If there is one thing that often seems true in life, it’s the reality of pressure. We face it on every side for one reason or another, so that times where it is absent can be treasured. I don’t refer to routine down times which I hope we all have on a regular basis, hopefully daily, and for some, a weekly sabbath, or kind of sabbath.
Paul spoke of it in terms of facing death itself, or more literally, feeling the sentence of death in themselves, that they may no longer trust in themselves, but in God who raises the dead, and who delivered them from the peril of death. He also wrote that he faced death daily. And that there were pressures inside and out.
What prevails for us in Jesus is the resurrection life of Jesus in us by the Spirit. When all else fails, and it will, that life in God for us remains. A life in and out of which we live. A life of taking up our cross in following Jesus, crucifixion with Jesus, resurrection life in Jesus, exaltation in Jesus over the powers even in this life. A life that takes in past, present and future through Jesus in the here and now. (See Spirituality According to Paul: Imitating the Apostle of Christ, by Rodney Reeves.)
A life not only committed to the gospel, but a gospel oriented life. We must first be the gospel in the sense of living as those whose lives are being impacted by it. The good news in Jesus, reflecting Jesus, and God’s grace and kingdom come in him. A life of love, of grace, of holiness. Through God’s work in Jesus trusting that the big picture is in play, even in the midst of the pressures of life. In other words that God is at work through Jesus in us according to the big picture, indeed working all things together for good. And also at work in all things after the counsel of his will. According to his purpose in Christ.
Pressure is to be expected. And for all kinds of reasons in a fallen world, or a world that is only a shadow of the world to come in the new creation in Jesus when heaven and earth are one. Half of the battle is to accept that. The other half is to then learn to trust more and more in God through Jesus. To not only see us through, but to help us be more than conquerors together in the way of Jesus for the world.