Today, let’s talk about stress. Most of the time when we think of stress all the negative consequences of it flood our thoughts. Yet, God has a plan for stress in your life and we should consider his perspective for our continued spiritual growth and maturity.
My first job after graduating from college was in the Cardio-Pulmonary department of a regional hospital; where among a plethora of other things, cardiac stress tests were performed. A cardiac stress test is a medical test that evaluates the level of blood flow to the heart during physical exercise. The results of the tests help cardiologists confirm diagnoses, prepare treatment plans, and otherwise advise their patients. Likewise, God performs spiritual “stress” tests on us to confirm diagnoses, prepare treatment plans, and otherwise move us to a place of experiencing abundant life. Medically, when a patient participates in the cardiac stress test, they are monitored and their exercise or physical activity load is increased. During the test, the doctor and other team members monitor blood pressure, heart rate, etc., and document abnormalities in blood flow. A stress test can help detect abnormalities which can lead to further treatment but it can also provide information on the level of fitness a patient has obtained. All the information obtained from test, positive and negative, is useful in the hand of a skilled physician.
Spiritually, when God leads or allows us to go through a spiritual stress test it is to prove that which is in us. His aim is to clearly reveal the level of the blood flow through us when we are under pressure. Spiritual stress tests reveal any abnormalities as well as determine our level of fitness. This is important because we are to be people involved in the advancement of the God’s kingdom. To be an active participant in kingdom advancement requires that we are not only born again but whole, holy, and spiritually fit. We must obey the word of the Lord in all things, and sometimes the spiritual stress test is the best way to find out what is really in you. Some things are only apparent when you are under pressure.
Consider this. Many people think kindly towards themselves in spiritual issues but the spiritual stress test really proves what’s there. Proverbs 16:2 states, “all the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but he Lord weigheth the spirits.” Pressing a little farther, it’s easy to think that we are full of love when we sit at home alone. The challenge comes when we are being pressed on every side and rejected. Are you truly able to exhibit God’s love? Another example, it‘s easy to think that you are an obedient servant of the Lord when all that is required of you are things that you want and love to do. But can you and will you obey when you don’t understand it all or it’s not easy? Once final example, it’s easy to think we trust God when milk and honey are flowing in our lives but when there is no water or the water is bitter, do you still trust and rely on Him as your source? Remember, God does not look on the outward appearance, nor is he moved by your personal thoughts or imaginations. He allows circumstances, situations, and issues of life to put pressure on us to prove us.
Consider this the next time you face a difficult situation in your life. God may be allowing you to go through a spiritual stress test. He just might be assessing your level of spiritual fitness. It’s an opportunity to reveal what God has placed in you.
Know this you have been created to be a powerful, contributing force to the Kingdom of God. God revealed through you brings Him glory. I pray that you will maximize everyday of your life learning to grow and glorify God in all things.
Be Blessed Today and Always,
adapted from the message Stressed, Stuck, and Saved