How To Dress For Stress In 2023
For some time, I have been desiring to write about How To Dress for Stress. It is important because most of us, are dealing in these desperate, dangerous days with stress.
A machine that runs has what is called revolutions, like your automobile engine, revolutions per minute. This is called RPM. However, it is not the RPMs that wear out the engine; it is the friction that wears out the engine. With this image in mind, I want to teach how to dress for stress or the secrets to taking the stress out.
Millions of people suffer from Chronic Stress Syndrome. This means that people are emotionally depleted, physically drained, and spiritually defeated. The days are too long, the nights are too short, the pressure is too heavy, the body is too weak, and we feel like we are the chief rat in the rat race. So much to do and not enough time to get it down.
As Christians, there is wonderful, glorious hope from the Word of God. I am not writing about pop psychology, not just human encouragement, but absolute rock-ribbed, Bible truth, backed up by an ironclad sovereign promise that there’s help for us.
Notice Isaiah 40:28 begins with a question. “Hast thou not known? And hast thou not heard that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainted not, neither is weary?….” God has never said one time, “You know, I am so tired.” Even when God rested after creation, He did not rest because He was tired. It was a rest like a rest in music. It’s not because the musicians are tired when they have a rest in music. It’s for another purpose. It’s for emphasis. “…And there is no searching of his understanding.” God never is puzzled. God never says, “What am I going to do now?” The Holy Trinity never meets in the emergency season.
Next is the promise. “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be wary, and the young men shall utterly fall.” As we’re going to learn, you don’t have to be old to live with stress. We can be very young, even in grammar school, and have stress. “But [thank God for that word but] they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.”
I. We Have The Problem Of Stress
In this passage, on the one side, he mentions Almighty God who can do anything, who created everything, who never gets perplexed, never puzzled, never tired, never worn out. Then, on the other side, he mentions people such as we are: weak, failing, stumbling, human beings, fainting, falling, and failing. Yes, this is who we are in our humanity.
Now, what is stress? Stress is the gap between the demands placed on us and the strength we have in meeting those demands. The demands made on us. Over here are the demands of life, the opportunities of life, the problems of life, the requirements of life, and the necessities of life. Over here is our humanity. Over here is our weakness, our failure, our faults, and our inabilities.
We may be full of desire and have a lot of ought to’s and want to’s, but we have a lot of can’t do’s in us. And so there’s a, there’s a gap between, the demands, the necessities placed upon us and our ability to meet those demands. And that gap between those two things is simply stress. It’s the chasm between the ought to’s and the, seeming, I can’t do’s that overwhelm us and cause us to have stress. We want to. We have to. We ought to. We must. But we can’t. So we have stress.
We could be the owner of a company and have stress. We could be high up in management and have stress. You can’t shove it off on other people, as much as people in management sometimes try to do.
Some time ago, a management consultant, came into an organization because they were having morale problems. And they took their highest executives and found out that of this company that had twenty-two executives, twenty-one of them were suffering chronic stress that led to such things as peptic ulcers, heart palpitations, dizziness, fatigue, and ulcers. And these are the successful people. But you don’t have to be an executive. You can be a carpenter, a laborer or a secretary. In fact, you can be a minister and still have stress. You can be a young person and have stress. The Bible says even the youths shall faint and be weary.
Seventy-five to ninety percent of all visits made to primary care physicians last year were stress-related disorders.
Do you know why people used to go to health clubs? To slim down and to tone up. Do you know why they go to health clubs primarily today? To relieve stress. Do you know why people are into yoga and New Ageism and New Age music? They’re trying to deal with stress. When we are stressed, we are vulnerable to satanic attack. If you were in quicksand, the devil would pat you on the head. You’re very vulnerable.
In the Bible, when the children of Israel were coming through the wilderness, the Bible declares in the Book of Deuteronomy how Amalek, who was a wicked king, “…smote behind most of thee…” That is, those who could not stay up, those who were crippled, those who were weak, and those who were down. Those are the ones the devil hits. He doesn’t fight fair. He’s a bully. He picks on the weak. And many times, we are weakened by this matter of stress. It’s a major cause of alcoholism, a major cause of drug, cause of drug dependency, and a major, major cause of divorce.
Did you know when you’re stressed you’re more prone to argue? Have you ever found yourself and your wife arguing over a little thing?
II. We Have The Provision Of Sufficiency
God is sufficient for every need that you meet. In 40:29 we read, “He giveth power to the faint…” Then skip on down to verse 31: “They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.” It is not a sin to be stressed. However, it is a sine when we do not to call upon the power that God Almighty has provided for us in these times of stress. When we are stressed, there are three areas that God will provide for us. We are to get dressed for stress.
