Growing up. . .I learned it was never good to begin a letter with an apology or a sermon with something negative.
However, I want to reveal what I call “The Circle of Failure”. . .so we can get on to the remainder of this most positive, life-changing teaching.
Here are the ten points to “The Circle of Failure.”
Circumstances lead to situations producing problems spawning worry leading to stress creating anxiety followed by ineffectiveness resulting in sickness, excuses and ultimately failure.
What prompted me to think about this. . .was the number of believers I come in contact with on a daily basis who are overwhelmed by stress and pressure. These faithful saints are so blinded by their circumstances. . .they can’t fully realize how blessed they are.
As I was reflecting on how some of these believers were looking for answers in all the wrong places. . .1 Thessalonians 3:7 in the Amplified Bible was brought to my attention. This is what it says:
“Brethren, for this reason, in [spite of all] our stress and crushing difficulties we have been filled with comfort and cheer about you [because of] your faith (the leaning of your whole personality on God in complete trust and confidence).”
In this scripture are seven reasons you’re too blessed to be stressed.
1. Recognize you’re living in stress and with crushing difficulties.
The most destructive and sometimes deadly thing about stress. . .is that it slips up on you.
Too many people think they’re living on adrenaline when in fact. . .they’re living with stress.
I’m an expert on this deceitful situation. . .because I’ve been there. . .done it. . . experienced it. . .overcame it and blessed to be on the other side of it.
When I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. . .a co-worker gave me a copy of a book entitled “Adrenaline and Stress.” It was a big book. . .and I will confess I only read the table of contents, the introduction, the first chapter and the rest I skimmed.
I read enough of the book to know that I needed to change.
Once I understood. . .and recognized the extent to which I was living in stress. . .and frankly, most of the time. . .it was self-imposed or self-sustaining.
Actually, you could say all the time it’s self-imposed and self-sustaining because we may ‘think’ we have to do this or must do that … but truth be told … everything … yes, everything we do is a choice we make or perhaps we’re not making.
I Peter 3:11 in the New King James Version says:
“Let him turn away from evil and do good; Let him seek peace and pursue it.”
If you find yourself in a stressful situation at work. . .acknowledge it. . .then ask God to show you ways to deal with and overcome it.
I find my peace in Psalm 119:143 in the New Living Translation which says:
“As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands.”
Spend more time in the Word and in His presence.
I realize you may have wanted me to give you a bottle with a Genie in it. We’re dealing with reality and not a television fantasy.
If your stress is related to your finances. . .a load of debt and a lack of money. . .let me assure you that just having more money will not. . .in and of itself. . .solve your problem. . .but time with God will.
Every answer to every question to every stress is found in His Word.
One more word. . .this is important because most stress is first manifested by external or outside circumstances before it internalizes. That’s why, this first step is so critically important.
Don’t tolerate stress (financial or otherwise). . .because whatever you tolerate will expand in your life.
Recognize you’ve got stress. . .give it to God as you seek direction in His Word. . .then move on.
2. You have been filled with comfort.
I’m not talking about Southern Comfort but the comfort of the Holy Spirit.
I realize that some saints listening have never consumed alcohol. . .for those who don’t know. . .Southern Comfort is a bourbon. . .and many consider it the South’s way of getting back at the North. Okay, that’s from a joke I heard a long time ago that just stuck with me...
Unfortunately, there are people who try distilled spirits to deal with stress instead of the Holy Spirit.
Ephesians 5:18 says:
“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”
I think it’s important to view this scripture in total context. Listen to Ephesians 5:17-18:
“Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”
And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.”
When you’re filled with the Holy Spirit. . .then you will find a scriptural key which brings you comfort, joy, strength, peace and direction.
Ephesians 5:19 says:
“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”
Now I’m going to give you one verse. . .that sums it up for us.
2 Corinthians 1:4 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Who comforts (consoles and encourages) us in every trouble (calamity and affliction), so that we may also be able to comfort (console and encourage) those who are in any kind of trouble or distress, with the comfort (consolation and encouragement) with which we ourselves are comforted (consoled and encouraged) by God.”
3. You’ve got plenty to be cheerful about.
When it feels as though your creditors are carpooling to your house. . .and the financial stress becomes overwhelming. . .you need to cheer up. That’s right, CHEER UP!
Genesis 50:21 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Now therefore, do not be afraid. I will provide for and support you and your little ones. And he comforted them [imparting cheer, hope, strength] and spoke to their hearts [kindly].”
