by John Greene
If there is a common element to life, it is what we call “stress”. By many accounts, modern society is “stressed-out”. People are overcommitted and overscheduled. Many have adopted workaholic mindsets. Stress can also be an excuse, a way to complain without doing anything about solving the problem and the fruit that stress yields. Evidence shows that unbridled stress over a lifetime has significant affects on health and attitudes. The negative effects of self-induced stress include surges in heart rate and blood pressure, promotion of artery wall inflammation, increases in homocysteine and cholesterol, constriction of coronary arteries and the promotion of autoimmune diseases. High stress people often lead sedentary lifestyles full of high-fat diets and food industry designer foods. In addition, others may engage in risky activities like smoking. Acute emotional distress has become a way of life for multitudes.
Chronic stress can begin to erode the ability of your nervous system to handle stress. Because of this reality, stress works well as a political, cultural or social tool. Stress can become an issue of social rank or position, which also is mediated by a reward system. Those that suffer repeated defeat can become listless and compliant. Others may begin to self-medicate with food, drugs, sex and various coping devices. Chronic stress can be handed down from generation to generation, through behavior and on a cellular level. Powerful people are able to exploit chronic stress and its patterns, even in ignorance. Industry and commerce also exploit the reality created in your life. Throughout history, violence is used as both a measure of exploitation through humiliating actions, as well as a reaction to certain stress.
‘Justice’ is often used as a tool to exploit and control. A sense of ‘justice’ or ‘honor’ can serve both to validate stress and to rebel against it. Shaming rituals through so-called ‘courts of law’ often involve private debt recovery and seizures of property. The incorporation of government, business and individuals has become a tool of control. States and business, whether ‘legally incorporated’ or not, routinely profit from transactions and stress in human culture. We are now entering a season where systems of governance pretend to be perfecting systems of absolute control. This is even evident in the scientific world now, since science is often used to rationalize and justify what the mind does, which plays into behavior and stress. As a result of increasing manipulation, the resistance against stress, as well as knowing how to deal with its effects are increasingly important.
One of the major roots of stress lies in ‘personality’, as well as how a person handles or perceives stress. The ‘type-a personality’ became understood in the 1960s, defined as a driven competitor that believes that they must do everything themselves. This driven individual is actively involved in the struggle to accomplish more – and in less time, knocking down obstacles that appear to be in the way. This behavior shows the need to control and often displays anger or general hostility. This complex attitude is not unique to men or women, and is just as apparent in housekeeping as it is in the halls of business. It is a coping mechanism that is rooted in childhood feelings of insufficiency and inadequacy. Perfectionism is rooted in this dynamic as an illusion of control. Society and politics often advertise this behavior as totally acceptable, since you can build a colony of behavioral slaves that are focused on what they have learned as their role and purpose in life. Over time, another dominant personality has been revealed. (“Justice & Righteousness“; “Learning to Live Outside of Blind Justice“; “The Truth About Restoration“)
The distressed personality follows as a similar coping mechanism grounded in negative thinking. The glass is always half empty. These are pessimistic people that worry over small matters, often to the point of obsession. They tend to bottle up feelings, building up resentment and hatreds to justify feelings of inadequacy.
The upset and pent up anger destroys personal health, the well-being of other people, breaks up relationships and creates false expectations. This kind of conditioning allows people to disassociate themselves from their reactions and thinking. They create unreasonable demands on others and on self. Now imagine whole nations of these people grounded in these mindsets over time and you begin to see the scope of the problem. Modern citizens have been trained with the idea of industrial efficiency and obedience, whether they succeed in this conduct or not. The casual observer is now learning that chronic illness is a symptom of buying into destructive thinking patterns. All the elements of modern society seek to justify this evolving new normal grounded in high anxiety. In reality, it is a tool of obedience that keeps people striving. (Psalm 127:2; “The Truth About Anger“; “Disease & Spiritual Roots“; “Is a Quick Temper a Demonic Stronghold?“)
These roots of fear prompt reactions of avoidance, but often, fleeing is seen as an impossible idea. The modern world continually flees from the past by rewriting history and destroying evidence of the past that is less than complimentary. Despite this evidence, world leaders point at a world order that will somehow make the world of man a better place. (John 14:27; Romans 8:28, 31; Psalm 55:22; “Persisting Against Deception & Oppression During Tribulation“)