God Gives Us Strength to Fly in the Rugged Times of Life.
We read of the rising up like an eagle. Do you see it? We are to mount with wings as an eagle. You’re going to have some rugged times. You’re going to have difficulty. Problems will come. You never know what the next phone call is going to bring. You never know, what you’re going to meet around the next corner that you turn. We have troubles in this life.
What has an eagle learned to do? An eagle has learned to fly in a storm. The storm that causes other people difficulty actually liberates the eagle. The eagle will sit there at nighttime on his perch, and when the sun comes up over the canyon walls, heating the desert floor and thermal drafts begin to rise, a thundercloud will develop. Yet, the eagle just sits there. And when he can feel those drafts coming up with great force, it is no problem to the eagle. He just steps off that perch and he spreads out those majestic wings and he begins to soar and to circle. And the greater the updraft and more violent the winds, the more he likes it because he goes higher and higher. He actually rides upon the wind that causes others distress.
Did you know when those storms come, the eagle can fly higher than he would ever fly normally? Not only can he fly higher, but because he flies higher, he can see further. When the storms come in your life, you’re going to rise higher than you’ve ever been if you’ll depend upon the Lord, and you’ll see things you’ve never seen before in trouble and in difficulty. Additionally, you’re going to see with the eye of the eagle. Also, you will fly faster. An eagle will normally fly about fifty miles an hour, but in a storm, he can fly ninety to one hundred miles an hour. Can you imagine an eagle doing a hundred miles an hour?
The eagle just riding on the wind. That may be distress to other people, but not to him because he is riding upon the storm. And you’ll be surprised how much efficiency God will build into your life, how much power that God will build into your life when you learn to do what this text tells us to do. There is the power to fly in the rigors of life. Now most of us don’t like the rigors of life, but, we need to learn how to fly when difficulties and calamity come.
Do you know how a mother eagle teaches the little eaglet? The mother builds that great big nest out of sticks and twigs. Then she takes her own feathers and soft things and fluffs the nest. When the little eaglets are born, she flies off and brings them fish and worms and mice and feeds her young eaglets. As they begin to grow, they think they have it made. But one day, this mother eagle comes (Deuteronomy 32:11): “As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttering over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings.” What is this scripture saying? The mother comes at a certain time, and she says, “This little rascal needs to fly. And I’m tired of giving him worms and, and working for him. It’s time he gets out on his own.” So she begins to nudge him to the edge of the nest, where that great precipice is on the steep cliff. She nudged him out until he falls out of the nest.
At first, the eaglet doesn’t realize what’s happening, but then he looks back and says, “Momma, do you really want to do this to me?” Before he knows it, he goes over the edge, tumbling and screaming. She’s watching. Suddenly, she swoops under him at the last moment, spreads her wings out, and catches him on her back. He puts his little talons in there and she brings him back up to the nest.
But she does it again, and over and over again. Then one time, as he’s tumbling, he just instinctively wings and he feels something. He feels that buoyancy there. After a few attempts, he learns to fly. And most of us don’t like those flying lessons. But our Lord has to do that to teach us to fly, and teach us that underneath are His everlasting arms. Sometimes, these lessons are rough!
God Gives Us the Strength to Run in the Rush of Life.
We not only have problems; we have deadlines. Not only do we have calamities; we have necessities, things that we must get done. With this in mind, there are times and seasons we have to move with speed.
Did you know the Christian life is described as a race? It’s not a Sunday afternoon stroll. It’s, it’s a race! We’re to be spiritual athletes.
In the Book of Acts where Phillip was out in the desert when an Ethiopian eunuch who was in his chariot, a rich man, was traveling along in the chariot going back to Africa. He needs the gospel. God had led Phillip out there. And the Bible says that the Spirit of the Lord said to Phillip, “Go, join yourself to that chariot.”
The Bible says Phillip ran and joined himself to the chariot. He had to catch this opportunity on wheels. The Bible says we’re to redeem the time. These are wonderful days pregnant with opportunity, and we’ve got to learn to redeem the time to be swift for Jesus. We have to run the race with endurance. There are times we feel that we just don’t have what it takes to stay up and to keep up. The Lord has given us a provision to fly in the rigors of life and to run in the rush of life.
Some years ago a sportscaster said, “Somewhere in Africa each morning, a gazelle and a lion wake up. The gazelle knows that if he cannot outrun the fastest lion, he will not make it. He will be dinner. The lion knows if he cannot outrun the slowest gazelle, he will starve. So both of them wake up running.” And, you know, we have to wake up running. And Satan, like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. And Satan is on our trail, and we can’t stop and become indolent.
