from JO’s sermon tonight:
rest doesn’t mean that you’re on vacation, you never do anything; we all have to work, deal with challenges, interact with different people, but we’re supposed to do it from a place of peace, not stressed out, worried, fighting everything that we don’t like.
Hebrews 4:11 (ICB)
11 So let us try as hard as we can to enter God’s rest.
that’s a place where we know God’s in control, fighting our battles. here’s the key; once you enter this rest, you’re not going to automatically stay there. life is full of peace-stealers. there will always be people and circumstances trying to pull you out of rest. if you’re going to live in peace, you have to put up some boundaries, and not allow everything in. you can’t watch the news 24 hours a day and expect to stay at rest. your mind wasn’t meant to take in all the tragedies, accidents, killings, over and over; that’s going to pull you out of rest. do yourself a favor; turn it off. be careful what you feed your inner person. if you watch all the news about the price of oil going up, layoffs, bankruptcies, it’s going to cause you to live stressed-out, worried, on edge. you can’t feed on negativity, discouragement, and expect to stay positive and faith-filled.
I like to watch the news, of course, to know what’s going on in the world, but after about 15 minutes, I’ve learned everything I need to know; I don’t keep taking it in again and again. the 24 hour news, most of that repeats every 30 minutes; it was designed for people flipping on and off, not to watch over and over. put on some good news; feed your inner person encouraging things that build you up, cause you to stay positive, hopeful, and inspired. what we take in through our eyes and ears eventually gets into our subconscious mind; if you’re taking in all the negative, violence, discouragement, that’s going to depress your spirit.
you need to be aware of what’s pulling you out of that rest. sometimes, it’s our own choices; if you get on social media, and you’re constantly comparing your life to everyone else’s, that’s going to discourage you. you’ll never feel good about who you are as long as you’re competing with others, because there’ll always be somebody more beautiful, talented, successful; that’s a peace-stealer. put up a boundary, and say, “I am not going to live in somebody else’s world, obsessed with what they’re doing, where they’re going, what they’re eating, driving. I’m going to run my own race.” you can miss your destiny caught up in somebody else’s life. successful people are too focused on their own race to look around to see what everybody else is doing. quit comparing; it’ll pull you out of your rest.
some people are peace-stealers; they’re high-maintenance, always having a problem. every time they call, they’re having a major crisis; they expect you to come running to bail them out, encourage them, keep them fixed. they’re good people, you love them, but you shouldn’t allow them to continually dump their problems on you. if you don’t put up a boundary, they won’t be the only one unhappy; you’ll end up unhappy. and I’m all for helping, loving, taking time to care, but some people won’t deal with their own issues as long as they can dump it on you; that’s the easy way out. as long as you’ll bail them out, feel sorry for them, let them unload their burdens, they’ll do it again and again. what they’re doing is, they dump it all on you, and then they go home and go to bed, while you stay up and worry about, “what are we going do about this?” it’s easy to take on a false sense of responsibility, where you jump every time they call, try to keep them fixed, but you are not responsible for other people’s happiness; don’t let their unhappiness keep you from being happy.
I have enough drama in my own life; I don’t need somebody else’s. if they won’t make good decisions, if they want to live upset, bitter, offended, in a crisis mode, that’s their choice; you can’t stop that, but you shouldn’t let them control you, and make you feel guilty if you don’t help, let them call you all hours of the day. you are not a garbage can; you have to protect your peace. like a business, you need to have hours of operation; times when you’re open, times when you’re closed. “I’m open for them from 2 to 4 in the afternoon.” when they call you at 8 o’clock at night, when you’re in peace, spending time with your family, enjoying your children, that phone rings, normally you’d rush over, answer it, get all uptight; no, next time, “sorry not open for business right now.” “You mean don’t answer the phone?” yes, that’s why God created voicemail. don’t let their crisis steal your peace.
have you noticed, some people are alarmists; everything is a major problem, major crisis, they need you right now, tomorrow will be too late? they have a spirit of alarm; if you don’t put up a boundary, you’ll get pulled in, they’ll get you all stirred up, stressed-out. don’t fall into that trap. if you don’t make them respect you, you’ll be dealing with this same issue 20 years from now. your destiny is too important to let people who are not dealing with their own issues hold you back; recognize, that’s a peace-stealer. you need to make some changes. “what if I hurt their feelings?” what if you miss your destiny? God didn’t call you to keep everyone happy. and sure, do your part, be a giver, go the extra mile, but don’t become a garbage dump, where you allow someone to always dump their burdens on you; that’s out of balance. you have to protect your emotional energy; you have a limited supply. if you’re taking in all this extra drama, involved in things you should never be involved in, you’re not going to have the emotional energy for what you need: your dreams, children, assignment.
