This morning I wanted to touch on relaxation and stress.  We all encounter stress at times.  In fact, if you are comfortable and relaxed all of the time you may need to check and see if you are growing or just stagnant.  In this life, we will combat stress, conflict, and even spiritual opposition.  In the midst of these things we all look for relaxation.  At the end of the day, we look for relief and rest.

It doesn’t take much looking around to see how the world relieves stress.  There is commercial after commercial advertising things that are used for relief, rest, comfort, or escape.  From alcohol, to comfort foods, sports, movies, television, sex and pornography, video games, to music and music videos, we are flooded with options.  As stress relievers, these things operate as medication.  Some of these options are literally pharmaceuticals.  I can speak from personal experience that these can become more than just habits or entertainments.  They become addictions.  We become dependent on them.  After a while, they are part of a lifestyle that we live in just to feel normal.  Then, what is ‘normal’ to us starts to decline.

As followers of Jesus, we are not to self-medicate using the systems and distractions of the world.  Jesus provides rest.  He does not want us to be dependent on anything other than Him.  He sets us free from captivity.  He is our refuge.

For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken…For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him.  He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.  On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.  Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. – Psalm 62:5-8

As we grow with the lord, we must leave our own ‘medication’ and the ‘medication’ of the world behind, and look to Jesus as our refuge and strength.  He is the ultimate giver of rest, the ultimate physician.  The Holy Spirit who He has given us brings comfort, strength and help in every moment.  Let’s lay aside the stress-relievers and distractions of the world, and look to Him as our source of strength!

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