living well under pressure

Life consists of pressure in this way or that. There is no let up, and we might as well not only face it, but accept and embrace it. We do like those times when there’s a relative lull, and the pressure is more or less gone. Vacations can (and often should) consist of such times. And there are other times, unexpected, when what we have to do is relatively routine.

But when pressure seems especially heavy, and perhaps even threatening, we need first of all to accept it. Often our first response, at least mine, is to want to somehow escape it. That is particularly true when I face the pressure of what I chalk up to be spiritual warfare. Some would attribute it to pure psychology, and that is a part of it. But there are malevolent spirits at work on earth to deter and destroy good. They are especially set against the gospel, which ironically is not only their very undermining, but their undoing and actual defeat. We in Jesus have to hang in there, accept the pressure, and pray about whatever matter it is that weighs heavily on our minds. We have the promise that as we resist the enemy (“the devil”), they/he will flee from us. We have to hang in there and resist, which does amount to standing up under pressure.

It is good to anticipate the different kinds of pressure we may face, some an ongoing part of ordinary everyday life, and some which can pop up unexpectedly out of the blue, making the most sunny days of our experience overcast and even dark with storm. We need to be ready for that, realizing it is part and parcel of our existence here and now.

God’s word tells us that pressure can help us mature and become more like Christ, that God uses it for our good. We likely won’t want to say, “Bring it on!” But that can help us to learn not only to accept it, but even embrace it when it comes. It’s all a part of our development as human beings, in Jesus getting us ready for what God has next, which will be culminated someday when the kingdom is revealed in its fullness to the world. Begun here and now in Jesus and the church through the gospel, the good news in him.

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