According to a recent poll, the top 5 stressors in life are: Finances, Work, Relationships, Health, Irritants.
Stress is something we face on a daily basis. Perhaps not the kind of stress Jesus faced but stress nonetheless.
In Mark 3:6-12, you will discover four things that caused Jesus stress. How did He respond? We can learn some lessons from Him on dealing with stress.
1. Enemies cause stress.
Following Jesus’ earlier miracle (3:1-6), the Pharisees & Herodians planned His destruction. Jesus had many enemies who wanted Him gone.
How did Jesus deal with this stress? He avoided them by going to the sea. Jesus sought peace even with His enemies. Sometimes the most loving thing we can do with our enemies is to stay away from them.
But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. (2 Timothy 2:23)
2. Success causes stress.
People were coming from literally every direction (from Tyre & Sidon in the north; from Judea, Jerusalem, and Idumea in the far south; from across he Jordan in the east.) Jesus was feeing pressure because His ministry was being so successful numerically. When Jesus became successful, he left. He humbled Himself by leaving success.
Jesus never did, but it is easy for us to get ‘caught up with ourselves.’ When we feel the pressure of success, we often become proud and stay around to get the pats on the back. The pressure and the pride get bigger and bigger until we break. We need to humble ourselves.
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:10)
The Billy Graham Association gives 12 ways to humble yourself: 1- Routinely confess your sin to God, 2- Acknowledge your sin to others, 3- Take wrong patiently, 4- Actively submit to authority – good and bad, 5- Receive correction and feedback graciously, 6- Accept a lowly place, 7- Purposely associate with people of lower state than you, 8- Choose to serve others, 9- Be quick to forgive, 10- Cultivate a grateful heart, 11- Purpose to speak well of others, 12- Treat pride as a condition that always necessitates embracing the cross.
3. Needs cause stress.
The crowd was so massive it was ‘crushing’ Jesus. That’s stress! Jesus was a Healer and people brought their sickness to Jesus. The needs of the people pressured Him.
I have discovered that often I feel stress because of the needs of others. The more we care, the busier we are. Often a caretaker needs care. So Jesus often pulled away for awhile to care for Himself and His disciples. But He never quit caring.
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. (Galatians 6:9)
Jesus moved locations, but He still continued to meet people’s needs. We may need to make adjustments to our service for God and others. We may need to take some time away. But we should never stop helping meet the needs of others.
4. Satan causes stress.
The demons were giving Jesus problems even though they testified the truth – “You are the Son of God”. Testimony from such a wicked source was not something Jesus needed. In Scripture God has ordained that only those who have experienced divine grace shall witness or testify of Christ and His saving power.
Satan appears as an ‘angel of light.’ He is a great deceiver. The demons were confusing the people, so Jesus commanded them to keep quiet. Ironically, the demons recognized Jesus for who He was while the religious leaders and the multitudes that clamored after Him did not.
If you ever feel Satan is attacking you, resist Him.
Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
Anytime we feel pressure from the devil, we need to resist. Some pressure we need to avoid (enemies, lust, etc.). Other pressure we need to resist.
These are four ways Jesus dealt with stress: avoid, humble, persevere, resist. I hope it helps you deal with the stress you face today.