The Way Out of Stress by Bill Click from The Identity Network
I want to give you something so simple, yet so profound that often people are living in this age of multi-tasked distraction clueless as to what they can have which is greater than what they face.
None of us need a primer on the physiological detriments of stress-filled living. Most of us are all-too-aware of what they are, either because of their personal effects on us, on others close to us, or the seemingly endless advertisements for antidepressants and pleas for exercise, diet and other lifestyle changing options.
What I DON’T hear much about, however, is the impact of stress on the believer’s relationship with the Spirit of God. It seems to be first about the body and the mind. Quite honestly, even in the church there is such a priority of the body, then the soul and lastly the spirit, that we fail to recognize this is backward from the Word of God, which makes it clear that life for the believer flows from the inside-out: “spirit, soul and body” (1 Thess. 5:23, see also John. 4:24).
Effects of Stress
So what impact can stress have on one’s relationship with the Holy Spirit? What does stress do to one’s spiritual perception of God’s activity in their lives?
It is clear: stress is a primary opposer to the abundant life Jesus came to give us, which is ours through the Holy Spirit (John 10:10). To defeat stress, we need an attitude, an approach, a strategy which does not give it place to dominate our lives. That said, have you ever decided: “I’m going to reduce my stress levels?” And if you have, what degree of success have you achieved? You can go on vacation, but eventually you have to come home. You can quit your job, but eventually you either have to get another one or face not having the income you walked away from. No, you need an attitude, an approach, a strategy which strips stress of its powerful right to dominate your life (Isa. 40:30-31).
There seems to be such a “natural-to-natural” combat strategy in the church today that we ignore the remedy God designed for everything we face in the natural. That remedy is always there for us in His presence, in the anointing. Paul made it clear that “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal” but they are “mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds” (2 Cor.10:4).
Quite simply, we need to stop being religious about the problems we face. We need to stop fighting in our own strength. Here’s how you know you are taking a religious approach to something which needs to change. Are you trying to stop what’s wrong in your life, or: are you seeking to replace it with God’s way. The law says “Stop that! It’s wrong,” but it gives you neither the power to accomplish that, nor something better to fill your life. God’s Grace says, “I have something better for you! Cling to it and you will continually force that which is less than what I came to give you right out the door of your presence.”
Surely this is what the Lord meant when He said through Paul:
“We are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh– for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:12-15).
It is by experiencing the life of the Spirit that we become free from that which kills us! We KNOW that stress can be a killer. But for a Christian to live affected by stress is the evidence of a present-tense spiritual death which leads to physical demise. Of that there can be no doubt. And of the following neither can there be any doubt. It is time for God’s people to take the way out of stress that God designed: by preferring and prioritizing the life of the Holy Spirit daily. The ongoing presence of the Spirit will break-off the grip of stress, dismantling its devices and exposing its lies that seduce you into all types of anxiety and strongholds of fear.
Becoming More Pleasing
When you start taking God’s medicine of the anointing in increasing doses until your life is more prone to experiencing eternal life than it is “the spirit of the age,” then you will become more pleasing to the Holy Spirit. Which means you will begin to sense God again, and be more prepared for staying that way (having learned from experience). You will also become more happy with yourself, others around you, and regain the continual sense of God’s “eternal purpose” (Eph. 3:11). The end result will be fulfillment of 3 John 2, where it emphasizes that you will “prosper and be in health” in totality to the degree your “soul prospers.”
Since you have been “bought with a price” and are “not your own,” shouldn’t YOU enjoy the benefit of being His possession? Enter in WITHOUT DELAY and seize what Christ paid for. DON’T STOP when you begin to sense His presence, persevere by using the tools He has given you in Spiritual weaponry to take back the full residence of His “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17).
Then “repeat as often as necessary.” Side effects include “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control,” and power to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,” and even “demolish strongholds” off of others (Gal. 5:22; 2 Cor. 10:4-5).