Good morning. We’re going to read about a topic very simple today, just simply titled: Relax! With an exclamation point. I think too many of us spend too much time and too much energy being too concerned about way too much. It’s good to think, it’s good to be concerned, it’s good to do what they call “your due-diligence” you know where you do your homework carry out the details of whatever responsibilities you may have. But there is a point where you have done everything you can and you’re still worried about everything. And, we’ve got to stop.
We’ve just got to do the best we can and then let it go. But people will say: how do I know that this business deal, or this job or this relationship, or this thing I’m buying, or this whatever, is going to work out? Well, the truth is unless God tells you have no idea if it is going to work out. But it doesn’t matter because God promises to take care of you. So let’s say you get all wrapped up in some new project, where you are going to make some money and you get all wrapped up in it, you get nervous about it, you don’t know if it is going to come to pass, so you get more nervous and try harder and harder. Whereas you know that there are only three steps you can do: A, B, and C; and then you know you just got to wait and see if the deal comes through or not. But you want to keep dreaming up parts: D, E, and F, where you just keep working and working and working where it is counter-productive. It is the law of diminishing returns kicking in, you are actually shooting yourself in the foot by getting so wrapped up in it. We’ll what we ought to do is do the A, B, and C; do the parts you know you can do, and then pray and let is go. And either that project will come to pass or God will show you something else to do.
Same thing with a relationship; you really want to witness to somebody, or you really want to have a friend, go on a date, or anything with or having to do with a person. Or getting along with a coworker. You can only do so much. And then you just have to let it go. And, if it doesn’t work out with that person; there’s a few other billion people in the world. God will find another person for you to work out what you need to work out with. God’s very good like that. So, in everything in life we’ve just got to do what the Word says and then relax. And, just quit worrying about it. Because continuing to fret about it is going to be counterproductive. It will wear you out, it will distract you from trusting God, and it will just make your life miserable. So, I encourage you to be very diligent in whatever you do, but once you’ve done that: stop! Relax. You’ve done what you could.
Everybody has their way of handling that, I remember being in college and it getting to be ten or eleven at night and I had a big exam in the morning, and I thought: now I could say up all night studying or I could just get a good night’s sleep and get in fresh and relaxed in the morning. And, that is what I always did; I always found it was better to study to…pick a time: ten, eleven at night and I would study until I was done and I would pray and go to bed. And I’d show up all relaxed and rested. And, because I was relaxed and rested, so much of what I studied came back to me easily. Whereas, if I’d stayed up all night Like some of my classmates and been fried. I probably would have studied more, but done worse. And that is just one example from my life; we all have examples like that where we’ve stopped and relaxed and we have examples where we’ve gone way, way too far and it’s been counterproductive. Salesmen even know this; you sell a product or service, but once you got the buy-in from the customer, you shut-up, because if you keep talking, they’ll start to get nervous and wonder, what is this guy talking about? Why is he trying so hard to sell it, is it a bad product that he is trying to convince himself it’s a good one? And again, these are just some simple examples; the broader thing in life is you just trust God. And, you don’t worry about it beyond that.
We many times like to read that great example of Paul when he up in what we now call Turkey or Asia-minor. He wanted to go to Phrygia, he wanted to go to Troas, he wanted to go to Bithynia; and God said: don’t go there. But finally, he got the vision of the man in Macedonia, and they went up there to Philippi and Macedonia in Northern Greece and there were all kinds of people wanting to hear the word of God. But, if he continued to sweat and worry about why God said don’t go to Bithynia, it would have been terrible, so he just let it go. And, we need to be willing to diligently work on what we need to work on, and then pray and then either the doors open and we walk right through or the door slams shut and God opens a new one. But we don’t fret about the door that shut, that door is shut and we let it go. And, we look forward to the door that God will open.
I think a lot of the great misery in life comes from people fretting over doors that have shut and they just can’t get over it. I sometimes talk to people that are still mad about something that happened a long time ago, and I basically say something along the lines of: you need a reality check; because the reality is that door closed a long time ago. And, unless God tells you to pursue that or the door radically blows open in your face, its closed, its over. Whether it is a job, whether it is moving somewhere, whether it is getting a deal on something you wanted to buy, whether it is a relationship with a person or a company or an organization. If it is closed, it is closed. And, we can move on and God will provide something better and more appropriate for us.
