Choose You This Day Who You Will Serve: What the Bible Says About Pressure
By Betty Miller
The Bible says because we’re in the world, we will have tribulation, or pressure. It is an unavoidable part of life on this earth. In the beginning, though, God’s plan was that we be free from pressure. The garden of Eden was a place of perfect peace. God didn’t put any pressure on Adam and Eve; all they had to do was obey Him. Pressure came through Satan in the form of temptation. When man fell, Satan became the god of this world. And now by simply being in the world, we experience tribulation. Man’s failure to obey opened the door to a corrupted creation; one that we must fight against each day to survive.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). We’re all in a wrestling match in this world, though we may not see it. We’re struggling against something in the spiritual realm. To win, maximum effort must be exerted in a wrestling match. Each opponent gives their all as they try to pin each other down. The devil is trying to pin us down to keep us from serving God, by bringing tribulation against us. He is trying to keep us from serving God wholeheartedly by distracting us with the worries and cares of this world.
God’s Provision for Pressure
In His mercy, God made a way out from under the dominion of the god of this world. That way is the cross. Through the forgiveness of our sins and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, we can overcome any pressure the enemy brings upon us. God has given us victory over everything, even death. No Christian needs to fear death; for then our spirits will immediately be with the Lord, and at the return of Christ, we will receive our resurrected bodies.
Death, sickness, sin–these are temporary things, and in Christ we have victory over them. The Word tells us not only how to gain victory over problems, but also how to avoid them in the first place. A lot of tribulation will never come our way if we simply obey the Word. If we don’t lie, cheat or steal we steer clear of numerous problems. God’s commandments are for our own good.
Some Christians act as though God is a killjoy who doesn’t want them doing anything. The truth is He gave the commandments so we could be blessed upon the earth. If we keep them, we will be blessed; if we don’t, we’ll come under the curse. The curse we are referring to here is all the evil things that happen in this life as a result of sin (Deuteronomy 30:19). To come under the curse would be our own fault, for God didn’t plan the curse for us. He made the blessing for us, for all of those in His kingdom.
From Perseverance to Proven Character
What we put within us is what will come out in our day of trial. The old saying “garbage in, garbage out” is quite true in the spiritual realm. We can gage how much garbage we are taking into our lives by how we react under fire. Our response will reveal our maturity as Christians. Anyone can act like a victorious Christian on Sunday morning, praising God and all smiles. But what about at home? How quickly will we be provoked there? What will we find that we yet need to be cleansed of?
Recently, I realized once again my continual need for a deeper work. God brings us up against little irritating things to reveal the bigger things in us. All I did was trip over my husband’s bootjack that he had left out of place. I felt anger: “Why doesn’t he put this away? Every time it’s left out I trip over it.” At least upon tripping I said, “Thank You, Jesus,” but my heart wasn’t in it. That’s progress, though, from how I would have reacted years ago when I was in the world. God changes us, and then brings even deeper changes. I had to confess, “Lord, there’s a work that needs to be done in my heart. Remove any anger and let me always have a gentle spirit.”
There is a great temptation to blame another for our reactions. It would have been wonderful to blame my husband for my anger. It would have been so much easier! We all like to shift the blame because we don’t have to take responsibility then, for our own mistakes and weaknesses. Shifting the blame started, of course, with Adam and Eve. Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the devil. “The devil made me do it,” some say. Yet the truth is we have authority over the enemy. He can’t make us do anything as Christians, unless we give him consent. We don’t have to agree with any of his lies. Remember, we are in a wrestling match. Let’s apply pressure to him! Let’s apply the pressure of the Holy Spirit against the devil’s pressure.
So then, our Christian maturity is revealed by how we behave in everyday life, particularly under pressure. How do we act in the car or at the grocery store? As businessmen, do we pad the expense account? How do we act on our own in the little things? Are we honest in all financial matters? How do we treat other people? That’s where the real Christ is evidenced in our lives. What do we do in our homes away from the church. It’s not how we act in the church that counts so much; anyone can act really nice there.
We sometimes forget that God is not only at church, He’s everywhere. He sees the corners of our heart that we’d rather not have Him (or anyone else) see. He sees what goes on behind our closed doors. He knows each of us better than we know ourselves, and yet He loves us anyway! He is the only one who can help us overcome the pressures of this world, the devil, and our flesh.
Jesus, The Prince of Peace
In Jeremiah 8:11, we find the statement, “…Peace, peace; when there is no peace.” This is also the cry heard today. There is only one who can offer permanent peace. That one is Jesus.
Upon conversion, one of the first things people often comment about is the new-found peace they have in their hearts. The world is troubled on every side, but in Christ we find peace. Those outside of Him are restless, troubled, anxious, fretful, and full of fear. The Word of God declares in Isaiah 57:21, “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” Until we come to the Lord, we never have rest in our hearts. Peace is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit found in Galatians 5:22. When we allow the Holy Spirit to control our lives we walk in perfect peace. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (Isaiah 26:3).
However, after the initial euphoria of salvation wears away, and we are left with the nitty-gritty of everyday life, it can be sometimes difficult in keeping our minds on the Lord. The devil is always trying to divert us to think carnal thoughts instead of keeping our thoughts in subjection to the Word of God. How can we be free of worry and anxiety? We must deliberately change our thoughts. We must look to the Lord and ask Him to free us of our fears, and then we must think on things that bring peace. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
Jesus said in Matthew 5:9, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” The Lord not only wants us to know His peace, but also He wants us to distribute His peace. The body of Christ needs healing and needs those who sow seeds of peace instead of discord. If we want peace in our churches and homes, then we must be the ones who are the peacemakers. If we obey the Lord and walk in His light, His peace will come to our entire family. “And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children” (Isaiah 54:13). By following the Prince of Peace, we can bring His peace into our midst.
We can enter into Christ’s peace and priesthood, if we only but follow in His steps. Peace is one of the most beautiful treasures that we inherit from our Lord. Money cannot buy it, but it is free to all who will come unto Him. We can have His peace even in the midst of our wrestling match with the enemy. Even when Satan sends His biggest giants our way, we can like David, stand firm in the fact that the God we serve is greater by far than anything else in the universe. Praise God! We no longer have to base our confidence in ourselves! Instead, we can rely on Him, the Rock of our Salvation. If David had tried to stand against Goliath in his own strength, he would have been completely destroyed. But David knew who was with him and he knew that he had overcome because “greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we all can be victorious in our everyday lives. We can overcome the devil and our flesh. We can be ministers of peace and reconciliation on this earth, and walk in perfect communion with God. We can be free from pressure by learning to yield to the Lord and resisting the devil (James 4:7). The Bible says that the devil will flee with his pressure. How do we resist the devil? By speaking the word of the Lord over our situation. For example, if we are being pressured with fearful thoughts, we should quote scriptures that speak of victory over fear.
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Psalm 23:4
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1
In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee. Isaiah 54:14
As Christians, we have victory over pressure and tribulation because of God’s promises to us. Praise the Lord! Our Savior died for nothing less than that.
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Topic: What the Bible Says about Pressure
Related Topics: What the Bible Says about Stress; Scripture Prayer for Fear and Anxiety; Self Image; Trials; Unclean Thoughts; Free Will Choices That Create Our Future; Suicide; Forgiveness; Healing; Scriptural Prayer for Protection