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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Managing Stress Like Jesus: Listen to God

In review of Luke 5:15-16 it says, “News about Jesus spread even more. Many people came to hear him and to be healed . . . but Jesus often slipped away to be alone so he could pray” (NCV).

Today’s passage comes from Luke 5:13-16. In it I read how Jesus reached out to the man who begged him to be healed of his advanced case of leprosy. The man had faith in Jesus to heal him, asked for Jesus to heal him if Jesus wanted. Jesus reached out and touched him. "I am willing," he said. "Be healed!" Instantly the leprosy disappeared. Jesus instructed the man to not tell anyone what happened. But despite Jesus' instructions, the report of Jesus power spread even faster, and vast crowds came to hear Jesus preach and to be healed of their diseases. But with all this demand on his time and the good things he was doing, Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.

The man with leprosy believed that Jesus could heal him. And Jesus did just that when he was asked. Jesus often reached out to touch the untouchable, and to heal a contagious man in order to restore him.

People were flocking to see and hear Jesus preach and to have their diseases healed, but with all of this, Jesus made sure he often withdrew to quiet, solitary places to pray. Many things in my life, especially my work, can clamor for my attention. I often run myself ragged trying to attend to them. Like Jesus, I should learn to take time to withdraw. To go off to a quiet and deserted place to pray and be with the Father. What I learn from Jesus is that strength comes from God, and I can only be strengthened by spending time with him.

Over the last few days, I’ve dug into four stress management principles from the life of Jesus:

Identification: Know who I am
Motivation: Know whose approval I’m living for
Vocation: Know my calling
Concentration: Focus on what matters most

A fifth principle is very important. It’s the Principle of Meditation. To reduce my stress, I need to listen to God.

Jesus did this over and over in the New Testament. For example, the Bible says, “News about Jesus spread even more. Many people came to hear him and to be healed . . . but Jesus often slipped away to be alone so he could pray” (Luke 5:15-16 NCV).

Jesus, who literally had the weight of the world on his shoulders, spent time alone with God. As the pressures on Jesus increased, he got away to talk with God. Jesus had a habit of quiet times where he went away to reflect, to renew, and to recharge.

Noise is stress. That’s why I must create intentional times of quietness and solitude in my life.

If I always have noise in my life—the television is always on, the radio is always on, and the earbuds are always in my ear—I won’t have the spiritual and emotional resources to handle stress in my life.

So I should start my morning with good news. Don’t fill my mind with negativity right off the bat.

Spend time with God. Open my Bible. Find out what God wants to say to me.

To help lower the stress in life, I need to learn to keep a daily time with God where I listen to Him—and allow that set my mood for the day.

Bottom Line:
News about Jesus kept spreading. Large crowds came to listen to him teach and to be healed of their diseases. But Jesus would often go to some place where he could be alone and pray.

What this means to me:
The news about Jesus kept spreading, he had become extremely popular, and sought after. People came to hear him speak and to be healed. With all of this, Jesus handled this demand on his time by carving out and spending isolated time to be alone with the Father and to pray.

In summary, Jesus, with all kinds of demands on his time and with the good things he was doing, still took time to withdraw to a quiet place for prayer and time with God. Many things in my life, especially at work clamor for my attention. I run myself ragged trying to keep ahead of them and or attend to what is needed. Like Jesus, I too should learn to take time to withdraw. To go off to a quiet and deserted place to pray and to be with the Father. To reduce my stress, I need time to listen to God. I need to have time that is quiet, no noise.

People came to hear him speak and to be healed. Jesus handled this demand on his time by spending isolated time to be alone with the Father and to pray. I too find myself extremely busy and sought after for the role I play at work. But even this his busyness and the need, Jesus took time out to be with and listen to the Father. This should serve as an example for myself as well. I may need to withdraw at times and get some renewed energy and encouragement from time with the Father and in my own prayers. Today I pray Father that you help remind me to get away from time to time to be quiet and just listen to you. I also ask Father for your wisdom and guidance in how I handle what comes my way. Help me to lead others well. Help me to respond rightly to those I interact with. These things I pray in your Son Jesus name, amen!

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