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Wed, Jun 17, 1998

05 - Stress Busters

James 1:2 & 1 Corinthians 10:13 by Robert Dean
Series:James (1998)
Duration:56 mins 39 secs

Stress Busters
James 1:2; 1 Corinthians 10:13

1 Corinthians 10:13 NASB "No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it."

The Greek word here translated "temptation" is PEIRASMOS [peirasmoj]. It can refer to temptation or testing that is outside the soul, a situation, adversity, pressure, whatever it is that begins to put pressure on the soul. To relieve that pressure we have a sin nature that resides in the genetic structure of our body that then puts pressure on the volition and the mentality in our soul to get us to choose in negative volition a course of action in rejection of doctrine that seems to us in our human viewpoint wisdom to alleviate this pressure right away so we don't go through that testing. It can be to handle it emotionally through anger, resentment, bitterness; or it can be to handle it through some overt activity or mental attitude sin. The sin nature is the source but we have to understand that there is an objective aspect to testing which is the circumstances that arise that give our sin nature an inclination in one direction or the other. The sin nature then responds with an internal temptation. All temptation arises from the sin nature and when the negative volition in our soul acts upon that temptation from the sin nature it is at that point that it becomes sin. The area of weakness in our sin nature is the source of temptation. Once the area of weakness and we act upon in with negative volition in our soul, then we are under the control of the sin nature and everything kicks in, including human good because all good deeds that we perform after we are out of fellowship and under the control of the sin nature are all human good. The motivator of the sin nature is the lust pattern.

Scripture teaches that even though the various areas of adversity are tests that are common to everybody, common to mankind, God is faithful. The Greek word EASEI [e)asei] is a future active indicative. The future tense means that He will always be. No matter what the circumstances He will always be faithful. It is what is called a gnomic future, i.e. a principle that is always true, a rule that you can always count on, a standard, and absolute. God is always faithful, He will always do the same thing in every circumstance; He will always abide by His promise; He will never go back on His word. He will not allow, in His omnipotence, any of us to be tested beyond our ability. Here we have an important word, from the same word PEIRASMOS. It is PEIRASTHENAI [peirasqhnai], aorist passive indicative. The passive voice means that the subject—you, the believer—is acted upon by this test. That immediately tells us that the idea here in this passage is talking about external testing, not internal temptation from the sin nature. There is no situation in life that is outside of God's control. God is sovereign and everything in rhe universe is subject to His veto. "…but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also…" When a lot of believers read that, that is where they stop, at least mentally, because they think that what that means is that as soon as they get under the pressure of adversity if they claim this promise then God is going to make the adversity go away. The adversity is going to stay there, the pressure is going to be there. The issue is what is going to happen in the believer's soul. God has provided solutions to ever single problem that we will ever face.

There is a bulwark around us that God provides as a result of our use of the ten stress-busters.

We have confession, 1 John 1:9; the filling of the Holy Spirit (FHS), Ephesians 5:18; faith-rest drill (FRD); doctrinal orientation (D/O); grace orientation (G/O); personal sense of eternal destiny (PSED); personal love for God the Father (PLG); unconditional love for all mankind; occupation with Christ (O/C); inner happiness (IH). These ten provide a bulwark, so that when we face adversity we do not convert that adversity into stress. Remember, there is nothing that we can do about adversity, it happens to everybody; stress is optional. Stress is up to the believer and to his volition whether he is going to respond to something in stress. This idea is present throughout the Scripture.

Scriptures that describe this fortress that God provides around the soul.

Psalm 18:2 NASB "The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."

Psalm 31:3 NASB "For You are my rock and my fortress; For Your name's sake You will lead me and guide me."

Psalm 71:3 NASB "Be to me a rock of habitation to which I may continually come; You have given commandment to save me, For You are my rock and my fortress."

Over and over again the believer is told that God provides a fortification for the believer's soul. So that whatever happens, whatever the adversity, whatever the suffering, God provides the protection so that the believer will survive it. As long as you are alive, no matter what is happening, no matter how terrible it may be, God still has a plan for your life. If you are still alive when the dust settles then that means that God is providing an opportunity for you to grow spiritually in the midst of this crisis. Any level of suffering or adversity is a means by which we accelerate our spiritual growth.

Psalm 91 is an extended passage that deals with this whole principle:

Ps 91:1 NASB He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

Ps 91:2 NASB I will say to the LORD, "My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!"

Ps 91:3 NASB For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper And from the deadly pestilence.

Ps 91:4 NASB He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.

Ps 91:5 NASB You will not be afraid of the terror by night, Or of the arrow that flies by day;

Ps 91:6 NASB Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.

Ps 91:7 NASB A thousand may fall at your side And ten thousand at your right hand, {But} it shall not approach you.

Ps 91:8 NASB You will only look on with your eyes And see the recompense of the wicked.

Ps 91:9 NASB For you have made the LORD, my refuge, {Even} the Most High, your dwelling place.

Ps 91:10 NASB No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent.

Ps 91:11 NASB For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways.

Ps 91:12 NASB They will bear you up in their hands, That you do not strike your foot against a stone.

Ps 91:13 NASB You will tread upon the lion and cobra, The young lion and the serpent you will trample down.

Ps 91:14 NASB "Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him {securely} on high, because he has known My name.

Ps 91:15 NASB "He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.

Ps 91:16 NASB "With a long life I will satisfy him And let him see My salvation."

We dwell in the shelter of the Most High by learning Bible doctrine and applying it in our lives, and making it the highest priority in our lives. We do it through knowing who and what God is and what the provisions are for the believer's life. We dwell there, we live there, we live in the midst of thoughts about Him and the doctrine that provides the shelter for us. We stay in fellowship, we keep short accounts in reference to the sin in our life. We dwell continually in the shelter of the Most High.

Verse 3 refers to the various categories of adversity. The snare of the trapper by application refers to temptation, the external trap. Sin is trap that is set out there and baited with something that entices us. As soon as we take the bait the trap snaps shut and we are trapped in sin and carnality. So the image here is that it is God who delivers us from temptation. He delivers us through the problem-solving devices. This is the essence of the spiritual life: being able to utilize these through Bible doctrine. We may go through a lot of heartache, a lot of physical trauma, a lot of mental anguish to a certain degree, but what we know is that our soul will never be destroyed, never become fragmented, as long as we stay in fellowship and apply God's Word. In the midst of that we have inner happiness, tranquillity, stability, emotional stability; we can make good and wise decisions because we have doctrine in our soul, doctrinal orientation, so when we are faced with various options we can think clearly and choose the wise course of action. That is what Proverbs is all about: choosing that wise course of action.

Verse 4 is a picture of an eagle wrapping his wings around the young to provide protection. This is not a literal description of God, it is an anthropomorphism, from the Greek words ANTHROPOS, meaning man, and MORPHE, meaning form. It is attributing to God physical characteristics or attributes which He does not actually possess. Another word is ZOOMORPHISM, which is more accurately what this is, and that is, using the metaphor of an animal, attributing to God animal physical attributes which He does not possess. In this case it is using the description of wings and pinions, using the imagery of an eagle to portray the protection of God. 

Verse 5 is reaching a doctrinal conclusion. If God has done all of this, if he is our rock, our fortress, our deliverer, our refuge, our shield, our horn of salvation, our stronghold, our bulwark, then what is the conclusion? There is nothing to be afraid of. If God is omnipotent, all-powerful, then there is no power in heaven or on earth that is greater than the power of God. If He is omniscient then there is no circumstance no difficulty, no problem, no adversity, that He did not know about in eternity past. In His omnipotence He has provided a perfect solution for us. That perfect solution comes through His Word. What is the terror by night? It is that unknown and unrealized terror. Philippians 4:6, 7 NASB "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God [tranquillity], which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." That is, if you are in fellowship and using the problem-solving devices.

Verse 9, "dwelling place." Notice the new image here. It is not just spending some time here on occasion because all of a sudden the adversity is really getting out of control, so I'm going to go to Bible class for a while just to until everything smooths out, and then we'll see. This is the idea of a dwelling place, continual habitation. Not just when times are rough but all the time. The result of this is that God fortifies the soul.