How Do I Deal With Everyday Problems?
By Joe Keim
March 1, 2011
God has given us specific information on how to handle the difficulties of life. All believers are surrounded by persons, places, events, situations and problems. As we live and move among people and problems, God has told us what we should be doing.
Instead of coming to God with our problem, we often get caught up with the problem and caught up in the problem. Just as with a tornado, we allow the problem to suck us up into itself and we are overwhelmed by it. We get overly and excessively concerned about someone (spouse, parent, in-law, child), about some place (home, work, church) or about something (a problem at home, an illness, the loss of a friend, etc.). All of our efforts and energies are concentrated and focused on that one problem to the neglect of the whole situation.
Please take a look at the black dot on the sheet of paper:
The spot is quite easy to see on the white background. It stands right out. If you were to hold it up to someone and say, "What do you see?" s/he would probably say, "I see an ink spot!" But the spot is only one small part of that sheet of paper. There is much more than just a spot. The problem is that we tend to see only the spot and nothing else, and the little spot becomes bigger and bigger to us.
How many people live on your road? Entire county? Your state? How does this number compare to 6.3 billion people in the world today? Is not the number of people who live on your road a tiny speck compared to the whole?
Is there a problem in your home with your family? How many homes and families are there in the world? Was an unkind word spoken to you today? How does that compare with all the words spoken all around the world? Was an unfriendly look sent your way? What is that compared to all the many unpleasant looks worldwide? When we begin to see the whole picture, then our little problem is only a very tiny speck!
The problem is that I can so easily get all wrapped up with ME, MYSELF and I, and I forget that there is something more than ME, MYSELF and I. It is always "my church, my opinion, my schedule, my spouse, my parents, my grandmother, my soap, my bed, my letter, my trip in the buggy, my ________________, and my _________________."
The world is more than just ME! It is BIG and IMMENSE and your part of the whole is but a tiny little microscopic speck! Instead of looking at only one piece of the puzzle, we must learn to look at the WHOLE PICTURE, which is made up of thousands of pieces.
For example, you may receive a letter in the mail, which to you may seem like the most important event in the world! This letter totally occupies your mind so that there is no room for anything else. It is all you think of and you lose your proper perspective. The whole world becomes ONE BIG LETTER IN THE MAIL! If someone were to ask, "What's going on today in the world?" you would immediately cry out, "I RECEIVED A LETTER!" A very minor event (compared to the whole) has now become a very major event, and that letter becomes the only thing you see. We do this all the time with many different things.
And when this happens...
- I lose my confidence in God. My problem has become very big and my God has become very small.
- I lose the confession of my lips. I can no longer say, "For this I have Jesus!" It is not on my lips and it is not in my heart. All I can say is, "My problem has me!"
- I lose my peace and joy and replace it with worry and fear.
- My physical health could suffer because even my physical system may be affected by how I handle or fail to handle my problems.
God meant us to face reality and solve problems. The spot on the paper is very real and must be faced. But the danger comes when we get too close to the problem and lose our perspective and fail to see the whole picture. My whole life is not one letter, one boss, one spouse, one twenty dollar bill, one weekend, etc. My situation, problem, event, or crisis is only one tiny part of my life.
Often an event passes in time but not in mind. We cannot or will not stop thinking about it, and thus we are unprepared for the next moment of time. ----A boy buried his dead cat and then every day he dug it up to see how it was doing! We often do the same thing with yesterday's events and problems.
For the rest of this article, I would like to take a look at several different examples of people in the Bible who became wrongly focused on ONE THING, and how that ended up affecting their lives in a painful way; oftentimes, it also affected other people's lives who were totally innocent.
The first example is found in 1 Kings, chapter 21, where the Bible tells us of a king that wanted his neighbor's vineyard so badly that he couldn't think of anything else. All he could think of, day after day, was the ONE THING he did not have - his neighbor's vineyard.
What makes this story in first Kings even more strange is that King Ahab owned many vineyards in his kingdom. The truth be told, the King had pretty much everything he could ever want in life. He had fame. He had fortune. And he, most likely, had more possessions than anybody else in the kingdom. It is probably fair to say that he had more stuff than anybody else in the whole land of Israel. But the ONE THING he did not have was the vineyard that belonged to his neighbor Naboth. All he could think of was the ONE VINEYARD he did not have.
