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Celestial Outlook

SURVIVING IN A STRETCHED OUT & STRESSED OUT WORLD

 By Hon. Snr. Evang. Prosper Awosika, December 14th, 2002


My message today is not going to come from a particular scripture, but we will look at several passages in the bible.
1. 1st Corinthians 15: 9-10
2. John 5 Verse 30
3. John 8 Verse 14
4. Luke 4 Verse 43
 

I want to talk today about surviving in a stretched out and stressed out world. I believe this message will not only be appropriate for us who have been on a journey in the church for a long time, but it will also be appropriate for our children that are growing up beginning their journey in life.

Most of us are stretched out and stressed out. In fact many of us are just plain over – committed and the sad part about it is that we know we are over-committed and won’t do anything about it. We complain when something unexpected is added to our plan, but most of us are so stretched out that we are stressed out. We are grumpy, we are nervous and our patience is so thin that we have difficulty tolerating others. The stress is so great that many have depended on nerve pills like Valium and Prozac to help them cope. Some have even sought relieve through drugs and alcohol. Everywhere we go we carry cell phones, beepers, or listens to voice mail. We even have TV’s in cars just to help us keep up with our stressfulness. We never have a quiet moment to hear ourselves think. Survey after surveys have shown that most Americans don’t even get enough sleep. We are stretched out and stressed out. We are in a rat race that only ends when we are caught in a rat trap. Is the syndrome of a dog chasing his tail. Have you ever seen a dog chase his tail? To be stretched out and stressed out is a no win situation. You will never catch up until you break the cycle. So what do you do when you are stressed out?
 

To answer this question we have to look at the life of Jesus Christ. Jesus lived his whole life under pressure. When he tried to steal some time away from people they still followed him. There was always great demand on his time. He was constantly interrupted, misunderstood, criticized and ridiculed. Yet he never crashed under pressure. He was always at peace, never in a hurry. That was why he was able to handle great amounts of stress. So as we consider His life we can learn how to cope with stress in our life.
 

In Mathew Jesus tells us not to be anxious about our life, so in order for us to handle stress properly we must know “who we are” and “what we are.” Paul in 1st Corinthians 15 vs.9 and 10 said “ for I am the least of the apostles and in vs. 10 said, “but by the grace of God I am what I am”. What you are in the positive sense is by the grace of God. How you look, what you do, your skills, your mentality, and your personality in the positive sense are all given to you by the grace of God. In John 8 vs. 14 Jesus said who He was and what He was given in a series of I am statements. In John 8 vs. 12 He said “ I am the light of the world” In John 14 vs. 6 He said, “I am the way and the truth.” In John 10 vs.11 he said, “I am the good shepherd and in John 10 vs. 36 “ I am the Son of God. Christ knew who he was and what he was. Some said that He was Elijah some said he was John the Baptist who has come back to life. Some even said he was Beelzebub (the prince of the devils) but Jesus knew who he was and what he was. If we are going to be able to handle the stress in our life we must know who we are and what we are. If we don’t know who we are or what we are we can be sure someone will try to tell who they think we are thereby we are made vulnerable to let other people manipulate us into being somebody we are not.


A great deal of stress in our lives comes from wearing masks, pretending to be something we are not. One of the greatest things to do to bring stress into our life is to live a double life. If we want to be a child of God, we can’t live a double life. We can’t live in the nightclub on Saturday and in church on Sunday. It will bring stress to our life, because as soon as the preacher talks about it we get mad at him and start feeling insecure. By the grace of God we are what we are and who we are. We are the children of God and that’s what God wants us to be. God loves us just for what we are and he accepts us. We don’t have to do any masking for him because he looks through the mask. He sees us for who we are because he made us. God made us black, white and vise versa. We might as well be black for God makes no mistake. He knew what he was doing when he created us. After he made us he said, “ that was very good.” Don’t act like somebody else, just be who you are
 

