Summary: How to handle those emotional meltdowns in life.
Meltdown: Imminent 4-30-06
“Stop Foolin’ Yourself” Series James 1:2-12
Intro. Have you ever felt like you’re on the verge of an emotional meltdown? Your life is a mess, your circumstances are out of control and if you could design your own tee shirt it would read, “Meltdown: Imminent”. That imminent meltdown may be due to the fact that your kids are driving you crazy. Or it might have something to do with your health or finances. Some of you are ready to explode because of a situation at work, or some lingering illness. Others of you are ready to give up because you’re battling depression or struggling with some sort of loss. If the truth were known, most of us are a single circumstance away from a complete meltdown. That’s why I love the book of James. It’s got the answers we’re looking for. It is a quick, concise, practical handbook on how to live successfully in the midst of a world that’s gone crazy.
V.1 tells us that James wrote this book for the sake of those xians who were scattered all over the world. History tells us that these xians were persecuted and forced out of their homeland. That meant they were struggling with finding new jobs, making new friends, learning a different language and trying to find a whole new sense of security. To put it simply, many of these xians were on the verge of an emotional meltdown. James recognized that they needed 2 basic things, the encouragement to continue living for Christ and some instruction on how to do it.
For the next couple of months we’re going to investigate what James told these xians and then see how that same message can be applied to our lives. We’ve decided to call the series, “Stop Foolin’ Yourself” because of what James says in 1:22. “God’s Word is a message to obey, not just to listen to. If you don’t obey, you are only fooling yourself.” Now listen to me carefully. James says it is possible to hear God’s word on a regular basis, to read it, to know it, to teach it and yet still not obey it. To those people the bible says, you’re fooling yourself, you are playing a game and it’s a game that you can’t possible win. Now when it comes to troubles, trials, tribulations, heartaches and headaches that’s where we find many people playing a game with God’s word. They know what it says, but they are unwilling to apply it to their lives and therefore they’re destined to go through an unending series of meltdowns. So how do we stop this cycle of meltdowns? We do exactly what James says – we not only hear God’s word, but we do it, we not only listen to what the Spirit says, but we apply that truth to our life’s.
The first step to conquering an emotional meltdown is to
I. Face the reality of troubling times.
Wouldn’t it be great if there were a secret formula that would guarantee you the ability to live a life that was trouble free? Imagine the money you could make off such a formula? But guess what? There’s no such thing! James reminds us that trials and troubles; heartaches and headaches and every other kind of ache are inevitable in this life. Notice what he doesn’t say it in v.2 – he doesn’t say “If” trouble comes your way then you’re supposed to act this way. But rather he says “whenever” trouble comes your way. That simple little word means that regardless of who you are, how rich you might be, how well connected you feel, how good a life you live or how often you go to church – you will have times of trouble in this lifetime! Coming to grips with the reality that trouble is a normal and natural part of this life is an important key in handling the circumstances that threaten you with an emotional meltdown.
The bible says there are 2 kinds of circumstances that threaten our emotional stability; we call them trials and temptations. It is important for us to distinguish trials from temptations. Now here’s the rub – the bible uses the same word to talk about each of these circumstances. So how do we know whether it’s a trial or a temptation? We look at the source and the purpose. Every temptation originates in the heart of our ancient enemy, the devil; he’s the source of all temptation. Satan’s singular purpose for every temptation is simple – to cause you and me to sin, to drive a wedge between you and God. On the other hand, trials or what James calls troubles in v.2 originate in the heart of God. God’s purpose for allowing troubles to enter our life is not to harm us but to draw us closer to himself and in the process to mature us in our faith. So when James says, “whenever trouble comes your way” he’s not talking about temptation, but trials. You need to understand that God has a purpose for the troubles you’re experiencing right now! And that purpose is uniquely related to your spiritual maturity and to a new closeness with God.