Stress Test

A stress test, also called an exercise stress test, shows how your heart works during physical activity. Because exercise makes your heart pump harder and faster, an exercise stress test can reveal problems with blood flow within your heart. A stress test usually involves walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike your heart rhythm, blood pressure and breathing are monitored. Or you’ll receive a drug that mimics the effects of exercise. Whichever way it is done, the issue is how strong is your heart?

Jesus was under a lot of stress. For forty days he was in the wilderness alone, tempted by Satan. The Gospels tell us that immediately after his baptism, the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tested. Whether Jesus knew what was awaiting or not, we do not know. Jesus was hungry and tired from fasting when the devil tempted Jesus to abandon God’s plan for his life and to take matters into his own hands. Three times Satan sought to derail God’s plan for Jesus’ life by tempting Jesus to choose an easier path. Yet, with each temptation, Jesus stood firm in his conviction that he would be faithful to God’s will, even if doing so would me suffering to accomplish it. 

As followers of Jesus, we too encounter the same temptation to choose other than God’s will for our lives. From the first couple in the Garden of Eden to the present, Satan tempts us to forsake God’s will for our lives and to chart our own course a part from God’s influence. More often than not, we fall for the lie, and seek to live our lives on our own terms. Yet, our track record is not too great when it comes to choosing to live apart from God. One read of a daily newspaper will remind us of the mess we make when we succumb to Satan’s message of going it alone.

This is not a one and done decision. Every day, indeed, every moment, we have to choose to live out God’s will and reject the temptation to live otherwise. When the people of Israel were about to enter The Promised Land for the very first time, Joshua challenged them in Joshua 24:14 with these words: “Choose this day whom you will serve. God will not impose his will on anyone. Each person is given the freedom to choose and make this decision on their own. Jesus would be faithful to God’s will his entire life. Indeed, Jesus is the only one to ever get it completely right. 

However, even though we daily stumble in our sinfulness, we must continue to seek to live out God’s will for our lives. Some days we will get it right and other days we will fall woefully short. Yet, even in our falling, God’s grace will continue to give us the opportunity to choose his will again. So, on the days we fall short we ask for forgiveness and try it again. The key is to never give up trying. Each moment we can decide whom we will serve. Choosing God’s way can be stressful at times, but in the long run it will make all the difference in our lives, for now and for eternity. A heart anchored in Jesus Christ will stand the stresses of living in this world with its myriad of temptations because when our hearts are in Jesus Christ, then God’s grace will flow through our veins.

Published by Dr. Philip W. Turner

Since 1991 I have had the joy of serving as Pastor of Pine Street Baptist Church in the community of Oregon Hill in Richmond, Virginia. The people I have met a long the way have inspired me in my daily ministry. I have truly been blessed.

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