The word for this week is 'PRESSURE'.
Have you felt it lately? Are you under it now?
The word of God reveals that 'pressure' is not some new experience reserved for those in the fast paced culture of the 21st century. People have felt 'pressure' throughout history from many sources. God's people feel 'pressure' from peers, parents and the powers that be as they live IN the world refusing to live AS the world lives.
Jesus felt 'pressure' while He walked upon this earth. He felt the 'pressure' of personal rejection from the citizens of His own home town of Nazareth in Matthew 13. Jesus felt the 'pressure' of being criticized for His embracing sinners in Luke 7:39. Jesus felt the 'pressure' even from some within the fellowship for permitting Mary to anoint Him with expensive perfume in John 12. And yet Jesus dealt with it positively. He didn't buckle under it. The good news for us is that because He didn't, we shouldn't.
'Pressure' in this life isn't just going to go away! Scripture reveals in 2 Corinthians 4 that "we (followers of Christ) are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed--always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body."
There is little if any of the above that is inviting, at least on the surface. However, we must not dwell on the surface of how things appear. We as believers must learn to live on the Source that supplies all we need to overcome whatever the world poses for us or paints us to be.
As Dr. Adam Dooley writes--"for most 'pressure' is something to be endured rather than an opportunity to be embraced. Yet the Apostle Paul (who knew something about 'pressure') offered a different perspective that challenges that position. Because our weakness puts the power of God on display, the only explanation for our survival despite being 'hard-pressed', 'perplexed', 'persecuted', and 'struck down' is the supernatural work of God. (Might want to re-read that last statement.) The same power that raised Jesus from the dead not only guarantees our future resurrection; it also enables the believer to withstand the daily 'pressure' of life."
So when the 'pressures' of life put you in a squeeze, embrace it and press on toward the upward call of God in Christ Jesus! Temporary suffering cannot diminish the eternal reward that awaits the child of God who perseveres under 'pressure'. Desperate times don't have to lead to discouraging times.
When the 'pressure' comes you don't have to blow up or break down underneath it. When life gets hard and heavier than it should be, believe and behave accordingly!
"Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." James 4:7-8
In His Presence, we discover peace and a whole new perspective on 'pressure', that's available for more than an hour or two on Sunday. It's accessible 24/7 for those who desire to embrace it.
So don't settle for just taking a pill and enduring 'pressure' OR driving to Missouri or even Maine to 'get away' from it all. After all, running from something only insures you will run into when you get where you're going.
Embrace His love for you today and in your weakness you will discover His strength will be supplied to support you when you are 'hard-pressed' on every side.
May we learn this week to release some 'pressure' in a positive way!
There will be much less damage and debris to deal with.
May the blessings of His presence provide you peace daily, especially when you find yourself under 'pressure'.
1 Corinthians 15:58