Stress Relief

How is your life's stress level, dear reader?  Is your life full of joy and peace?  Or are you suffering from  lack of those essential spiritual fruits??/

Joy and peace are spiritual fruits?  Yes, I believe they are, and I will tell you why if you want to read on.

First of all it is important to realize that joy and peace are not the fruits of the abundant life or the so-called 'American Dream'.  I had the American Dream, and I was miserable.    I was raised in a nice small Mid-Western city in the USA.  My parents were nice, caring people, and my sister was a nice caring sister!  I was married to a nice caring wife, and we had a four year old healthy happy son.  We lived in our own home, and all of our basic needs were constantly met.

You can read the details of my conversion experience in other pages on this website, but suffice it to say that when I asked Jesus Christ to come into my heart to save my soul and to manage my life in a time of personal desperation, a wonderful peace settled over and spread throughout my life!  I still have a picture in my mind of a big bubble the size of an elephant settling down from above me, enveloping me, and changing my life. That peace morphed into joy, and now, thirty-seven years later, I still have a fundamental sense of joy and peace in my life.

Since that experience at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 15, 1976, I have come to understand some things about the sources of real joy and real peace.  Real joy and peace come from being united with God through Jesus Christ by unconditional surrender to God's will, and faith in His goodness and mercy so that God's joy and peace are manifested in one's life.

God's joy does not depend on circumstance, but it does depend on one's relationship with God.  The same is true of real peace - it is not circumstantial, but it is relational.

I find this best expressed by two passages of Christian Scripture:

Habbakuk 3:17-19  Though the fig tree shall not blossom, and fruit is not on the vines; the labor of the olive fails, and the fields yield no food. The flock is cut off from the fold, and no herd is in the stalls; yet I will rejoice in Jehovah, I will joy in the God of my salvation.  Jehovah the Lord is my strength, and He will make my feet like hinds' feet, and He will make me to walk on my high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.

and Jesus said,

Mat 11:28-30  Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.

You might notice in the first passage that the circumstances of Habbakuk's life are complete adversity and emptiness.  And yet the writer Habbakuk is able to rejoice in the God of his Salvation!

You may notice in the second passage that one must come to Jesus and take His yoke upon oneself in order to find 'rest for ones' soul'.

How does one take these first steps?  I asked Jesus how to do so, and He gave me the faith and understanding I needed to find peace and joy.

Notice that I said 'first steps'.  I suspect that no one obtains the fullness of joy and peace without growing in the righteousness of God.  I have had several specific breakthroughs of more righteousness, peace and joy in my life, and maybe I will write about them if I am able.

Until then, I commend you to Jesus to show you the path that our heavenly Father has planned for you, dear reader!