Let's read the story, and then I would like to make a few simple comments. Oh, and while reading it, let's not point fingers at the King, but rather, let's look at ourselves and be reminded that we have probably done the very same thing, even as adults.
1 Kings 21:1-4
And it came to pass after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel...
And [King] Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house: and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seem good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money.
And Naboth said to Ahab, The LORD forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee.
And Ahab came into his house heavy and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him: for he had said, I will not give thee the inheritance of my fathers. And he laid him down upon his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no bread.
Wow! What a silly story! Have you ever heard of such a miserable story? The King did not get the ONE THING he wanted. So what does he do-he lays on the bed, buries his face in his pillow and refuses to eat.
Wouldn't you agree, most children, if they acted like this, would have received a spanking and been told to grow up.
You may also be thinking along the lines that I am-"how in the world did such a big baby ever become a king?"
But the story does not stop there. As you will see here in a minute, because the King was not able to get his mind off the ONE THING, it caused other innocent lives to be hurt forever.
We are told in verse 5 that his wife Jezebel came into the bedroom and asked the king, "Why is thy spirit so sad, that thou eatest no bread?"
The king replied to her, "because Naboth refuses to give me his vineyard-I tried to pay him money and he still refuses. I also tried to exchange a vineyard with him and he continues to refuse to give in"
His wife, Jezebel, said to him, don't you worry, I will get you that vineyard. And in verse 9-12, we are told that Naboth was set up to look as if he blasphemed against God and the king. And in the end, he was stoned to death. Yes! Killed because the king could not get his mind off the ONE THING.
The Bible says in chapter 21:16, And it came to pass, when Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, that Ahab rose up to go down to the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, to take possession of it.
Before we say too much, let's take a few minutes and look into our own life. How many times have we done something similar to what the king did? Oh, maybe not to this extent, but ... Sure we have! Probably more often than we would want to believe. And when we do get so focused on the ONE THING in our life, we hardly ever hurt just ourselves, we also hurt our loved ones who are totally innocent by-standers.
Ok, let's shift gears here and look at some other stories in the Old Testament where certain people became so focused on ONE THING that it got them and many others in trouble.
For instance, think about Samson. Samson was a strong man who was born for the very purpose of delivering the Israelites from the Philistines. And we are told in the Bible that in order for Samson to become strong, and stay that way, he could never cut his hair, touch a dead body or drink of the vine.
Samson grew into adulthood and eventually we get to the saddest part of Samson's life. It's the part where Samson laid eyes on a Philistine woman one day and from thereon he could NOT get his mind off of her. All he could think about was the ONE THING he wanted more than anything else in life.
In Judges 14:2 we are told that Samson came to his father and mother and told them what he had in mind:
And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife.
When his parents heard about the woman, they warned him NOT to marry her but he would not listen.
You see, Samson was in the very same predicament that King Ahab was -all he could think of was how beautiful she looked and how badly he wanted to be her husband.
Long story short, the day came when his Philistine wife answered Samson's riddle, and that in turn, led her to cut his hair. And from that moment on, Samson lost all his strength and his eyes were eventually cut out. But that is not all the pain and suffering it brought; as a result of his marrying into the Philistine religion, many innocent lives suffered and died.
I can't help but wonder, had Samson known the outcome, would he have been able to let go of the ONE THING on his mind?
Is there something in your life that you are hanging onto? Possibly, your most trusted friends have informed you that you need to let go and move on, but you have told yourself, I can't.
You have told yourself over and over again that nothing else in life really matters except the ONE THING you are hanging onto. And you are willing to lose friends and family members, if that is what it takes. In fact, you have told yourself, "I will do whatever and anything that is necessary to NOT let go of it."
Well it is quite possible that you may very well regret not letting go, particularly if your family and friends have advised you to do so.
Let's look at another story in the Bible that goes right along with the stories of King Ahab and Samson. It's the story about Adam and Eve. God told Adam that he could eat from EVERY tree in the garden except ONE.
