Our society has placed so many demands on us, which has caused us to make a variety of decisions to meet those demands. This can lead to higher levels of tension and stress. In many of these instances, God is not making any of these demands. As a result, this tension causes us to lose the joy and the pleasure of living. (Philippians 4:4-5; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Society demands that we must all be a certain size. It demands the kind of clothes we must wear just to fit in. It also responds to us in a certain manner if we are the minority or the majority, Democrat or Republican, tall or short, rich or poor, married or single, educated or uneducated. We can have a car that may be old but drives well, but we become embarrassed and unhappy because it is not the latest model.  It is not that we cannot experience joy, because we are blessed with all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:3), but it is the external pressures that are determined by the world that block our internal joy from being experienced each day.

According to the Chicago Tribune, on Monday, August 26, 1996, tragedy struck a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, family. Two boys found their twelve-year-old brother Samuel dead in their yard. He hung himself from a tree. Beneath the tree were a step stool and a flashlight.

There was little mystery about what had provoked Samuel to end his life. Samuel was overweight, and this would have been his first day at a new school. He told his family that he was nervous about going to school because he was afraid of the teasing that would likely come from the other children.

This child did not die because he went to war, developed cancer, was serving the Lord in an uncivilized village, and was killed, but he died because he was overweight. Societal pressure so dominates us that enjoying the life God provides can easily be erased. The Bible says, “…I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14) Luke 12:22-23; 25-26 states; “And He said to His disciples, “For this reason, I say to you, do not be anxious for {your} life, {as to} what you shall eat; nor for your body, {as to} what you shall put on.  For life is more than food, and the body than clothing. And which of you by being anxious can add a {single} cubit to his life’s span? If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why are you anxious about other matters?”  The only pressure we should be experiencing should be from the molding done by the hands of the Potter (from His pruning) (Jeremiah 18:4-6), so we bear the fruit of life that He provides (John 10:10; 15:1-5; Hebrews 12:7-11). This process is a lighter yoke than the damage the world does to our lives (Matthew 11:28-30).

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