So relaxing is a great key in life. Just think about maybe your three big, and this will be a good little homework assignment for you after we’re done. Get a piece of paper, or a sheet on your computer if you’d prefer, and write down your three biggest challenges in life. Maybe one’s a job, one’s a health issue, and one’s a relationship with a person; it doesn’t matter. Maybe all three are related to a job, maybe they’re all three related to finances, it doesn’t matter, whatever your three biggest challenges are, write them down. And then, under each one, write three things you can do about it. Because, in most cases there are about three, there might be two, are might be five, but pick a small number of things you can actually get done — you can make a difference. Write them down.
So, now you have three of your biggest challenges in life, and you have somewhere around three positive steps you can make in those. So that is your first part of the assignment, make the list. The next part of the assignment is, take the most urgent one; do those three things. And you know what the next step is? Relax. Stop. Pray. Go about your life. Take a walk. Make a cup of coffee. Read a book. Whatever it is that you find relaxing, go do that. And then, when that is settled down, when emotions have quit bubbling so much, go on to point number two. And again, do the three or so things and then relax. And so on. And it’s just sort of a simple way of disciplining yourself to clarify what your challenges are, clarify the steps you can take, take them, and then stop. Just relax, quit fretting about it. Pray that God will either open that door and make that situation work or if that situation is hopeless, and the main reason it will be hopeless is because there are other people who chose to make it hopeless, because God does not control people’s freedom of will.
So, you may have the great intention to make it work, but if other people are around it trying to make it not work, God’s not going to passion them and make them. You may just have to let that situation go, because those people don’t want to help it work. But God knows other people who do want to help you, who do want to cooperate with you, and God can open the door for that to work. So, make your list, do your three steps for each of your three challenges, then let them go and pray that God will either find a way to open the doors for those three things to prosper and succeed, or He’ll show you what to do instead. Like when Paul didn’t get to go to Bithinia, he got to go to Macedonia. And in the same way, God will open doors for you.
So, although the theme of our teaching today is relax, its first get your work done. You know, you may have a job where you work until five o’clock; well you work very hard until five o’clock, but at five o’clock: clock-out, turn off the computer, leave the office, hang up the car keys if you’re driving — whatever it is, stop. You’ve done your job, now relax and pray that God will proper your efforts and let it go. We know how to do that when it comes to clocking-out from a job, now you have to clock your brain out for situations in life where you’ve done your due-diligence, you’ve gone through the steps you can do, and now you just have to let it go. And if you can done that, you can have a nice relaxed, peaceful life with more success, because instead of trying to hang on to situations in life that aren’t working; for those that aren’t going to work, you let them go and pray that God will open other situations for you. And we all have these, in every area of life, I’ve had stuff that works for decades and still works, I’ve had stuff that worked for a week and then it didn’t work, I’ve had stuff that worked for ten years, twenty years, thirty years, and then it didn’t work. And, you have to be willing to let it go and move on.
Like I say, when somebody comes to me with a problem and they hate their job, and that’s a lot of people, I tell them to do two things: do everything they can to make their current job work, but then keep their eyes open for other opportunities. And, if another opportunity comes along that’s better, not just a little more money, but maybe a better commute, maybe better coworkers, maybe a more cooperative boss, maybe more growth potential; then make the switch. But, until that day comes, do all you can to make your current situation work. Let’s go to Psalms 37…
As taught by Bruce Mahone, 20190630. All rights reserved.
Verse Listing and Notes
Psalms 37:7 Rest in the Lord [be still, silent before the Lord]; Wait patiently for him
Psalms 40:1 I waited (with expectation) [patiently and expectantly] and he heard
Ecclesiastes. 7:8-10 Better is the patient than the proud in spirit (disposition). [patience is better than pride]
Luke 8:15 Fruit with patience (steadfast perseverance) [by persevering]
(Luke 21:5-19 In your patience possess ye your souls)
Romans 5:2-5 Patience leads to [brings about, produces] hope, which maketh not ashamed
Romans 12:10-14 Patient in mental pressure [continuing steadfast, faithful, persevering in prayer]
Romans 15:1-6 Patience and comfort of the scriptures [through patient endurance and the encouragement drawn from the scriptures]; the God of patience.
II Corinthians 6:1-10 In MUCH patience
II Corinthians 12:11-13 In ALL patience
Colossians 1:9-11 Strengthened unto all patience with joyfulness
I Thessalonians 1:3 Patience of (proceeding from) hope
I Thessalonians 5:14-15 Be patient toward all
II Thessalonians 1:3-4 We glory for your patience and believing
II Thessalonians 3:1-5 The Lord direct into patient waiting for [patience of] Christ
Hebrews 12:1 Let us run with patience [patient endurance] the race before us