Welcome to #InspireAfricaProject! One of the laws that the Jews hold dear to their hearts is the Law of Rest. It is forbidden to work on the Sabbath day. If they catch you working, they will arrest you. In fact, working on the Sabbath day was considered a crime. Why did God insist that they rest on the Sabbath day? Because He knew that if they fail to rest within seven days, they will break down.
If you’re one of those who read my articles regularly, you would have discovered that I strongly believe in hard work, but I also believe you should give your body a break. If you push your body beyond what it can sustain, you will break down. That’s why it was a Federal offense to work on the Sabbath day in Israel. God literally forced them to rest so that they won’t die before their time.
Research shows that stress can cause pain, tightness or soreness in your muscles, as well as spasm of pain. It can lead to flare-ups of symptoms of arthritis. Too much of the stress hormone cortisol may make heart and lung conditions worse. These include heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and asthma.
Stress affects your digestive system. From simpler symptoms such as pain, gas, diarrhea and constipation to more complex conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome. They also found out that stress weakens your immune system to fight disease. It makes you more likely to catch colds or the flu, for example. It also lead to all manner of conditions in our body. Unfortunately, when people die in our clime we don’t ask what killed him because we believe that somebody might have killed him. Let’s look at how to live a stress-free life.
1. Rest. In developed countries they take holiday serious. It’s like a law everybody abides by. They travel to other nations, go to the beach and just lie there resting. In fact, one of my friends who lives abroad told me that at the beginning of every year, they normally sit down and plan for their holiday. He said that they save some money specifically for holiday.
I think we should start something like that. Can you imaging how rejuvenated you will be if you can travel to places like Obudu Cattle Ranch, and rest for one week? Drop every work or assignment at home. Tell your spouse or children to call you at a certain time once in a day, and make sure the phone is switched off. If you live in Lagos like me, you need to get out of the hustling and bustling once in a while so that your body can rejuvenate.
Moses nearly killed himself because he carried the burden of a whole nation alone. He counseled thousands of people every day. One day, his father-in-law, Jethro paid him a visit. When he saw how Moses stressed himself out, he said to him;
“The thing that you do is not good. Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself. Listen now to my voice; I will give you counsel, and God will be with you: Stand before God for the people, so that you may bring the difficulties to God. And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do.
Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Then it will be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they themselves shall judge. So it will be easier for you, for they will bear the burden with you. If you do this thing, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all this people will also go to their place in peace.” Exodus 18:17-23.
The old Evangelicals said that, “If only we can get old heads on young bodies, most of our spiritual fathers wouldn’t have died prematurely.” During the tent meetings and Voice of Healing Movements, these people stretched themselves so hard that some died in their 30s and 40s. They were holding meetings almost everyday for months and years. Some of them were terribly sick while they were healing others.
In fact, two of the leading voices in God’s Kingdom on earth today called a young minster and told him that they made terrible mistakes they wouldn’t want him to make. What was that mistake? They abandoned their health because of their passion for the ministry, and they nearly died young. I heard the story of a young minister who fasted to death. He killed himself because he wanted to become a powerful minister.
I want to tell every minister who might be reading this article that I’m not against spiritual exercises. In fact, I believe in spiritual ruggedity from the depth of my heart. I will never joke with preaching, teaching, fasting, personal retreat, midnight prayer, intensive study of God’s Word and other spiritual exercises. What I’m saying is that you must understand that your body is fragile. Take some time to rest so that you will be alive to fulfill your ministry in a grand style.
I think Kenneth Hagin outlived most of his contemporaries in the Voice of Healing Movement because he pulled out and focused on teaching the word of faith. One of my mentors told me many years ago that I should remember that Saint Paul and others preached this Gospel and they are dead. He said I must remember that if I die today, the gospel will not die with me. Others will keep preaching. He was not telling me to stop preaching or to become lazy, but that I should make out time to rest, so that I will have the energy to carry out the assignment.
2. Free Your Mind From Bitterness. Bitterness is a silent killer. There are people who forgave someone, and long-term migraine headaches disappeared within minutes. Others were healed of chronic constipation and colitis; some were released from arthritis pain, improved eyesight, and a host of other debilitating sicknesses! Researchers have discovered that unforgiveness leads to all manner of ailment that have killed millions of people.
Apart from sickness, the moment you forgive someone and free your mind from bitterness, it seems as if a heavy load just checked out of your life. I know that your husband abandoned you and the children and married another wife, yes it is painful, but I want you to forgive him.
I know that your wife conspired with your children and beat you up, and they don’t even respect you as the head of the family, kindly forgive them. I know that a man raped you, and that act led to pregnancy. Now you’re a single mother and out of school, and everyday you keep placing various degrees of curses on him, please forgive him and move on.
Personally, I refused to be hurting because of someone who is enjoying himself somewhere. Most times, the person you are angry at may not even know what’s going on and you are dying in silence. When you forgive your enemy, God will forgive all your sins. You will become lighter on the inside, and all the sicknesses you’re struggling with as a result unforgiveness will checkout permanently. When I see people who say they will only forgive someone over their dead body I laugh. You are hindering yourself, not even the person.
Louis B. Smedes said that, “Forgiving does not erase the bitter past. A healed memory is not a deleted memory. Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember. We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future.”
If there is someone who should be angry for the injustice the government meted out to him during apartheid, it should be Nelson Mandela. But look at what he said, “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.” Forgiveness is a choice, hatred is equally a choice, make a wise choice today.
3. Don’t Do Things In A Haste. Take your time. One of the reasons why we are always in a haste is lack of planning. You know that your children will be going back to school in two months time, but you didn’t do anything. Two weeks to go, you start running around. You start panicking and praying at the same time. That kind of lifestyle will break you down.
Long term planning will help you to take care of the habit of rushing. Plan ahead. In one of our conferences (Inspire Africa Project Conference) I dwelt on strategic planning. I showed my audience how God structured the earth. He created water before He created fish. He planted the Garden of Eden, before He created Adam. He planned ahead before over 7 billion people arrived on the earth. Kindly plan your life that way so that you can close the door against stress.
I told them at that conference that before they think about marriage, they should start saving for their children’s school fees. Open an insurance school fee plan. Doing that will help you to be at rest when it’s time to pay your children’s school fees.
I used to be in a hurry in almost everything in the past. One day I was rushing to a speaking engagement. The people were calling me frantically, and I was driving like James Bond on the busy Lagos road. At a point I said to myself, “Wait a minute; if I die now will these people stop this program?” I pulled over somewhere, switched off my phone, pushed down my seat, and stretched my legs to rest. I rested for about thirty minutes before I continued the journey. It was when I got to the place that I turned on my phone.
From that day I made a vow never to be in a hurry again. Because I know almost every part of Lagos, I studied the traffic, and started going to every speaking engagement a bit early. In some places I will leave two hours before the time the organizers of the program told me. I usually go with the work I would have been doing at the office. If I get to the place early enough, I will keep doing my work in the car until it’s time to speak. That way, I killed stress forever.
Dear friend, take care of your health. If you’re a man and you are over fourth years old, kindly go for checkup periodically. Check your prostrate glands. Cut down sugar intake drastically. It’s not out of fear, but to take precautions. If you’re a lady, kindly do the same. Go for cervical screening. God wants us to live long so that we can affect lives. To do that, we must do our parts, and leave the rest to God. Wisdom is profitable to direct!
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