I’m not saying to be selfish, I’m saying be wise; you can’t fix everyone, you can’t make people do what’s right. you’re not called to straighten everyone out; you’re not the Savior, we already have one. some people don’t really want to change; they like the attention it brings to have you at their beck and call. a lot of times, instead of helping them, we’re really enabling their dysfunction, doing them a disservice. if you don’t bail them out, maybe they’ll start taking responsibility. if they can’t reach you every 3 minutes, maybe they’ll learn to encourage themselves. life is too short to go through it being controlled; you shouldn’t spend all your time trying to straighten everybody out. some of your relatives that are upset with each other, they’re going to be upset 30 years from now; don’t waste your valuable time being upset with them. if they don’t want to be happy, that’s fine, but don’t let them keep you from being happy; turn it over to God, and enjoy your life.
sometimes, you have to make hard decisions to reach your destiny. you can’t fulfill your assignment trying to please everyone; if you’re trying to keep everybody around you happy, the one person who will not be happy is you. “what if they get upset, start talking about me?” they won’t be the first, and they’re not going to be the last. I would rather have people upset with me than to not become who I was created to be. if you’ll put these boundaries up, you’ll live more peacefully, be more effective, and move quicker into your destiny. when you tell someone, “I love you, but you can’t call me every 3 minutes, I can’t keep you cheered up, keep bailing you out again and again,” if they get upset, they weren’t really your friend, they were a controller, a manipulator. they like you for what you can do for them, not for who you are. you don’t need friends like that; make a change, and God will give you true friends. here’s the key; if you’re doing all the giving, and never receiving, that’s out of balance.
I heard somebody say, “if you surround yourself with people that need you more than they feed you, then that’s a red flag.” the longer I live, the more I realize the importance of having the right people in our lives; you won’t reach the fullness of your destiny with people that are constantly dragging you down, you’re having to always spend your time and energy keeping them fixed, encouraged. you need people who feed, inspire, challenge you, people who are happy, where you laugh and have fun, people who are consistent, not living in a crisis mode, moody, up-and-down, but people that are stable. I read a study that said, for every happy friend you have, you are 20% more likely to be happy. if I understand this right, if you can just find 5 happy friends, there’s a good chance you’re going to be happy. this is what the scripture says:
Proverbs 13:20 (NET Bible)
20 The one who associates with the wise grows wise
it’s true in the negative just like the positive:
Proverbs 20:19 (AMP)
19 He who goes about as a gossip reveals secrets;
Therefore do not associate with a gossip
think of it like this; it for every peace-stealer you allow in your life, you’re 20% more likely to live stressed, on edge, to have a crisis. I’m asking you to find happy friends. I’m not saying you have to cut people off, never speak to them again, I’m saying, you should put up some you boundaries. you don’t have to make a big announcement, just little by little, spend less and less time with that person. if you don’t get the wrong people out of your life, you’ll never meet the right ones. especially in your inner circle, the people who are closest to you, need to be stable, consistent, happy, Godly, responsible people, that move you toward your destiny.
Proverbs 27:17 (CEV)
17 Just as iron sharpens iron, friends sharpen the minds of each other.
this is the reason many people are stuck. who do you have in your life? what are you giving your time and energy to? putting out fires, trying to keep someone happy, feeling guilty because you can’t meet their demands? that’s going to wear you out; it’s time to make a change. you can’t please everyone.
we see this principle with Jesus. after a long day teaching the people, praying for them, the scripture says:
Mark 6:31 (CEV)
31 But so many people were coming and going that Jesus and the apostles did not even have a chance to eat. Then Jesus said, “Let’s go to a place where we can be alone and get some rest.”
there were still many people that needed prayer, needs that had not been met. I’m sure some of them thought, “we traveled all this way, and he didn’t even wait to pray for us, he let us down.” Jesus wasn’t being rude, overlooking needs; he was taking care of himself. he knew he needed to get away and get quiet, so he could be refreshed and restored. there will always be people that need you, somebody that needs rescuing, encouraging, help. if you try to meet all the needs, you’ll end up rundown, over time even burn out. your number one priority is to keep yourself healthy. you shouldn’t be pressured into doing things that you know are going to wear you out, over time even keep you from your destiny. if Jesus was willing to walk away from needs to protect his peace, stay at rest, we need to be willing to walk away from things that we know are stealing our peace.
in Mark chapter 4:
Mark 4:36-38 (NIV)
36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.
Jesus was asleep, at rest in the middle of the storm.
