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How Do Gentleness and Humility Reduce Stress?
By Rick Warren

“Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29 (NIV)

No matter what part of the world you’re reading this from today, it’s likely you’re living in a culture that’s stressed out. This is not anything new. People have always dealt with stress.

In the book of Job, the main character experienced one source of stress after another. Eventually Job said, “If my misery could be weighed, if you could pile the whole bitter load on the scales, it would be heavier than all the sand of the sea! Is it any wonder that I’m howling like a caged cat?” (Job 6:2-3 The Message).

Have you ever felt like Job, as if you were carrying all the sand of the sea on your shoulders? Have you wanted to just howl like a cat trapped in a cage?

There’s only one place to go for relief from stress like that: Jesus. He tells his followers, “Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29 NIV).

What can you learn from Jesus Christ that will lower the stress in your life? Gentleness and humility.

But you may be saying, “Wait a minute! Why didn’t Jesus say, ‘I’ll teach you endurance and stamina,’ or ‘I’ll teach you confidence and courage’? That would make more sense.”

But Jesus knows things like courage and endurance ultimately aren’t what you need to lower your stress. You need gentleness and humility—and he wants you to learn them from him.

Why gentleness and humility? You probably don’t realize it, but the two biggest causes of stress in your life are aggression and arrogance—and gentleness and humility are the antidotes to those two things.

Aggression happens when you do things too quickly. You don’t wait. You don’t ponder. You don’t delay. You don’t think it through. You don’t trust God’s guidance and direction. You just jump in with both feet. As a result, you get overcommitted, and you fill up your life with the wrong things.

Arrogance is the idea that you know what’s best for you, so you try to control everything in your life. You think you can handle things better than God can. But that that attitude creates a great deal of stress in your life.

The truth is, when you try to do it all, have it all, be it all, and experience it all, the results are aggression and arrogance. And their opposites—their antidotes—are gentleness and humility.

You’ve tried everything else to reduce your stress. Why don’t you try trusting God? Come to Jesus. Give up control, and let him teach you how to live with less stress and more gentleness and humility.

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This devotional © 2018 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

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