The second way to reduce stress in our life is to know whom we are trying to please. Who are we trying to please? I will tell you one secret, and that is, we cannot please everybody. About the time we get one group pleased, another group gets mad at us. There are some people no matter what we do they will never be pleased. Why? Because they are not even pleased with themselves. Do you know that God does not even please everybody? Just look at Jesus, did He please everybody? If he had they wouldn’t have hung him on the cross. He did miracles and they kept coming back, “I am not pleased, show me another miracle. Jesus knew whom he was trying to please. He pleased the father, and the father said to him “this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. When we don’t know whom we are trying to please we will constantly struggle and give in to three things:
1. CRITICISM
2. COMPETITION
3. CONFLICT
 

Criticism -because we will be concerned with what others thinks about us.
Competition -because we will always be worried about someone else getting ahead of us and getting the credit in the recognition
 

Conflict- because when someone disagrees with us we feel threatened. But we are instructed in Mathew 6 vs. 33 to seek ye first the kingdom of God And his righteousness, then the other necessities of life will be added. We are to seek to please God. When pleasing God becomes our focus, life is made simpler and we will be doing the right thing that pleases God no matter what anybody else thinks.
 

Many times we blame other people for our stress. Have you ever said, “you made me to” or “ I have to?” No doubt what we really mean when we say this is we are saying, “I choose to”, because of the consequences if I don’t. Seldom does anybody makes us do anything. So we usually cannot blame someone else for our stress. We get stressed out most often by allowing other people to put us under pressure. We become victims when we allow ourselves to be pressured by other peoples demands and expectations. But we’ve got to know whom we are trying to please.
 

Another way to keep stress out of our life is to know what we want to accomplish. Even though we don’t like to plan very well, but we need to know, have some ideas, and what we want to accomplish. Jesus said in John8 vs.14 “ I know from where I came, and he said, “ I know where I go.” Where are you trying to go? If we do not plan our life and set priorities, we will be pressured by what other people think is important. We either decide what is important or we will let other people tell us what is important in our life. Sometimes people like to run and ruin other people’s life, when they cannot even run there own. Plan and prepare for what you want to accomplish. Just because we are very busy doesn’t mean we are productive. That dog chasing his tail is very busy. Good planning and preparation reduces stress. So we should focus on doing one thing at a time.
 

In Luke 4 vs. 43 Jesus said, “ I must preach the kingdom of God. People tried to get Jesus to detour, they tried to distract him, but he focused on one thing at a time. It seems that everybody tried to interrupt Jesus. Everyone had plan A. you ought to do this; you ought to do that, if I were you I would do this. They have plan B, C, and D, but Jesus stayed focused on his agenda. He knew what God had told him to do- preach the kingdom of God. When we try to do too much, we become ineffective. Don’t try to do it all by yourself. Remember Jesus called twelve people to help him. They were called apostles. Jesus delegated his authority on them to preach the gospel. Don’t try to do everything by yourself. Do you know why some people don’t delegate others to help them? Why don’t we get other people involved? Two reasons why we don’t like to delegate nor get others involved are 1. Because of professionalism. This is an egotistical attitude. We must allow other people to develop. Let them make some mistakes. We don not have to make them all. Don’t rob others of an education. 2. The other reason we don’t delegate is because of personal insecurity. What if I give somebody the opportunity and they by chance do a better job? That is somewhat threatening to us. We have to pray daily. Jesus constantly sought to be alone with the father to pray. Make a habit of personal prayer. When we are young we can get up, and do lots of things on our own. We can go under our own strength, but after a while, we are going to need somebody else to help us. Make it a habit to pray daily. Talk with God in prayer and tell him exactly what’s on your mind. We don’t need to hide when we make a mistake. God already knows this. He just wants us to come to him and talk to him.
 

Leave your problems with him. He said in Mathew 11, “come unto me. Come to Christ in prayer all ye that labor. If you are heavy laden. Remember Jesus said, “ and I will give you rest he said, “ take my yoke upon you and lean on me and I will give you rest, for my yoke is easier, and my burden is light. He invites us daily to come unto him.
My dear Celestians, it is time to come to Christ lean on him, trust him. He will surely help us though the ups and downs of life.
God Bless you all

Hon. Snr. Evang. P. Awosika
Celestial Church of Christ
Metro Parish, Grand Prairie, Texas, USA

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