- You realize you locked your keys in the car, panic sets it, you are going to be late, how could you have done this . . . but then you notice a window is rolled down.
- You fought hard, but lost in the end. If only you had been stronger, if only you had prepared better . . . but then you wake up. It was only a dream.
- The police car that is following you and has been for the last 3 miles, turns on . . . the street you just passed.
There are some stressful moments in life, but thankfully, there are also moments of relief. I am certain that you, like me, have experience with tense situations. The more tense, the closer the deadline, brings greater stress and likewise a greater sense of relief when the moment passes.
Considering all the stressful moments of life we will find few that carry the same weight of stress as the spiritual ones. Spiritual stress includes psychological stress, emotional stress, and often physical stress. The greatest spiritual stress is realizing a spiritual separation from God.
“Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.” Isa 59:1-2
In the second chapter of Acts Peter preached a sermon to the very people who were present at the persecution nd crucifixion of the Christ. When they heard Peter speak reminding them of their role, Luke records their stress, “Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Acts 2:37
They were experiencing the same terrible moment many of us have. They realized they had sinned and knew they were spiritually in trouble with God. Exasperated, the asked the question, “What shall we do?!?” Is there any hope for relief? Is this our eternal crime we carry to the judgment seat of God? Can what we have done be undone? What can we do?
Peter answers, “Repent and be baptized (immersed) every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38 There was their hope. What a sense of relief this answer brought!
To know we are not right with Good brings an incredible burden of stress, yet God offers relief. If we are willing to follow God, we will experience a moment of pure elation and relief as we die to self, by faith are buried with Christ in baptism, and rise from that burial as He did from the grave to a new life as a new person, free from the sins that created that stress.
Will you live free in Christ?