The definition of stress is based on the natural reaction to flee in the face of difficulty. Authority in business and politics often seeks to combat this reaction with the philosophy of stress management. This authority has offered solutions in the face of constant distress, a pattern of events that often governs people through impulse and manipulation. The idea of developing a ‘perfect’ system or searching for a ‘perfect’ solution quickly follows, demonstrating another method of control. In daily life, many doctors say that “stress can be the spice of life,” but the fruit of this idea seems to prove otherwise. Instead, we’ve adopted chronic stress as the norm of society and its’ function over time. In previous generations, people died while young from many of the same stressors. Today, we pride ourselves with the miracle of living longer, attributing this to wealth and the glory of science. This pride demands that chronic illness be resolved while we bathe in negative emotions, environmental pollution and faulty thinking patterns that create more destruction and chaos. Authority says that we are never good enough in practice, forever hoping to please someone else to achieve the mirage of success. (1 John 5:19; 1 Corinthians 6:9; Proverbs 6:16-19; “Overcoming Fear during Tough Times“; “Perilous Times Hard to Deal With“)
The reality is that society has trained multitudes to be “yes men”, led with the carrot of personal benefit and promise, filled with patriotic sentiments and national camaraderie. Hope is the watchword, followed by an underground current that demands responsibility and consent to authority. This has usefully been tied into both politics and religion for as long as mankind has known. Today, we have the promise of 60-hour workweeks, long commutes, and instantaneous communication expectations in the effort to buy success. The more common plight is striving eternally for a living wage with the hope of achieving the success of workaholic dreams, even as the demands of trends, opinions and laws continually change. Coping with stress, the perceived lack of time, and the lack of opportunity in a world full of expectations has become a life trial for many. This overload has real effects that aren’t good news. It sounds destructive because it is. (“Breaking Strongholds of False Authority“; “Disciples of Messiah & the Authority of Man“; “Authority: The Real Meaning of Romans 13“)
The whole of society is caught up in role playing. The chaos of modern life seems normal, but it isn’t. More people are becoming burned out from overwork, stress and the inability to cope with change. (Isaiah 41:10)
Only now is man’s world of science beginning to fully realize the effect of physical and mental abuse on the genes. These triggers can quickly create epigenetic changes like DNA methylation. Not only does this affect human development, but disease and behavior. The interaction between genes, the physical world and the spiritual determines stress resistance, risk and causes for disease or on the flip side, the healing of disease and all number of societal maladies. Even scientists grasp the idea that disease can be reversed, but of course, they are looking at environmental and pharmaceutical approaches. Genuine Christians have a real provision available: the full force of Father YHWH’s Holy Spirit behind them with the covenant of prayer. The epigenome that science talks about is simply the physical expressive connection, a tool that is affected easily and directly by YHWH’s Spirit, coupled your repentant attitude and heart condition where Elohim is concerned. (John 15:10, 14; 2 Timothy 2:15; Acts 2:42; “Wavering Between Two Opinions“; “YHWH: The Choice to Stay Loyal“; “Your Health: Epigenetics and You“)
How you respond to stress and what you do about stress is up to you.
As you begin to seek healing, you will need to claim your personal pace of life, your own natural walk. You cannot be the ‘yes man’ that the world seeks to take advantage of. You must learn to set boundaries and make decisions that enable you to heal your life. You may need to lower your ‘standard of living’ or ‘expectations’ so that you can reap fulfillment in life by focusing on what YHWH wants you to do. (John 6:27; James 1:5-8, 4:14; “Spiritual Warfare: “Genetics” That Rule Your Life“)
Learn to express yourself without fearing others. Learn to lean on your Heavenly Father. Remember that you put on your own chains through strongholds of the mind and heart. While most people look to a human counselor for assistance, may we remind you that you have a divine Counselor, if you are willing to employ Him. (John 14:16-17, 26, 15:26, 16:13; 1 Corinthians 15:33; Ephesians 4:30; James 4:3; Romans 6:6)
Learn to ask for what you need. (Matthew 7:7-12, 21:22; 1 John 1:9)
As a child, it is usually easy to ask for what you want to start with. Through disappointment and rejection, the child grows up, no longer asking for what is needed or wanted. The child becomes alienated, searching for anything that will fill the gap in his heart. In the same way, culture often demands that you must be superhuman despite your circumstances or your upbringing. Culture may even claim that anyone can have success and prosperity. In this way, you become alienated from what is truly important in life. You distance yourself from others. Remember that those around you are not mind readers and your refusal to ask (or instead learning to demand) undermines relationships. This conflict alone is enough to send you into years of diminished well-being or ruination. Disease and illness can easily be your constant companion when you are under constant stress. Contrary to popular sources of information, control is not the answer to stress. Control creates more stress as it turns you into just another idol in your life. (Matthew 7:13-23; Luke 16:13; John 10:10; “Secession of the Heart“; “Start Overcoming Child Abuse“; “The Basics of Strongholds & Idolatry“)
Consult scripture. Bring your concerns to YHWH in prayer and look to the Holy Spirit for answers. Put your need before your Heavenly Father first. When you need help from others, remember to ask respectfully and honestly. Be open to ideas that agree with scripture and stay away from those ideas that don’t. Learn to listen instead doing all the talking. Don’t rush, but be prepared to wait. (James 1:23-25; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 Corinthians 6:11)
