Escaping The Noose – Breathing Room Part 2

Escaping The Enemy’s Chokehold

We live in a very busy culture. A lot of people are overwhelmed, depressed, and stressed out.

Overloading A Camel

I read this about camels this week: Camels are suited to survive the harsh conditions of the desert. They can go for 10 days without water and travel up to 40 miles per hour. Camels can also carry 900 pounds of weight for 25 miles a day. Despite their ability to bear heavy loads, if just a straw is placed on a maximally loaded camel, they will collapse. The camel’s back is not broken by the straw; it is broken by the overload.

Overloading A Human Being

Almost all researchers in this field agree on two things: firstly, that all human beings are limited. Secondly, if we constantly push our limits we go into overload, overdrive, and overwhelmed which chronically destroys our relationships and our lives.

We are limited physically, in time, and with our gifts. What makes God God is that He is not limited. You are limited. A big problem in our generation today is that we have many self-help gurus who are lying to us that we should break our limits, instead of live below our limits.

Our church building has a limit on how many people can fit in it. If it is only meant to hold 200 and we cram 600 people into it, it will ruin the experience for every person.

When you live an overloaded life, it will lead to burnout. Once the threshold of your limits are exceeded, overload replaces margin.

The History Of Stress

The idea of stress did not exist until around the 1950s when the first doctor started to study this topic. Until that time, stress did not exist because we didn’t have telephones, televisions, or newspapers. This was also the time when we started having artificial light. As incredible as Thomas Edison and others discovery of electricity and the lightbulb is, what happened when when we had artificial light was we began to prolong the day artificially. We started to push further and stay up later. God is not giving us more light so we found more light. Then, came telephones, social media and everything else that has happened.

We have a world that is extremely smart in terms of technological advancements but we as humans are suffering because we are becoming machines. Some of us no longer just make machines; we have become machines.

The Difference Between Man and Machines

Machines can be turned on and off; you cannot. A machine runs on power; you run on life. Machines operate all the time; you have seasons. You cannot just have a baby because you got pregnant yesterday. You have to wait nine months and there is no pill or medicine you can take to quicken the process. Life produces life and it takes time; you cannot speed it up.

This message is going to be very practical and applicable. It is also a message I am struggling with the most. So I am not preaching my victories to you but I will share my struggles in this area as well.

Permanent Peace Comes From Walking With Jesus

This is not going to solve every problem. If your problem is demonic, please read last week’s sermon blog The Python’s Ploy. However, for many of us the problem is not demons, the problem is us – our habits, lifestyle, and decisions. If you have bad habits established in your life, you are not going to find peace permanently.

Jesus says if you are stressed out, depressed, or overwhelmed, come to Me; I will give you peace. Then, He says if you stay with Me, you will find peace. I will not longer need to give it to you because I will change the way you live, think, and behave until you ultimately, have access to this peace all the time. It is great to come to Jesus for peace but what is not okay is if we only come to Jesus repeatedly, instead of walking with Jesus to change the way we live and think. Walking with Jesus will change our pace of life, behavior, and habits so that we can constantly live in perpetual peace in the midst of chaos, have joy that is unspeakable, and peace that passes understanding and is above our comprehension.

Margins And Breathing Room

I personally struggle with the issue of having margins. Margin is having space between your limit and your load. Margin is having breathing room. It is having money at the end of the month. Having margin is going up the stairs and having breath left. That is what margin is.

Margin is not a problem to solve; it is a virtue to protect. I live my life trying to maximize my potential but God told me that He wants me to live my life protecting margin. That meant I have to keep breathing room. When you have breathing room, you make yourself available to God. When you have breathing room, you make yourself available in your time, finances, and morality. If you are constantly maxed out without breathing room, what happens is you won’t actually reach your potential, you will reach your burnout. This has been my prayer that the Lord would help me live each day with a margin.

“Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word and he becomes unfruitful.

Matthew 13:22

The Heart With No Margin

The sower is the preacher of the Word of God. The seed is Jesus, the Word of God and the four different soils in this parable are our hearts. The seed is the same but the soils are different and because the soils are different, there are different results.

What we see in the third type of soil is that it is very fertile. It is a successful soil. It is so productive that everything grows there. Some of us struggle with failure in that everything breaks but others struggle with success which can also be a problem when in everything they do flourishes and creates opportunity. This can become unhealthy and devour your margin.

When the seed gets into the soil, it has the potential to produce a harvest. It can multiply itself but the seed needs space. If the seed doesn’t have space, it cannot multiply and grow a harvest. God wants to do more with less. God wants to multiply things and to supernaturally accelerate your finances, bless your business and relationships.