God gives strength to fly in the rigors of life. God gives strength to run in the rush of life – and it is a hectic life. Where has the time gone? Did you know I’m busier now than I’ve ever been, and I’ve got more labor-saving devices than I’ve ever had? I walk out of my study and turn around and I look, and there are little lights just blinking in there. One’s on a computer, one’s on a printer and another is my cell phone. All these things are supposed to save time. Where has the time gone if these things are saving time?
I am not sure where time has gone but I do believe there’s enough time in every day to do gracefully everything God wants us to do. But that doesn’t mean that we’re to be indolent. Sometimes spiritually we have to pick them up and put them down. We have to say, ‘Lord if you’ll pick them up, I’ll put them down. Let’s do it.” There is strength to run in the rush of life.
God Gives Us Strength To Walk In The Routines of Life.
Even though it almost seems anti-climatic, he says that we will walk and not faint. Now, you may say, “Well, I don’t need supernatural strength to walk.” Actually, the opposite is true. We need more supernatural strength to walk than to fly or to run. Most of us think this is anti-climatic. It is not! What he is talking about is the hum-drum, daily things of life. And, by the way, life is very daily. Have you noticed? In the daily things of life; I mean, we all want strength to soar like an eagle and to surge like an athlete. Yet, what we need is the strength to stick and to stay day by day. Most of us don’t fail in times of emergency or times of opportunity. Where we fail is in everyday, day-by-day areas of life.
In the Book of Ephesians Paul talks about dwelling with our Lord in the heavens. But seven times in the Book of Ephesians, God calls the Christian life a walk. It’s one thing to sit with Jesus in the heavens; it’s another thing to walk day by day on this earth in this life.
Do you know what the victorious Christian life is? It’s not preaching a crusade somewhere. It’s not going on a mission trip. It’s getting breakfast, getting the children bathed and ready for school, and helping that three-year-old put on his shoes. Helping these little guys and also teenagers with making sure they do their homework, doing your daily Bible study, having your quiet time, visiting the sick, cooking the meals, carrying out the garbage.
We have dull days and bright days, good days and bad days. But the Bible says, “As your days are, so shall your strength be.” God gave that verse to the Israelites who were coming out of Egypt and going into Canaan. He says, “As your days are, so shall your strength be.” And how did they get to Canaan? They didn’t have a bus, they didn’t have an airplane, they didn’t have a stagecoach. They walked to Canaan. And you’re going to find out that the Christian life is, by and large, not all that romantic, not all that dramatic; it is dignity and drudgery put together. And, we need strength for the daily walk.
A snail started up the trunk of an apple tree. You know how slow a snail moves. A worm came out of a crevasse and said to the snail, “No need to go up there. There are no apples up there.” He said, “There will be when I get there!” We are to be faithful day by day.
III. We Have The Promise Of Strength
God tells us that we can fly, we can run, and we can walk. We often say, “Now wait a minute. He’s describing someone else.” However, look at it one more time. We read in Isaiah 40:31, “But they that wait upon the LORD shall [doesn’t say may or ought, but shall] renew their strength….” So, the key to all of this is a promise of strength. We read here an unqualified promise. We should not say it will not work if we haven’t put it into practice. The Bible is a not bundle of blunders, and God is not a liar. So be careful before you say it won’t work. “They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength….”
The Hebrew word for renews means to change or exchange. When you wait upon the Lord, you exchange your strength. It’s like you taking off your coat and giving it to someone else, and he takes his coat and gives it to you. There is an exchange. You see, God says, “My strength is made perfect in your weakness.”
God says in the Book of Ephesians, “Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” The Apostle Paul said in Galatians 2:20: “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me.” It is a, not only a changed life; it is an exchanged life. You see, that’s the reason he started out talking about the greatness of God, “Hath thou not known?” Don’t you understand that God is not weary?
God faints not. There’s no searching of His understanding. God is saying, “I will give you my strength. I will exchange my strength for your weakness.” Now that’s a wonderful truth for the victorious Christian life.
How does it renewal take place? By waiting upon the Lord. Now that’s the whole key. Now if you hear all the rest of it and say, “Well, I’d like to fly like an eagle, run like an athlete, and walk like a solider.” We have to learn to wait upon the Lord. What does that mean? I’m going to share this with you, but I’m going to tell you first what it doesn’t mean.
It does not mean inactivity. It does not mean sitting around, saying, “Well, I’m waiting on God. If He wants to do something.” There are four steps to waiting on the Lord. First, it means to long for the Lord. In Psalm 62:1, David is saying, “My soul waiteth upon God; from him cometh my salvation.” David is in distress. David has some industrial-strength problems, and he’s saying, “O God, I need You. You are my hope, my salvation.” Do you believe this or do you believe that you are your salvation? I am stating that we must long for God. To wait upon God means to long for Him.
