What Does the Bible Say About Pressure?
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." (Eph.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.
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
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. (Deut.
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.
Pressure Reveals What Is in Us
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