/he presents His Kingdom as a seed meaning it has the supernatural ability to multiply itself if you give it margin, breathing room, and space. He needs space in our lives. We need to have breathing room. The seed cannot find space by itself; you have to create it.

The seed is so powerful but it cannot choke out the thorns and weeds; they will choke it. Weeds are all these extra things that we all have. Weeds happen when you become fertile. We are not here just to be productive as much as we are here to live for God and be fruitful.

The Blessing Of God

“The blessing of the LORD makes one rich and He adds no sorrow with it.”

Proverbs 10:22

The blessings of God will make you busy but busyness doesn’t make you blessed. You can be blessed and a little bit busy. But you can be busy and not blessed at all. That is being burdened and overwhelmed.

Blessings must have boundaries or they become burdens.

“He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me.”

Psalm 18:19

Blessings With Space

God doesn’t just want to bring you to a place where you are blessed. He wants to bring you to a place where there is space, broadness, and margin.

“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

John 15:2

Our relationships need room. Seeds need space. Blessings need boundaries. Miracles need margin. Grace has a pace to it and revival needs a rhythm.

Sometimes, we have to say, "no" to good things so that we can say, "yes" to God things. Share on X

Sometimes, we have to say no to weeds so we can say yes to a seed. At first, it doesn’t make sense to say yes to a seed. Seeds don’t grow fast. They are not boisterous or big and won’t get you a lot of likes on Instagram. Seeds multiply themselves but they cannot do that if they are not given breathing room. God cannot work in our lives unless we give Him space to.

At the beginning of the year, the Lord told me that if I walk His path, and say “Yes” when He tells me to say “Yes”, and keep margin in my schedule this year, He will surprise me with things this year that I was trying or hoping to get one day. I had been trying to get on Sid Roth’s Supernatural for the past five years once I had written my book, Break Free. I tried and nothing happened. But when I gave it up to God and said Lord, You can do more with less, He started to move and this week, I have that interview.

We want God to do more in our lives and us less. A lot of us do more and see God doing less; what God wants is the opposite. For that to happen, there has to be room.

Where We Need To Make Room

  • In our mind.
  • Our Money.
  • Our Morality.

Mind Margin

To have peace in our minds, we have to follow God’s principles from creation. That is to take one day off a week. God doesn’t get weary or tired. He does not need to take a break but He did it for the human beings to follow His pattern. This is God’s rule for life, His law. This is not something we do to go to Heaven; this is something we do so that we don’t go to Heaven too soon. We do this so we can remember we are a human being, not a human doing.

To find room in our mind, we need to take one day off a week and not work. To find room in our money, we have to spend less than we make. For us to find room in our morality, we have to not ask the question how close to the line we can get. We need to ask another question.

We Are Not Machines

Machines work all the time. But human beings were created to operate in the divine cycle of working six days and then stopping.

Every sabbath you keep keeps you. Share on X

I want you to notice in Exodus 20:8-11, God introduces the idea of a day of rest citing how He created the world in six days and rested the seventh. The fourth commandment (about keeping the Sabbath) has the most lines of instruction of all the commandments. God was so focused on that because He knows human beings can sometimes become human doings unless we stop.

In Deuteronomy, God talks about the Sabbath but He no longer mentions the precedent of creation. Instead, He talks about slavery. He reminded Israel that they were in bondage in Egypt but now, they could keep the Sabbath. When you read it, you wonder why God is referring to slavery once again. What does bondage and slavery have to do with a day off? Slaves don’t have a day off. God was telling His people they are no longer slaves. Therefore, work cannot be your taskmaster. Work is not your identity; it is a gift from God. But we need to have a day of rest after we work, because we are no longer slaves. Don’t allow your hustle, job, or dreams to become a pharaoh that drown you in the sea of stress and being overwhelmed. You drown it and rebel against the pharaoh by taking a day off.

Many of us want God to direct our steps, but God wants us to follow His stops. If we want God to order our steps, we must follow His order to stop. God wants us to stop once a week. It is so difficult to do because there is a spiritual principality that does not want us to stop.

The Sabbath is an act of resistance. It is an act of resistance against the pharaoh and his empire. The Sabbath is an insurgency and insurrection against the isms of the Western world – globalism, capitalism, materialism – all of which sound nice but quickly make slaves of the rich and poor.

Old Testament Scholars

The Sabbath is like a gorilla warfare tactic. If you want to break free from the oppressive yoke of Egypt’s task master and its restless, relentless lust for more, just take a day off each week and stick it to the man.

John Mc Cormer, Elimination Of Hurry

If We Don’t Stop, We Drop.

“To fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.”