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it...
Did God make Himself clear enough? Most certainly He did, because later on he informed Eve about it too.
However, we are told in Genesis 3:1 that the devil came along in the form of a serpent and had a meeting with Adam's wife, Eve.
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
And just like Eve, when the Devil comes along to tempt us, we sort of hang around and chit chat with him. We tell ourself, "surely I am strong enough to handle anything that comes my way!"
May I remind you that the Bible is clear about trusting in your own heart. Proverbs 28:26 says, "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool..."
But none-the-less, Eve hung around and carried on a conversation with the Devil.
In the next two verses, Eve is going to tell the Devil that she and Adam are allowed to eat from ALL the trees in the garden EXCEPT the ONE which is in the middle of the garden. Let's listen in on their meeting.
And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of [all] the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
Before we go further in our story, let's take a good look at what may have been taking place at this very moment in the garden.
- It appears that Eve may NOT have been at Adam's side and was alone when the Devil approached her.
- Another thing that seems quite clear is that Eve was standing next to the forbidden fruit and may have been wondering how tasty and pleasant looking the fruit was.
Isn't it interesting how Satan always knows exactly when to come along and tempt us; he knows just when to catch us off guard.
- It happens at a time when we are walking outside God's protection.
- It happens when we are at our weakest point spiritually.
- It happens right when we are standing under our own tree of forbidden fruit.
No one knows just how much time went by after the Devil and Eve had their meeting. It could have been days and it could have been years. But one thing we do know, Eve most not have been able to get the ONE TREE out of her mind.
Again and again, she walked past the forbidden fruit, and each time she wondered to herself, "oh, if only I could have one bite?" She may have had thoughts like, "surely one bite is NOT as bad as eating the whole fruit."
The Bible tells us that the day finally came and Eve just could NOT hold back another minute.
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
Again, I would like to make a point that was already made several times before in this article. When Eve and Adam finally took of the forbidden fruit, they brought unbelievable disaster to billions and billions of innocent lives.
If only Eve could have kept her eyes and mind off of the ONE THING she was not allowed to have, then...
- Broken lives, diseases, sorrow, pain and death would never have had to happen.
- Murder, hate, cursing God, lying, cheating, homosexuality and sexual abuse would never have had to happen.
- Jesus would not have had to come and die on the cross to redeem God's creation back to Him.
- The pain of child bearing, sweat, thistles and weeds would never have been a problem.
- Millions would not have had to go into eternity and spend forever in the Lake of Fire, separated from God for all eternity.
And oh so many other terrible and evil things would never have been, IF ONLY Adam and Eve would have stayed away from the tree.
The Bible says in Romans 5:12, Wherefore, as by one man, sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Yes! Just ONE person opened the flood door for sin to com into this world. But regardless of how terrible the story sounds, there is hope.
The Bible also says that because of ONE person, Jesus Christ, we can now also be saved from our sin and from being cast into the everlasting lake of fire.
Therefore as by the offence of ONE judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of ONE, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
For as by ONE man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of ONE shall many be made righteous.
And dear reader, just like the Scripture points out, only Jesus can get us back on track and make us right with God. Nothing else can make us right.
The next portion of Scripture is one of the most welcomed and exciting passages for all of breathing man-kind. Please read carefully and understand what Almighty God is saying.
2 Corinthians 5:19-21
...God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses [sin] unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation...be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
Will you accept God's required sacrifice and payment for sin, by believing that Jesus Christ, God's only Son came and died, was buried and raised again the third day so that your sin could be paid for in full?
Just like the Scripture pointed out in Roman's 5:18, to be delivered from your sin is a free gift and does not cost you anything. All you have to do is believe it.
Since we have been talking about ONE a lot, there is ONE THING I would like to point out to you, before we end this article, and that is, the Bible does point out in two places that there is ONE THING that we should focus on.
The first one is found in Psalms and the second one is found in Philippians.
In Psalms 27:4, David writes:
ONE THING have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.
And later, in the New Testament, the Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 3:13-14:
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this ONE THING I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
-- Joe Keim
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