“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world” (1 Peter 5:8-9)
As a Christian we find that the Lord deals with us in seasons, helping us to grow and mature in our faith so that we can serve the Kingdom of God in our fullest capacity. Recently, God has been dealing with me in several areas, one of those being finding peace. What does that have to do with this Manna Monday’s verse? Stay with me. I promise this will all come together.
Understanding the biological aspect of stress
If you were to meet me in person you would find that I am very much a type A personality. It serves me well in my “real” job as a paramedic. I am comfortable and confident walking into a scene of chaos, destruction, and death and taking command. Part of my person craves the satisfaction that comes from being the calm in the eye of the storm, the person that everyone else on scene turns to for direction and even security (because honestly, a serious medical emergency scene can be a scary place even for those who are dedicated to responding to it). The problem with this type A personality who is constantly placed in a position of authority in highly stressful life and death situations? The stress takes its toll. People seriously underestimate the power that stress has over our bodies.
Stress generates the “fight or flight” mechanism in our bodies which results in high levels of various hormones including epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol. These three hormones are not the only ones generated but they are the three major hormones that have the greatest effect on our body. Most people realize that epinephrine and norepinephrine are responsible for increasing your heart rate, begins shunting oxygen rich blood to the muscles that may be needed to fight or flee from a danger. They help the body to be more focused and aware. They are vital to surviving a threat but many people are unaware of the hormone cortisol which comes a little later in the cascade. It is as important to the flight or fight mechanism as the other two. It helps to maintain blood pressure through balancing fluid levels in the body and shutting down body operations not necessary for survival in a dangerous situation such as digestion, immunity, and reproductive drive. The problem comes from extended, elevated levels of these hormones. When we worry about getting in trouble at work, an argument with a loved one, or a project deadline (like making sure our garden is in the ground on time because our families food production depends on it), then our cortisol levels stay elevated. Over time this starts to cause damage to our bodies. It can be responsible for elevated blood pressure levels, elevated or depressed blood sugar levels from interference with digestion, obesity, and even sex drive. Over time these problems can contribute to further medical problems and ultimately result in a shortened life expectancy. Again, you might ask, what does this have to do with today’s verse?
How Satan works against us.
Jesus tells us in John 10:10 that “the thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy”. Before I go any further I need to mention that it is important that you understand that this really only applies to those trying to serve God. Satan is perfectly happy to let you live in peace and enjoy the pleasures of this world, not because he wants you, but because he wants you to stop doing whatever it is you would otherwise be doing for God. So when we start trying to live our lives for God, Satan will do whatever he can to steal your peace. He is cunning and he knows that if you are busy stressing over your job you likely aren’t worried about healing the sick. If you are concerned about your health, you likely aren’t worried about preaching the Kingdom. You get the point. If you are not finding peace you are going to be worn down and Satan will take any advantage he can get. Remember, he is “walking about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour”.
How do we find peace?
So what can we do to find peace? You need to set aside time every day to commune with the Holy Spirit. Psalms 46:10 tells us, “Be still, and know that I am God”. This means we need to be quiet and listen to God. Remember Matthew 6:33? “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you”. (Emphasis added) Seek first, huh? See, if we are seeking God first and we are being still and listening to God, I promise you that you will find the peace in your life that you need and once you find that peace, you can put on the full armor of God and you will be prepared to meet the enemy on the field of battle. You will be rested, armed, and protected against Satan’s wily attacks on you. Have a great day and God bless!