Second, not only does it mean to long for the Lord, but it means to listen to the Lord. In Proverbs 8:34 we read, “Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting, at the posts of my doors.” Waiting at the posts of my doors. He who hears me, he is waiting. That is, he has reported for instruction. He’s there at the gate when the Lord comes out, like a servant. He says, “Good morning, my master. Here I am reporting for duty. I’m at your gates, Lord. I am listening at the posts of your doors. As you step out the door this morning, what do you have for me this morning as I open the door of the morning and enter into your service?”
The reason that many of us are stressed is we’re doing things God’s never assigned us to do. And the reason we’re doing things God never assigned us to do is we haven’t been listening to God. We have not been waiting upon the Lord. Do you have a daily quiet time? He says, “…waiting daily at my gates…” Do you have a time when you listen? Do you report for duty, or are you doing things that you’ve assigned yourself, or others have assigned you, but you’re not doing what God wants you to do?”
Back during the Great Depression, jobs were very hard to get. And, a newspaper advertised that a telegraph company needed somebody as a telegraph operator. And a man said, “I can do that. I’m trained in that.” And he went down to apply for the job. He was so happy. When he got there, the room, the outer office, was filled with people who had come there to try to get that one job. When he saw all the people, the man was so discouraged.
He said, “They are all here before me. There, someone will be hired before I get interviewed.” But as he sat there he heard a noise coming out of the back room, and he listened to it for a while and he recognized it. It was the dots and the dashes of the Morse Code. After a while, a smile came across his face. He got up and went into the inner office, came back with an even wider smile, and said, “I’ve got the job!” They said, “Wait a minute! How could you have the job? We were here first.” He said, “But you weren’t listening.” He said, “In Morse Code, they said, ‘If you can understand this, come inside. You’ve got the job’”. And, that was the way the company separated the people. Here was somebody just sitting there and tuned in. I wonder how many people are missing because they’re not listening to God.
Third, it means to look to the Lord. In Psalm 104:27, we read, “These wait for all upon thee, that thou mayest give them their food in due season.” Even though the psalmist is writing about the animals, they look to the Lord by instinct. They all wait upon the Lord.
Do you look to the Lord? I mean, where is the source of your supply? Have you ever said, “Lord, You are, indeed, the strength of my life, and You are the source of my supply You are my hope and my expectation, and I truly believe that every need will be met in You?”
It has been said, a college lecture is where the information in the professor’s head and the professor’s notebook gets into the notebook of the student without really going through the head and the heart of either one of them.
Are you listening? You may think as you read this, “I’m to long for the Lord. I’m to listen to the Lord. I’m to look to the Lord. Yeah, I know that.” But are you listening? Do you long for Him? Will you have a time when you will listen to Him? Will you really look to Him? I mean, will you say it and mean it, “God, You are the source of my supply. You, my God, will supply all my need according to your riches in glory.” It means to look to the Lord. Look to Him. Not to look to anybody else, but to look to the Lord.
Fourth, it means to live for the Lord. In Proverbs 27:18: “Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof; so he that waiteth on his master shall be honored.” Now what does it mean to wait on your master? It means to serve him.
When you go to the restaurant, you have a waitress or a waiter. They’re there to serve you. Sometimes it is hard it is to get their attention. You may want another cup of coffee, or you have dropped your fork, or you need a napkin, or you want to pay your bill. Sometimes it is hard to get the waiter’s or waitress’ attention. They are there to serve you, to wait upon you. Do you want God to give you the strength to fly like an eagle? Do you want God to give you the strength to run like an athlete? Do you want God to give you the strength to walk like a soldier day by day? Why should God give you are me more strength to serve the devil? I mean, if I don’t intend to wait upon Him, if I’m not His waiter, if I’m not His server, if I’m not there for His glory, why should God give me strength to glorify the devil?
What does it mean to wait upon the Lord? To wait upon the Lord means to long for the Lord, to listen to the Lord, to look to the Lord, and to live for the Lord.
I encourage us not to say that it will not work if we haven’t tried it. God is not a liar. He has given us the truths by which to build our lives. If you say these principles do not work, then I am going to say that you are not telling the truth. I express this with all emotion possible because God promised in His Word. “They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength….”
We’re running around knocking things over, all upset, and frustrated, causing ourselves the trouble, and sickness, and giving other people trouble and sickness because we’ve not learned how to wait upon the Lord. And when we wait upon the Lord, we’ll learn to fly in the rigors of life, we’ll learn to run in the rush of life, and we’ll learn to walk in the routine of life. We need to wake up tomorrow, even start this today, and learn how to wait upon Him. Do you agree with that? I hope you do because it’s God’s Word.