get me to be bad, then he'll get me to be busy. Jesus was a master of concentration. He knew what mattered most and focused on what the Father wanted him to do. For my life to matter, I need to focus it. If I don't concentrate my life on what matters most, I'll stress myself out over what matter least.
Father, I can get distracted by many things, including my job. I do feel that the enemy has kept me busy and burdened with trivial things to distract me from the real work that you want me to do. While I may have work to do, the way I think about it and how you would want me to handle it need to change. I pray this morning that you will help me to see things differently and with the perspective of serving you and others. Please provide me wisdom and guidance today so that I can accomplish well what you want me to do. Allow me to lead and interact with others in the right way. I pray these things in your Son Jesus name, amen!
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