This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it! I hope you are as well. Interruptions are usually people. It seems like when you've got a million things to do, that's when they become the worst, or you finally sit down to dinner and the telephone rings, or you finally get everybody to bed for a nap, get into a warm bath, and a salesman knocks at the door. Or you're getting ready to leave on vacation and all of a sudden somebody calls you up who's a long, lost friend and they're just down at the corner and they're coming to see you. Luke 9:52-54 He (Jesus) sent messengers on ahead. They came to a Samaritan village to make arrangements for his hospitality. 53 But when the Samaritans learned that his destination was Jerusalem, they refused hospitality. 54 When the disciples James and John learned of it, they said, "Master, do you want us to call a bolt of lightning down out of the sky and incinerate them?" 55 Jesus turned on them: "Of course not!"
I deal almost daily with some type of frustration. I'm certain that you do as well. I become frustrated by watching the Memphis news and hear about how casual people deal with the human life. I become frustrated when I fill up my car with gas and it takes just about all of a hundred dollar bill to do it. Frustration is a part of life. However, it is very important to examine how we deal with frustrations. I would like to spend today and tomorrow discussing this topic.
I was reading an article some time ago on miners, coal miners -- and how they have two big fears. One is the fear of a cave in. There could be an explosion and they could be trapped down in a cave. The greatest fear that miners experience is the fear of black lung, which is the fear that they inhale carbons and coal dust into their lungs and finally the stuff accumulates so much that it suffocates them. The miners said, "What we fear the most and what kills us is the small stuff."
Most of us would agree that part of our biggest problems is the little things in life that get us down. Have you ever had "One of Those Days"? Fifteen minor problems equal one bad attitude. They just all add up. It gets to you. How do you handle the little, insignificant irritations and frustrations of life? That will tell you a lot about your current walk with Christ.
The Bible says in Philippians 2 that one of the things that make a Christian different from anybody else is his attitude, his attitude toward the little things in life.
Philippians 2:14, "Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation in which you shine like stars in the universe."
Life is made up of little things. Your faithfulness is not so much determined on how you act on Sunday at the communion table, but how you act on Monday morning at the breakfast table. It's the real issues of life and your attitude that make the difference. Today I would like to share with you Three Common Types of Frustrations.
It seems that even our best plans are often interrupted. Irritations are a source of frustration.
Inconveniences are usually things. They are things that inconvenience us. The part that you need for your automobile you go down to the store to get it and it's out of stock and it has to be back-ordered. That's an inconvenience. You get a flat tire on the way to a funeral. You're in the grocery line and you get to the very front and she rings it all up and you open your checkbook and realize you've forgotten to put in new checks.
Interruptions are usually people. It seems like when you've got a million things to do, that's when they become the worst, or you finally sit down to dinner and the telephone rings, or you finally get everybody to bed for a nap, get into a warm bath, and a salesman knocks at the door. Or you're getting ready to leave on vacation and all of a sudden somebody calls you up who's a long, lost friend and they're just down at the corner and they're coming to see you.
Luke 9:52-54 He (Jesus) sent messengers on ahead. They came to a Samaritan village to make arrangements for his hospitality. 53 But when the Samaritans learned that his destination was Jerusalem, they refused hospitality. 54 When the disciples James and John learned of it, they said, "Master, do you want us to call a bolt of lightning down out of the sky and incinerate them?" 55 Jesus turned on them: "Of course not!"
- Irritations are a part of life.
They can be either things or people. Everybody's trying to get into the bathroom at the same time, you have an obnoxious bank teller, the baby is crying, or you have a neighborhood rock group. These things can be irritations in your life.
Physical pain can be an irritation. Paul said he had a thorn in the flesh. If you don't feel good, that's an irritation -- a backache, a headache, the heartbreak of psoriasis, dandruff, whatever. All of these things in life cause us to be irritated or frustrated.
Some of them are unavoidable. Some of them you can control, but many of them aren't avoidable. How do you deal with those kinds of things? That's what I want to talk with you about. How do you deal with the daily things, the little things? Not the big crises of life, it's the small stuff that kills us.
There are four typical reactions when you are facing an irritation.
- Some people resist it. They fight it. They blow up. They lose their cool.
Somebody said, "A small pot boils the quickest." You can tell a lot about a person by what it takes to irritate them, get them mad. Some people resist, they overreact.
It's always amazed me at how little it takes to make some drivers mad on the freeway. They're honking their horn, blaring. It's like the guy who said, "I've hit four cars today! What's wrong with everybody?" Some people resist it.
- Some people don't let it out. Instead of blowing up, they clam up. They resent it.
They hold it in. They internalize it. They blame everybody else for their unhappiness. They take it out on the clerk at the store. It's not really her fault. She's not really trying to sabotage your day. She's just doing her job. You take it out on the other people and blame other people then you rehearse it over and over in your mind and say, "This is such a lousy day!" and then you start complaining to God, "It's not fair!" Some people resist it, some people resent frustrations.
- Some people just give into it. They resign to it. Grin and bear it.
"I don't like what's going on, but I'll put up with it. It's just my luck. What will be will be." It's a stoic approach. Take it like a man. Many people go through life giving in to frustration. You say, "How you doing?" and they say, "So far so good, under the circumstances." What are you doing under them? You get on top, you rest easy. You get underneath, you suffocate. It's like a mattress. They give in, self pity, a pity party, "It's just our luck, there it is again!"
The problem with that kind of attitude is that resignation robs you of joy. That's no way to live. That's not the way to happiness. How do you handle it? You don't resist it -- get mad and blow off. You don't resent it -- hold it in and blame everybody else. You don't resign to it -- whatever will be will be. What do you do?
What does the Bible say that we're to do with frustrations? You don't resist them, you don't resent them, you don't resign to them ...
- You reduce it. You bring it into focus.
You treat it for what it is, simply a minor irritation. It's no big deal. It's not worth getting mad about. Bring it into perspective. Treat it as insignificant. Don't let it get you down. See it as it really is. It's not the end of the world, it's simply a temporary setback. So you reduce it down to size.
Time magazine a few years ago had a cover article on the stress epidemic in the United States. It was saying that stress is probably now the world's fastest spreading disease. We are in a stressful environment. As you know, a lot of heart attacks are related to stress.
The key is this: The only way you can treat all stuff as small stuff is to see it from God's point of view.
f I look at it, it may seem like a major crisis, everything's falling apart. But when you see it from God's point of view, His perspective, then it comes into focus. Wisdom is seeing life from God's point of view. Proverbs is the book of wisdom and it teaches us how to see life from God's point of view. Understanding is responding to life from God's point of view. The Bible says, "In all of your getting, get wisdom and understanding." See it from God's point of view, then react to it, respond to it from God's point of view.
When I get irritable, it's simply a warning signal that I'm not in tune with God like I should be. When I'm in tune with God, then I remember God is sovereign and God has everything that's important under control. Therefore, I shall not sweat it! I realize I'm in His hands. Philippians 1:6 says "Being confident of this very thing that He who began a good work in you will perform it unto the day of Christ Jesus."
He'll bring it to completion. God who starts you will sustain you and see you to completion no matter what the barriers are. That's a promise you can claim.
You don't resist it, you don't resent it, and you don't resign to it. You reduce it. You see it from God's viewpoint.
Tomorrow we will look at Five Practical Steps on how to handle the frustrations of life. Blessings!
Today's "THROUGH THE BIBLE IN A YEAR" Bible reading: (May 8, 2008) Thursday: Psalm 47:1 – Psalm 52:1