The challenges of life come to all of us. Like it or not, you will deal with pressures and obstacles that are uncomfortable, stressful, and at times, extremely painful. I speak from experience. And during these times, even if you are trying to remain strong spiritually and soldier on, your soul, which is made up of your mind, will, and emotions, as well as your body, may become drained to the point where like the apostle Paul, you begin to feel that your life is hopeless.
“For we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about the affliction and oppressing distress which befell us in [the province of] Asia, how we were so utterly and unbearably weighed down and crushed that we despaired even of life [itself].” 2 Corinthians 1:8 AMP
You and I are made by God as three-part beings. You are a spirit, you possess a soul, and you live in a body (see 1 Thessalonians 5:23). And this is why for us to be truly effective in carrying out God’s plan for our life, we must be strong in every realm of our being. So, when you are in stress overload, or when it feels like your entire world is coming apart, I can promise you that you will need to deal with all three areas of your life, and deal with them according to the scriptures to make it through the tough times.
“Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts.” Jeremiah 15:16 NASU
What many people do when they are dealing with pressure is attempt to live on the Word they fed on last week, or last month, or even last year. But doing that won’t work physically, and I can promise you it won’t work spiritually either. I cannot stress this enough: You must have time to feed on God’s Word regularly, even in the worst of times, or you just won’t make it. As valuable as proper nutrition is to your body, the Word of God is even more valuable to your spirit (see Job 23:12).
Imagine going on a road trip, traveling to a specific destination but never stopping for gas along the way. Even if you are dealing with the most difficult time in your life and you just aren’t in the mood to stop for fuel, filling the car’s tank with gas still isn’t an option. Eventually, your car is going to run out of gas and your journey will end right where it does, making matters even worse when this happens.
This may seem obvious, but when it comes to feeding themselves spiritually, everyone doesn’t seem to know this, or there wouldn’t be so many weak and defeated Christians as there are. The Word of God refreshes your spirit and it produces joy in your heart.
“He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself….” 1 Corinthians 14:4a KJV
Your spirit man is built up and strengthened when you spend time praying in the Spirit. And praying in the Spirit will build you up spiritually so that you can effectively use your faith (see Jude 20). And then according to what the Lord spoke through the prophet Isaiah about the church age, praying in the Spirit is something God gave us to provide our spirit with rest and refreshment (see Isaiah 28:11-12). This is something you cannot do without during the difficult seasons of life.
Now what about your soul? When you are dealing with tough times your soul can get discouraged. And discouragement is like poison coursing through your system. It will alter your outlook, cause you to question God and wonder if He has abandoned you. And then some people even begin to talk against their leadership and the people who have laid down their lives to minister to them when discouragement sets in (see Numbers 21:4-5). During the battles of life, you must allow the Lord to restore your soul.
“1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Psalm 23:1-3 KJV
Just like with our money, our soul can be spent and completely used up from all of the stress and pressure we are facing. In other words, during the tough times, you spend your emotions and you spend your thoughts and ideas until your soul is drained and emptied out, and it must be restored. Our soul becomes restored as we rest and feed in God’s green pastures and beside His still waters. If you don’t stop and rest, you can’t get your soul restored.
“The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” Psalm 19:7 NASU
God’s Word will restore your soul if you determine to have some quiet time with Jesus, reading and meditating and speaking what the Bible says.
When you are living in a pressure cooker, your body is going to need some help, too. And this is an often-ignored area of our three-part being, especially during life’s tough times. Without proper nutrition, quality sleep and some calming rest, your body can begin to break down and become sick, especially when you are constantly on edge because of your troubles and difficulties.
I’ve noticed with most people, including myself, that when I am under pressure I feel as if I need to be up doing something. It’s as if being still for a bit to refresh my body is a violation of some kind. But that is foolish. And the truth is, when I am resting I am doing something. And I am doing something that will help me win, because a time of rest keeps me fresh so that I will have more energy to tackle the problems of life.
Taking care of your spirit, soul and body according to the scriptures, is the only way possible to get through life’s tough times.