If we can turn our attention away from the outside pressures and toward our trust in the One who made heaven and earth, our perspective will change and so will our peace factor.
God says. . .do not be afraid. . .I will provide for and support you. . .be comforted by imparting cheer, hope and strength through Psalm 94:19 in the Amplified Bible:
“In the multitude of my [anxious] thoughts within me, Your comforts cheer and delight my soul!”
The Living Bible translation of Psalm 94:19 says:
“Lord, when doubts fill my mind, when my heart is in turmoil, quiet me and give me renewed hope and cheer.”
When doubts fill your mind. . .turn to the Lord and He will cheer you up.
John 16:33 in the Amplified Bible says:
“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]”
Tribulation. . .trials. . .distress and frustration. . .does it seem you’ve been meeting these four demons of despair wherever you turn. If so, you gotta know. . .Jesus is telling you to be of good cheer.
When He tells us to be cheerful in adversity. . .He states we’re to take courage, be confident, certain and undaunted. Jesus paid the price and robbed The Circle of Failure of its ability to harm you.
Psalm 31:24 in The Living Bible says:
“So cheer up! Take courage if you are depending on the Lord.”
When you depend on Him. . .you never have to worry about them. That should make you CHEER UP.
4. Exercise your faith. . .by your actions.
Here are seven keys to exercising your faith.
First, what you do in life. . .will be a reflection of what you’ve learned.
John 8:38 in the Amplified Bible says:
“I tell the things which I have seen and learned at My Father’s side, and your actions also reflect what you have heard and learned from your father.”
Second, our greatest desire should be for our deeds to reflect His instructions.
Psalm 119:5 in the New Living Translation says:
“Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees!”
Third, faith must be an action or it will always be inactive.
James 2:17 in the Amplified Bible says:
“So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead).”
Fourth, it’s a team effort. . .faith. . .knowing that God’s Word is true. . .and actions which unleash faith into the natural realm.
James 2:22 in the New Living Translation says:
“You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete.”
Fifth, you will be rewarded for the actions you take. . .and consequences when you don’t.
Proverbs 24:12 in the New Living Translation says:
“Don’t excuse yourself by saying, “Look, we didn’t know.” For God understands all hearts, and he sees you. He who guards your soul knows you knew. He will repay all people as their actions deserve.”
Sixth, our commitment to bring glory and honor to His name. . .will automatically bring success to ours.
Proverbs 16:3 in the New Living Translation says:
“Commit your actions to the LORD, and your plans will succeed.”
Seventh, you’ll be paid for your faithful actions.
Revelation 22:12 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Behold, I am coming soon, and I shall bring My wages and rewards with Me, to repay and render to each one just what his own actions and his own work merit.”
5. Learn on the everlasting arms
Have you ever sung the old hymn “Leaning On The Everlasting Arms?”
What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
This classic old hymn was inspired by Deuteronomy 33:26-27 which in the New Living Translation says:
“There is no one like the God of Israel. He rides across the heavens to help you, across the skies in majestic splendor. The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you. He drives out the enemy before you; he cries out, ‘Destroy them!’
The song was written in 1887 by Anthony Showalter after he received letters from two former pupils saying their wives had died.
When loss and stress pop up. . .find peace and strength in the Word … even the words of an old hymn.
We have an everlasting commitment from our Heavenly Father.
John 3:16 says:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
Our Heavenly Father sent Jesus, His Son so that we could have everlasting life. The will of the Father as manifested through the Son is also found in John 10:10 which in the New Living Translation says:
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”
Regardless of what we’re going through. . .we just need to lean on His everlasting arms.
6. Put your trust in the only One who will never let you down.
When you’re feeling stressed out. . .there are six powerful words which need to be engrafted in your spirit. The words are found in 1 Corinthians 10:13 in the Message Bible which says:
“No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it.”
There’s so much at work in this verse which includes six powerful words we need to mentally and spiritually grab a hold of and never let go. The words are:
GOD WILL NEVER LET YOU DOWN.
There are going to be moments when you feel like giving up. . .you feel as though nothing is working out the way you wanted or even planned.
In those moments, go before the Lord and allow Him to provide you emotional shelter from the blitzkrieg happening all around you. . .being confident in the knowledge that GOD WILL NEVER LET YOU DOWN.
There is another part of that verse that should encourage you in the midst of every satanic firefight.
God will “never let you be pushed past your limit.”