Learn to say no. While this can be difficult, saying ‘no’ is essential. You can’t be all things to all people. Pleasing people without bringing your Heavenly Father into the mix is dangerous to you and turns others into idols. (Matthew 5:37, 23:28; Ephesians 4:25; Jeremiah 17:5-8; Proverbs 29:25)
Take regular breaks. Take time to relax and remember to use your prayer closet, a place of quiet and peace, at least daily. (Matthew 6:6; Ephesians 6:18; John 15:4; Jude 1:21)
Refuse to judge others. This presents new opportunities for friendship, as well as better health for you. This also protects you from your own judgment. Be realistic. (Matthew 7:1-5; 1 John 1:8; James 4:7)
Forgive others whether they forgive you or not. The law of forgiveness is vital to understand and employ in your life in order for you to prosper. The lack of forgiveness can only lead to bitterness and destruction. (Matthew 6:14-15; Mark 11:25; Luke 17:3-4; Colossians 3:13; 1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
Remember that you don’t need to worry, fret or fear. Plan ahead when it makes sense, but don’t let your planning get out of hand. Change how you react. (Matthew 6:25-34; Luke 10:41-42; Philippians 4:6; 1 John 4:18; Proverbs 12:25)
Refuse to be taken over by negative thinking and a defeated mentality. Learn to communicate effectively with others. Build relationships and don’t tear them down. Share with others and enjoy their company. Don’t waste your undue energy on negative people. (Matthew 6:7, 28:19-20; Luke 6:48; 1 Peter 2:1-25; 1 Timothy 2:8; Jeremiah 29:11)
Find YHWH’s direction in your life and pursue His righteousness without apology. Simplify your life and rediscover what is important. Don’t compare your life with the lives of others. (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Psalm 46:10; Isaiah 59:2)
Live in the now as you take each day for what it is. Don’t concern yourself with small matters. Learn how to cultivate joy. (Romans 14:17; Galatians 5:22; “Living in the Now“)
Spend your time on what is most important instead of being distracted. Don’t take on viewpoints of the world. (Romans 12:1-2; Hebrews 13:5)
Learn to be gentle with yourself as you learn about yourself, what you really need, and as you develop a closer relationship with YHWH. (Proverbs 15:1-5; 22:1; Psalm 37:28)
Don’t allow pain and suffering to rule your life. (James 1:3-4, 3:16, 5:13, 15; 2 Corinthians 1:4)
Take better care of your physical health while addressing your spiritual health. Get enough sleep and don’t overwork yourself. Learn about better eating habits and be cautious of drugs. Stay as active as possible. Exercise to keep your temple healthy and functional. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 10:31; Proverbs 3:24, 4:8; Genesis 1:29)
Don’t allow rituals that are cast in stone and don’t let rituals become your gods. Follow scripture instead. (Matthew 23:23; Luke 18:9-14; Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 4:22-24; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Psalm 9:9)
Enjoy pet therapy by adopting a friend for life. Pets are known life savers where stress and unease are concerned. (Proverbs 12:10; Job 12:7-10; Deuteronomy 22:4; Exodus 23:5)
Sing praise and make a joyful noise. (Hebrews 13:15; Psalm 19:1, 98:1-9; 100:1-5, 109:30, 150:1-6; Isaiah 25:1)
Epigenetic changes can be and often are changed or reversed through matters of prayer and the heart. However, even profound changes for the better can be very temporary if the heart motivation is not changed or if the same patterns of environment, conduct and spirit continue that brought about the crisis in health. In other words, you and I have a fundamental spiritual and physical law at work through the Holy Spirit that can heal indefinitely. The Bible speaks of the power of the Holy Spirit, the importance of repentance or turning aside from the past along with the law of forgiveness. All of this has spiritual and physical effects over time. These contribute or detract from the abundant life that Father YHWH wants you to accept. Through the dynamic of prayer and the spoken word, disciples of the Messiah can expect healing that works with their trust. (Matthew 10:1, 18:18-20; James 5:14-16; 1 Peter 2:24; 2 Corinthians 10:4-5; Psalm 103:3; Jeremiah 17:14, 30:17)
In essence, when you give place to the devil, you give permission for demonic dark forces to flip your switches in a very real way. The result to you is devastating all the same! Conditioned thinking and thought processes further cement the result of disease. With the help of the Holy Spirit, attitudes, thinking and thought processes can counter disease and ill effects with life changing healing. (John 8:44; 1 Peter 5:8; 1 John 3:8; 2 Corinthians 11:14; Proverbs 3:7-8, 4:20-23; “Family Stress Affects Generations“; “News: The Truth About Genes & Science“)
Heart motivation is important in the process of life and living. With a lack of forgiveness or lack of love, you can undo almost any beneficial result or blessing, if you recognize such a result at all. A hardened heart will prohibit you from seeing what would otherwise be spiritually obvious. The world lacks discernment. Spiritual captives have become so conditioned with the idea of reward or punishment through performance, that seeking first YHWH’s Kingdom with all things being added seems highly improbable. (Matthew 6) The kingdom of darkness expects immediate results of reward or punishment based on selfishness. As disciples of the Messiah, we are willing wait patiently, knowing that in His time, all things foretold will come to be. Like the 10 wise virgins, we are holding up our lighted lamps to illuminate the darkness. (Matthew 13:23. 25:1-13; Luke 8:15; Mark 4:3-9; John 15:1-27; James 1:21; Galatians 5:1, 6:7; Proverbs 4:23; “The Disciple and Hell: The Parables of Matthew 25“)