Simple Steps to Handling Stress

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries5 Minutes

Excerpt from Simple Steps to Handling Stress by Inspiration Ministries

Empty But Overflowing

Ever notice how stressed and anxious we get when we doubt our self-worth? It’s like a bungee cord that snaps us back as we take a step forward. Every thought we have can slam us into a fortress of anxiety and unease…if we question who we are in Christ.

Think of the ways we doubt ourselves. We may worry if we’re in God’s will for our lives. We question if God loves us or if we’re loved by others.

We may even wonder if our understanding of God and His Word is completely off kilter. We all want so desperately to live a fulfilling life, but there’s often something in the back of our minds that tells us we’ll never be good enough to be blessed.

You probably remember the story in the Old Testament about Elisha and the poor widow. Facing a mountain of debt, the widow asked Elisha for help to keep her creditors from selling her two sons into slavery (2 Kings 4:1-7).

Elisha had great compassion on the widow and asked her if she had anything of value in her house. She replied, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.” Then Elijah said, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors – empty vessels; do not gather just a few. And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones.”

Upon hearing Elisha’s instructions, the widow gathered as many vessels as she could and began doing everything that the prophet told her to do. She went home with her sons, closed the door, and began filling each container with oil.

And her obedience opened the door to her miracle! God began multiplying her oil, and the flow of oil did not stop until she ran out of vessels. She was then able to sell the oil and pay her debts and to use whatever money was left for living expenses for herself and her sons.

The story shows the miraculous hand of God when we’re obedient with our faith. It also illustrates a critical point of how we should see ourselves: We’re all empty jars needing to be filled.

There’s not a one of us who has any self-worth or value on our own. We need God’s power. We need His love and mercy. Everything we are and do depends on who He is in us.

The key to being functional vessels is through finding our true identity in Jesus. He alone is our secret to our value and worth. He alone is the source of our true strength despite our sinful nature that tells us otherwise.

Once we gain an understanding of that truth, we can’t help but marvel at the love of God and how He chooses to use us despite our sins and flaws.

If you doubt your value, just look at the finished work of the cross. Because of the shed blood of Jesus, you now have great standing and tremendous value based on the sacrifice He made on your behalf. Without Him, you would be nothing and you would have nothing. But in Christ, you have all the blessings of God sent from heaven above and the reminder from the Creator that you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).

God’s desire is to use us powerfully in all situations, but He will never do so until we’re emptied of everything first. He only uses the jars of clay that He can fill Himself. So it’s up to us to submit our hearts to Him and to rid our hearts of our pride, our self-love, and arrogance. Once He has room to operate in our lives…He then can pour out His Spirit in us so that we become the overflow of His goodness on others.

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