Mark 4:38-39 (NIV)
38… The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
what’s interesting is, these disciples had seen Jesus heal a paralyzed man, cure the leper, do all kinds of miraculous signs; you’d think, since they had seen the miracles, and Jesus had just told them, “let’s go to the other side of the lake,” they would believe they would make it, but doubt, fear crept in, and they panicked, and woke Jesus up.
like with these disciples, there will always be people that try to get us out of our rest. they may be good people, mean well, but they tend to focus on the negative, blow things out of proportion, see everything as a crisis. if you allow them, they’ll get you all wrought up, stirred up; you have to put your foot down, and say, “no, I’m staying at rest. don’t wake me up with your worry, fear, doubt. I know God is still on the throne; He brought me through in the past, and he’ll bring me through this next time.”
now, the situation, in the natural, may be a crisis, they were in a storm: you got a bad medical report, your child is off course, your business has gone down. but when you know that the God Who controls the universe is on your boat, the God Who speaks to storms and they obey, is right there with you, you’ll have a different perspective; you won’t let circumstances pull you out of rest. you won’t let people who are panicking, stressed out, cause you to panic. you won’t stay focused on the size of the problem; you’ll stay focused on the size of your God. don’t let your own negative thoughts wake you up from your rest. don’t let people wake you up with their worry, doubt. stay in peace, and God will do what He promised; He’ll get you to where you’re supposed to be.
how we respond in the storms of life, the difficult times, influences how people respond around us. if Jesus would have woken up all panicked, “wow, this is really bad,” those disciples probably would’ve jumped overboard; “if he’s worried, we’re really worried.” but because he stayed at rest, not only could he bring peace, but people around him calmed down. when you live at rest, your family will be more peaceful. when you don’t get stressed out at the office when everybody else does, people around you will calm down. when you’re stable, consistent, in a good mood despite what’s going on around you, like Jesus, because you have peace on the inside, you’ll bring peace to the outside.
don’t let people wake you up with their negativity. like at a hotel; when you don’t want to be bothered, you put the “do not disturb” sign on the door. why don’t you put a “do not disturb sign” on your life? you’re announcing, “I’m staying at rest. don’t wake me up with your turmoil, drama, fear”; tell those peace-stealers, “look at the sign on the door; ‘do not disturb.’ I have entered into the rest of God.” life happens. there will be plenty of opportunities to wake up from that rest. even though people and circumstances may bypass that “do not disturb” sign, you have the final say; you have to dig your heels in, and say, “no, I’m staying at rest. I know God’s still on the throne. I am not going to lose my peace over something I cannot change.” how many times do we let small things pull us out of that rest? you get caught in traffic, a coworker was rude to you, somebody’s talking about you; don’t let that get on the inside.
you’ll never keep away all the peace-stealers. if you’re waiting for them to change, traffic to change, your boss to change, you’ll live stressed, worried, your whole life. they may never change. the good news is; you can change. you can enter into this rest. you can put that “do not disturb” sign on. despite what comes against, you make up your mind; you’re going to stay in peace. that “do not disturb” sign, most of the time, it’s not for other people, it’s for you; it’s to remind us to stay in peace. are you allowing things to pull you out of rest? anyone can be peaceful when everything is going their way; the real test comes when life happens, when the remote control is lost, the car wash damages your car, the disciples come rushing in, panicking, “we’re in a storm, this is really bad.” the easy thing to do is to panic with them, get all upset. recognize what’s happening; those are peace-stealers, trying to pull you out of your rest.
this is what happened with the Israelites. God had just delivered them out of slavery. they were headed toward the promised land, life was good, until the Pharaoh changed his mind; he and his army came chasing after them. the Israelites ended up at a dead end, at the Red Sea. they had nowhere to go; it looked like they’d certainly recaptured, or maybe even killed. they began to panic, they were so afraid. the scripture says:
Exodus 14:10-11 (NCV)
10 When the Israelites saw the king and his army coming after them, they were very frightened and cried to the Lord for help.
11 They said to Moses, “What have you done to us? Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in the desert?
Moses knew, if they would’ve stayed upset, fearful, worried, that would’ve stopped God from working. he said to the people:
Exodus 14:13 (NLT)
13 But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today.
notice, there was a condition; God will fight your battles if you’ll stay at rest. quit worrying about the medical report, being upset over the contract that you didn’t get, stressed by those people who are talking about you; if you’ll remain at rest, God will fight your battles. I’m asking you today to identify the peace-stealers in your life. what’s causing you to be stressed? are you carrying a load that you’re not supposed to carry, allowing someone to dump their burdens on you, trying to be the savior? turn that over to God; don’t let them pull you out of rest. are you allowing traffic, people, a grouchy boss, to upset you? they may not change, but you can change. put up this “do not disturb” sign; not just for others, but to remind you to stay in peace. friends, life is too short to go through it letting peace-stealers determine our destiny. if you’ll make this decision with me that you’re going to live at rest, you’ll not only enjoy your life more, but God will do for you what He did for the Israelites; part Red Seas, restore your health, bring vindication, promotion, the fullness of your destiny.