2 Chronicles 36:21

Here, we see the insight to this story and Jeremiah’s prophecy that Israel would be in exile for seventy years. Israel was meant to keep Sabbath not only for themselves but also for the land. Israel did not do that for 490 years. Then, they were taken into exile in Babylon because they did not give the land a break as they were commanded. I wonder if everytime we don’t take a day off, we actually incur God’s judgment. I am not saying that it makes God love us less or more. Our bodies are incurring judgment.

Being under grace does not mean that we reject God’s principles and laws for living as human beings. We submit to them without making these laws something that dictates legalism. Jesus taught that if your ox fell into a ditch, you can get it out on a Sabbath. This meant, if you have emergencies, of course, you can respond to them. But many of us don’t live like that. We create emergencies on our days off.

The Lord challenged me that He wants me to treat a day off like I treat tithing. He asked me what excuse I give for not paying my tithe. I said that I could do more things with that money. But I trust that God will help me do more with 90% than I can with 100% and I never doubt it. God told me to do exactly the same thing with my time. He can do more with my six days of work than I can do with my seven days of work.

Three Things You Should Do On The Sabbath

  • Stop. Stop doing work that you get paid to do and that you don’t get paid to do, like mowing the lawn, fixing the roof, and so on. The word “Sabbath” means to stop.
  • We must enjoy ourselves. Entertainment, drinking, and binging is not enjoying, that is numbing ourselves. Go for a walk, get coffee with somebody, go for a meal. Do something that replenishes your emotional energy.
  • Contemplate God. Do something that reconnects you to God. It could be in prayer, worship or whatever the Lord leads you to do. Pull back and enjoy God’s presence. Don’t just do your Bible reading plan.

Can you do more things by working all seven days? Probably but you will die faster and you will not enjoy things. Chick-fil-A is one of the most loved fast food chains in the United States. With only being open 6 days a week, they make more money than any fast food restaurant in the United States. How can you explain that? You can’t. In the same way that you can’t explain how somebody can give 10% and still make it at the end of the month and have extra. The seed brings the harvest when you make room for the seed. God will supernaturally provide when you tithe, and He will supernaturally provide for your life when you take one day off.

Trust God with your time as you do with your tithe. Share on X

Keeping the Sabbath should be as normal as giving 10%. Tithing is giving money; taking a day off is giving time. God can do more with 90% of your work than you can with 100% of it. The Sabbath is about taking 24 hours to stop work, rest, and focus on God.

What we see today is what I call greasy grace, where anything goes and we are not under the law. No, we are not under the law but these laws still work. I am not preaching a way to get to Heaven to you. What I am preaching to you is a way to live and glorify God in a way that replenishes your health and family. The importance is not on which day but that there is a day to honor God.

Money Margin

We find breathing room by spending less money than we make. The quality of life is not always determined by the standard of life.

“And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

Luke 12:15

The standard of life is about your possessions. The quality of life is about your relationships. A lot of us don’t see an increase in our finances, so what we experience in our culture is an increase in debt. Many people increase their standard of life by increasing their debt which produces more stress. The standard of life lies to us that if you have a higher standard of life, you will enjoy a higher quality of life.

No matter where you live, your emotional well-being will be as good as it is going to get at $75,000 per year. Money is not going to make it any better beyond that point. It is like you hit some sort of ceiling and cannot get greater emotional well-being by having more money.

Dr. Angus Deaton

Quality Of Life

There might be nothing wrong with it but it is a foolish decision to live your life fully maxed out. When your spending is at the level of your income, you have no margin. If there is no margin, we have to do one of two things: increase the income or decrease the expenses. When it comes to do we buy a new car or upgrade our house, you have to ask this question – if we get that, will we still have a margin in our lives? If we will not have a margin, then God has spoken: you should not get it. What determines the standard of living is actually the quality of life which is based on relationships. What squeezes relationships is maxed out credit cards, no time off, and everybody running around like a chicken with their head cut off.

Begin to make decisions based not on just can I afford it but can I afford it and still have margin left? If you do not have a margin, it means it is not God’s blessing; it is the devil’s temptation. The Bible says the blessing of God does not add sorrow. Anything that adds a burden with a blessing might not be a blessing but a temptation. When you max out your credit cards and end up stressed at the end of the month; you dug the hole.

Save, Spend, And Sacrificially Give

When Noah took animals aboard the ark, he took 7 pairs of clean animals and 2 pairs of unclean animals. I always thought it was just one pair. This was necessary for a few reasons. Firstly, preservation. So that after everything was done, there would be enough animals to continue to populate the earth. Secondly, to eat while they were aboard the ark. The third thing Noah had clean animals for was to offer as a sacrifice. This speaks of saving, spending and sacrificially giving. This was just like money for us today.