At times you may feel as like Mother Teresa who once said she wished God didn’t feel she could handle so much. But nonetheless He knows what you are made of even better than you do.
There have been times in my life. . .when I’ve said “God let me learn everything I need to in this attack so I don’t ever have to learn it again!”
Instead of saying “why me?” during every major assault. . .learn everything you can so you won’t have to repeat the lesson, but more importantly. . .view every adversity as advanced study for the greater work He has for you to do.
The last part of the verse should give you ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE in God’s unwavering commitment to you and your future.
God will “. . .always be there to help you come through it.”
No matter the intensity or duration of the adversity. . .God WILL NEVER LET YOU DOWN. . .He will never let you be pushed past your endurance and He will always be there to help you turn defeat into victory.
No matter how great your stress or how weary you are from a lack of rest. . .God will never let you down.
We also need to be mindful of Proverbs 3:5-6 in the Message Bible which says:
“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God's voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he's the one who will keep you on track.”
The part of the verse that says “. . .don’t try to figure out everything on your own. . .” is critically important to your emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.
If you’re trying to figure things out. . .to solve your problems by yourself. . .then you don’t need God.
Simply said, only one of you will be working on and through the problem, situation or attack. . .that’s either you or Him.
As the verse says, you must “. . .listen for God’s voice in everything you do. . .” And remember, God will never let you down.
7. Let your confidence in Him replace your stress from them.
If you’re not confident in your knowledge, attitude and abilities then you will become complacent in your efforts.
“Brother Harold, I understand confidence is important but it’s hard to have it when no one has ever had confidence in me.”
Saying such a thing is absolutely false.
Psalm 71:5 in the Amplified Bible says:
“For You are my hope; O Lord God, You are my trust from my youth and the source of my confidence.”
While having others validate you, believe in you and/or have confidence in you is very nice, it’s not the deal breaker. If you’ve got faith. . .then you can get confidence.
Let me say that again. . .and please write it down.
If you’ve got faith. . .then you can get confidence.
Let me add something else? Sometimes it’s better that no one shows confidence in you because once you settle on God’s confidence in you … you won’t need the assurance of mere human beings anymore.
Ephesians 3:12 in the Amplified Bible says:
“In Whom, because of our faith in Him, we dare to have the boldness (courage and confidence) of free access (an unreserved approach to God with freedom and without fear).”
When your confidence is born in faith. . .it gives you a boldness. . .in knowing that you can achieve anything. . .regardless of the obstacles.
1 John 5:4 says:
“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:”
Faith creates confidence which births boldness which produces happiness.
2 Corinthians 7:16 in the New Living Translation says:
“I am very happy now because I have complete confidence in you.”
When you’re confident in who you are, what you know and what you’re doing. . .it shows.
Your confidence will be contagious to those around you. . .giving you uncommon favor in everything your hands find to do.
Faith and confidence also bring healing.
Luke 17:19 AMP says:
“And He said to him, Get up and go on your way. Your faith (your trust and confidence that spring from your belief in God) has restored you to health.”
Your faith and confidence bring forgiveness of sins.
Luke 5:20 says:
“And when He saw [their confidence in Him, springing from] their faith, He said, Man, your sins are forgiven you!”
Your faith produces a spiritual confidence. Continued faith building produces solid rock confidence.
Fear flees when confidence in God’s Word shows up.
Psalm 56:3 says:
“What time I am afraid, I will have confidence in and put my trust and reliance in You.”
The scripture is clear. . .we’re blessed, forgiven, healed and protected when our faith
and confidence is in Him. Fears flee when confidence shows up.
We can have confidence in knowing that He’s listening every time we call upon Him.
Psalm 86:7 in the Message Bible says:
“Every time I'm in trouble I call on you, confident that you'll answer.”
1 John 5:15 in the Message Bible says:
“And if we're confident that he's listening, we know that what we've asked for is as good as ours. “
Jeremiah 17:7 in the Amplified Bible which says:
“[Most] blessed is the man who believes in, trusts in, and relies on the Lord, and whose hope and confidence the Lord is.
I suggest you read this verse at least seven times to let it sink in:
“[Most] blessed is the man who believes in, trusts in, and relies on the Lord, and whose hope and confidence the Lord is.”
What makes a person blessed? The Word says that a person is blessed “… whose hope and confidence is in the Lord….”
You will be blessed instead of stressed. . .when your confidence is in Him.
So the bottom line. . .you’re too blessed to be stressed. . .if you never lose sight of Who has your back.BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS