Joseph Prince - How To Overcome Stress And Beat Burnout
This excerpt is from: Answers For A Hurried Life (05 Sep 2021)
We are a society that has accepted the norm of culture which is busyness and hurriedness. And we think that it is a badge of honor and achievement to be known as someone who is busy. And it's a culture whereby we think that being busy is to be successful. And God knows. God knows that we are not in a job, okay? For us to be lazy. He wants us to produce fruits. But remember what Jesus said. That when you abide in Him, you will produce fruit. Only when you abide in Him, you will produce fruit. The order there is you will produce fruit, more fruit and much fruit. Now that applies for your Christian life as well as for your job, your assignment that you have in life or whatever you're doing. Amen. If you want fruit in your life, you want fruit in your married life, you want good kind of fruit in your parenting in your children. Whatever area of harvest that you want to see good fruit in, God says, first of all, Jesus said: "Abide in Me".
Now notice "abide" is the opposite of running around, hurried, and trying to achieve this and achieve that. And it’s almost like you're in a rat race. And if you win a rat race, you're the number one rat. Okay? So listen, friend. We need to slow down and start to live. Slow down and live for the glory of God! "Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village. And a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him (Jesus) into her house. And she had a sister called Mary who also sat". Now, say the word "sat". It's a posture of rest. "who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His Word". So it's not just hearing, it's first of all sitting, resting, and then hearing His Word. "But Martha was distracted with much serving and she approached Him and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.’"
So what happened to Martha here was that Martha, she had a guest-of-honor, the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, God-incarnate. Amen. The Creator of the heavens and the earth. And she was busy preparing food for Him and then she got angry, right? She got mad at her sister and also at the same time, instead of talking to the sister directly, she blamed the Lord. "Do you not care that my sister has left me alone"? And that happens to us when we are stressed, when we are hurried, when we feel like no one is helping us and "I'm doing this all by myself". Maybe you are doing something that God is not calling you to do. Maybe He's telling you: "You know what? Leave all that. After all, I fed more than 5,000 with only five loaves and two fish. I know, I know the formula of feeding, so you don't have to worry about feeding Me. Just sit down at My feet and let Me feed you. Let Me minister to you. Let Me bless you. Receive from Me".
Maybe that's what the Lord wants you to do so that you can be free from that stress. Whenever we are stressed, it is an indicator that we are not on the paths of peace. Remember that when the Lord leads you, He always leads you with peace. Amen. The Bible says: "You shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace". Notice: "Be led". You are led by peace. So whenever you feel unrest, when you feel anxiety, when you feel like you are stressed, you know for sure you're not being led by the Spirit. Amen. You're not walking down the paths of peace, the path that He has for you. You know, it seems like everything is moving fast in these last days. And we need to catch the moment. Amen. And rest in that moment. Don't hurry. Amen. See what the Lord has to say in that moment. Praise the Lord!
But you say: "Well if I don't hurry, then I'll miss the bus. I'll miss the success that's waiting for me. I'll miss that kind of thing…" No, friend. Do you know that many a times, your hurriedness is the very thing that's causing failure in your future? Many a times you find that God's people, when they abide, all of a sudden, they find that even their business churns up more profits when they rest. In the ministry, when I rest, I come back, praise the Lord, full of the Word of God and I want to spend time sharing the Word, I want to spend time ministering to the people in the church. But if I'm depleted and I have nothing to supply. Friend, whoa. You don't want to hear me when I'm depleted. Friend, we cannot keep on hurrying like Martha did. Alright? And she was exasperated, she said to the Lord: "Don't you care"? Why? Because "Martha was distracted". Notice? "Distracted with much serving".
And if you look at verse 41, Jesus said: "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things". Now look at the words "worried" and "troubled". "Worried" is the Greek word "merimnao". And the word "merimnao" comes from "meris", which is a part. Later on, He will tell her: "Mary has chosen the good part". "Meris" or "a part". But "merimnao" means to be divided into many parts. It's literally to be drawn apart in many many areas. Distracted, okay? In other words, worry is predicated on the fact that you have been distracted, you have been pulled in different directions. Literally the word there "merimnao", the word "meris" is apart. But "merimnao" means to be divided into many parts. That means you are pulled in many different directions. You are now distracted. Therefore, you are impatient.
I find that it's hard for me to be kind, it's hard for me to be patient when I'm in a hurry. "Oh, I think I got to fulfill this assignment". Then when Justin comes to me, I can be a bit impatient. Or if my wife says something sometimes, a little curt word might just escape. But I'll tell her: "I'm sorry, my mind is on this thing". And haven't we all done that? Friend, slow down! Slow down and live because the life that you are saving may very well be your life. Amen? Slow down. Slow down and live. Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord! Hallelujah. So back to Martha and Mary again, Jesus said: "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things". So "merimnao" means to be pulled in different directions.
Now, "troubled about many things". "Troubled" is the word "thorybazo", okay? "Thorybazo" is a very interesting word. This is the word "thorybazo" or "troubled" as a verb but actually it comes from the word "thorybos". And "thorybos" actually means, "thorybos" from where this word "troubled" comes from, It's actually a word that talks about a riot, a tumult, a crowd, a tumult, a riot, a crowd of a riot and a lot of noise. That is the picture of that word "thorybos" from where the word "troubled" is taken from. So if you put them together, that means in the mind of Martha, who is troubled, there is a lot of noise in her head telling her: "You need to do this. You haven't done this yet. You haven't done that yet, you need to do this! You need to do this. Quick, do it. Do it".
And there's a lot of noise, a lot of noise in the head. So many directions and she's being pulled in different directions, worried. That's what the definition of worry is. And then "thorybos" is a noise like a crowd, a lot of thoughts, a crowd of thoughts making all kinds of noise in your head and that's the reason why Jesus said: "One thing". Just focus on one thing. When you find yourself getting busy on the inside, I'm not talking about being busy on the outside. The Lord wasn't rebuking Martha for being busy outside. But she was troubled on the inside "Merimnao" or "worried" means being pulled in different directions inwardly. When you look at her, she might look okay. She's a busy person, a very successful person. Amen. A lady who is responsible. Amen. Based on society, she's in good standing. Right? But the thing is that as far as the Lord is concerned, He cares about your inside. Because friend, "out of the good treasure of your heart," your inside, "you bring forth" that means outside, "good things". "An evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil things. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things". Praise the Lord!
So Jesus said: "Martha, you are worried", Merimnao, "and troubled about many things. But one thing". Say: "One thing". One thing is needful. Martha is troubled about many things. Why? Because she didn't do the one thing. What is the one thing that Mary did? Not just listen to His Word, she sat. Now I'm not referring to just physical rest, alright? In this word that God has for us. Yes many times, it may involve physical rest. We need to have times of rest. Even God Himself rested. Not because He was tired but because of a posture of rest. His work was finished. Hallelujah. And He rested. To not rest, to be in haste is actually not trusting God.
"But how can I? How can I be at rest when the work is not yet finished"? And that's why you need to read Hebrews 4. The Bible says: "Let us labor to enter the rest". And it says that "although the works were finished from the foundation of the world" So He told them to rest. In the economy of God, in the mind of God, in the reality of God, which is a reality above every other reality, all the works needed for our provision, for our completeness, for our life, has all been finished as far as God is concerned. So God finishes everything and then God tells us to start where He finished. Amen. That's why the Bible tells us that "as you have received the Lord Jesus, so walk ye in Him".
You are complete in Him! Now, walk in Him. Amen. So you're complete in Him! Now, walk! In other words, God put the finishing post, alright? If you're an athlete, you understand what I'm trying to say. The finishing post. And you know what God does? Alright? It's out of this world. Okay? He takes the finishing post and puts it right at the starting lineup and He tells you: "You are there! It is finished. You didn't have to finish it, My Son finished it for you. Now you start where He finished".
You start to walk out your completeness. And that's why many a times, when we walk in the Spirit, we try to walk in the Spirit and end up in the flesh. You know why? Because we're not walking out of completeness. We are trying to become what God has declared that we already are. We are trying to complete what has been completed at the cross. We are trying to finish what Jesus did. When He declared: "It is finished". at the cross. We are trying to defeat an enemy that has already been defeated and the very act of trying to defeat him is unbelief. Amen. So God completes the work and then God says: "Start where I have completed". Amen? "Start where I have finished".