Pressure, the expectations of others, increased responsibility, and being outside our comfort zone are some of the reasons for us to experience tension, inner turmoil, churning in our spirit, worry and a lack of peace. This is when we really need to guard our reactions because our self is not being ministered to (receiving attention). As interpersonal relationships can suffer, and become strained, be generous with forgiveness and tolerance.
When I am afraid [stressed], I will trust in you – Psalm 56:3
me free for He is my helper” (Ps 118:5-7). As we commit our way to God a true perspective is gained and I can say “My times are in His hands” and I am confident that what I have committed to Him He is well able to preserve (Ps 31:15, 37:5; Prov 3:5,6; 2 Tim 1:12).
Tension is often the result of trying to achieve something without consciously including God on our team. Trust in God, for those who hope in Him will rise above the pressures; the Bible declares, “You will keep in perfect peace those who trust you, because their mind is steadfastly focused on you” (Isa 26:3, Isa 40:31; Lam 3:25,26; Rom 15:13; 2 Thes 3:16).
There is often stress from conflict between good and evil, yet this tension should press us closer into God for His release (Rom 7:14-23). Don’t try to carry your burdens alone. Jesus gives the invitation “Come to me and I will give you rest” while Peter reinforces it with, “Cast your cares on God” (Ps 55:22; Mt 11:28-30; 1 Pet 5:7). It is for us to involve Him; He won’t force Himself into our situation or assume control without our permission.
Tension should be released in an appropriate way and certainly without physical or verbal abuse. Begin by confronting and constructively addressing the problem. Then be proactive in finding solutions to solve the crisis and try to implement procedures and planning to prevent similar occurrences in the future as prior planning, including possible scenarios when things might not go according to plan, will eliminate many stresses. Often just taking the first steps and beginning a potentially stressful task will help to reduce the anxiety as all your mental capacity will then be focused on the actual task, not worrying about the possible problems.
Engaging in a wholesome physical activity is a good way to reduce tension, calm the nerves and gain a true perspective on the situation. So, too, is praying and entrusting the outcomes to our God who is able to do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine (Eph 3:20).
2/. Biblical tension
Search for the true truth
can be no ultimate conflict and an attempt must be made to resolve the apparent conflicts with a healthy balance, and appreciation of the complete picture. The contrasting passages provide far deeper insights and a complete understanding of biblical truth that is rarely valid in isolation; a statement being true in its relationship to other truths and less than true when separated from them. Fixated on only one viewpoint or attempting to remove all of the uncomfortable tensions in the Christian faith, will end in error. Strive to find the true Godly balance.
However, there is no opportunity for opposing viewpoints on the fundamentals of Biblical truth (such as in the Apostle’s creed). Some of the clear foundational non-negotiable truths that do not have another angle supported by Scripture include: the need for repentance and the requirement to live a godly life; salvation can’t be earned (it is only because of the blood of Christ); eternal blessing of those who are believers; eternal doom of those who reject the only means of salvation.
Many of the other doctrines produce controversy, and have birthed denominations that celebrate many unique distinguishing perspectives while all claiming to soundly teach the same Word of God. Adherents hold to certain ‘positions’ which they believe to be ‘sounder’ yet unfortunately have been the cause of division with believers trampling on each other and defaming the Name of Christ.
Some examples of tension within Christianity are between:
* God’s sovereignty and human responsibility. God works all things work together for good, for those who love Him (Rom 8:28). Thus it seems logical He’ll work out everything for my good, no matter what I do yet other verses speak of our duty to “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12,13). This clearly speaks of our putting effort into living for the Lord and obeying His commands – His sovereignty and us working together (1 Pet 2:22).
* Lovingly confronting sin in another and when we should overlook it, while praying the Holy Spirit will bring conviction (Prov 19:11; Mt 18:15-17; 1 Pet 4:8). Some consider if it is a major spiritual matter that is forbidden in Scripture this needs addressing, but if it is something that the Bible is not specifically clear about (a matter of conscience) or against us personally consider it as an opportunity for our flesh to die.
* Our positional sanctification, how God sees us through the blood of Christ as a saint and the daily experience where we are sinner in the process of transformation (1 Cor 1:2, 6:11; 1 Thes 5:23; 1 Jn 1:9). In reality we are both new creatures in Christ and still imperfect sinners in a lifelong struggle with the flesh (Rom 7:15-21, 8:13; 2 Cor 5:17). We await our glorification and the destruction of our sinful natures.
Our response to these and other issues is we should strive to know and follow the unbiased truth of God’s Word, maintaining a strong, Biblically sound and balanced position in our theology, without discrediting other believers who hold different viewpoints. Regardless of our doctrinal stand, we must show honour and respect while desiring to be true to God’s Word – individually and corporately within our Church. Our prayer should be, may the Lord give us wisdom and grace in “rightly dividing the Word of Truth” (2 Tim 2:15).