Recently, I spent almost an entire day bombarded with things that kept me tense and either bordering on anger or fully enveloped by it, off and on. One thing after another kept upending may schedule, and though I had my day all planned out, I was not making much head way. Listening to “news” reports and commentary while was driving just got me more on edge. I was feeling less focused and more frustrated as the day went on. Finally, I was forced to stop and take a few deep breaths, let the phone go unanswered, not look at text messages or emails , get away from the radio and rest my mind by opening my Bible and reading the Words of Jesus.
I was not strategic about it all. I just wanted to go to a place where I knew I could surrender myself and not be in tug-a-war with thinking what I should be doing next. I just sat quietly and read for a while. Then I prayed one of those really one on one conversations with the Lord openly and transparently, expressing exactly what I was feeling up to the moment. I chose to step away from the daily “stuff” and just center on Him.
It’s amazing how quickly my mind settled down and then my body soon followed. I still had work to do but for the moment I was content to just linger in His presence, hearing His Words speak to me. As I said, I wasn’t strategic about what I was reading. I didn’t have a plan per se. I just decided to read Matthew Chapter 4. It begins with the account of Jesus being led into the wilderness after His Baptism to be tempted of the devil.
It hit me that Jesus was led…to be tempted. His purpose for going into the desert (wilderness) was to be tempted. But later when He is instructing the disciples how to pray, He told them to pray, “…lead us not into temptation.” Let that sink in.
For 40 days and 40 nights He was in the wilderness fasting. It was then, when He was the most hungry, the most physically and mentally weak, that the devil came to tempt Him with turning stones to bread. He did not yield to the temptation but countered it with Words of faith and truth from God. As a child He would have been taught the history of His people Israel; how in the desert God fed them with manna. That is, with food that they, nor their fathers knew before, to let them know “…that man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” So, when the temptation came to do something supernatural to satisfy His hunger he chose to rely on the Word of God. Why? He did it to model for us what we can do as human beings, not as God, to resist the devil and counter his temptations toward us in the same way.
And this He did with every temptation the devil threw at Him. The best and most effective way to deal with stress and tension in our lives is to speak the Word of God to the situation and to our own hearts. “It is written…”
We all have those times when we are tempted to despair, worry, fear or anxiety. You name it! But we all also have a recourse, a way of escape that we can bear it. It’s speaking the Word of God in the moment of our temptation, then casting all our cares over on the Lord because we are not meant to carry them.
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7
Then we set ourselves up to receive His peace, the peace that passes all understanding, perfect peace.
“You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You. So trust in the Lord (commit yourself to Him, lean on Him, hope confidently in Him) forever; for the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages].” Isaiah 26:3-4 AMP