How We Increase Our Income

Ask God. Pray like Jabez, ‘Oh Lord, enlarge my territory.” I used to argue with my wife about her spending five dollars a week on Starbucks coffee when she went to meet people during the week. I was preparing in my mind to tell her that all my financial worries would be solved by her simply not drinking that expensive coffee. As I was rehearsing and making sure my points were bullet proof, the Holy Spirit asked me, “Why don’t you ask Me for a way to increase your finances, instead of fighting with your wife for drinking coffee?”

A lot of us make decisions based on how it will look and make us feel but those things shouldn’t matter. You are not living your friend’s life; you are living your life. Your peace matters more than your prosperity and that peace will lead to prosperity.

Christian Prosperity

I pray that you will prosper as your soul prospers and be in good health. Christian prosperity is not maxing everything out and living stressed out. Christian prosperity is when we prosper and protect our hearts so that everything else flows out of there.

Joseph saved during the time of famine. It was one-fifth of everything they harvested. They could just have built bigger silos and barns for the grain but Joseph had wisdom that when there is plenty today, there would be a day when we wouldn’t have enough. When the famine came, Joseph made Pharaoh the richest man on the planet because they had abundant grain to sell. Joseph won during the famine when others were losing because he exercised prudence. God wants us to live with prudence.

It saddens me how many Christians are in debt up to their eyeballs. You can break the cycle in your family. It can start today. My goal is not to remind you of how bad your finances are but to plant a seed that in a few years, you can get out of that and you will live a different life and leave a different legacy.

Morality Margin

You need to put a distance between yourself and your temptation or sin.

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, not stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.”

Psalm 1:1

You have to have a distance between you and your temptation to walk in righteousness. Many people cause their temptation to come too close to them by playing in grey areas. The Bible says a righteous man does not walk, stand, or sit. What does this mean? This means we don’t actually fall into sin as many of us think we do. We gradually walk into sin; you don’t just fall into sin.

You don't just fall into sin, you gradually walk into it. Share on X

Samson Stepped, He Did Not Fall

For example, the big sin Samson committed was sleeping with a prostitute.

Now Samson went to Gaza and saw a harlot there, and went in to her.

Judges 16:1

It wasn’t just a bad day. Gaza is 25 miles from where Samson lived. Do you know how many steps it took to get there? 56,250. Samson did not fall into sin, he took 56,250 steps toward it. It wasn’t a sin when he took the first step. Nor was it a sin when he took the second one. It wasn’t a sin after 56,000 steps until he got to her home.

People don’t ruin their lives by taking one tragic step. It is never one; it is more like 56,250.

Greg Rochelle

How We Sin

It is not a sin, therefore, I can do it. We ignore the fact that it is bringing us closer to sin. Don’t ask “Is it wrong?” Ask, “Is it wise?” Because nobody does what is wrong until they have done multiple things that are not wise. The reason they did multiple unwise things is because they were not wrong. Start asking, “In light of what I got delivered from, in light of the dreams and plans that God has for me, and the pulling grip of temptation that exists and the devil roaming like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour, is this the wise thing I should do or place I should go?”

Apply Wisdom

You make margin by putting as much room as possible between yourself and your temptation as you possibly can. On your difficult day, satan will try to bring your temptation closer to you but if that gap is big, he will only get closer, he won’t be able to overtake you. If you and your temptation are so close that you see it every single day and it is breathing down your neck, on your bad days, you will find yourself back in the same sin, not because God didn’t deliver you but because you did not practice wisdom. It is wisdom to put a space between you and your temptation.

If scrolling social media is the trap the devil always gets you with, it is better to delete it from your phone. Oh but how will I live without it? You will live holy and pure. Give God breathing room in your life so you can walk in holiness and righteousness.

Instead of asking the question of how close to the edge of the cliff of sin I can get without falling, we should ask the question of how close can I get to Jesus. The mindset of how close to hell can I get without going there needs to shift.

Righteousness And Wisdom

Remember in Jesus’ parable, the man who built his house on the sand was called foolish, not sinful. What he did was nothing wrong. The man who built his house on the rock was not called righteous but wise. Remember the parable of the ten virgins? Did you note, it was not the parable of the five virgins and five sluts. They were all pure virgins but only five were wise. The other five were not wise because they did not take extra oil; there was no margin or breathing room.

When we don’t have a margin between us and our temptation, our income, and our expenses, or in our minds, we are not operating in wisdom. I am not saying we are going to hell; I am saying we are going to live in one. Don’t ask, “Is this wrong?” Ask, “Is this wise?” And let that decide your margin.

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