Earlier, we looked at how pressure from the world can kill us. While the devil uses pressure to destroy us, God uses pressure to transform us into Christ’s image.
“These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; but the time is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but I will tell you plainly about the Father. In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God. I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father.”
His disciples said to Him, “See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech! Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You. By this we believe that You came forth from God.”
Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe? Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:25-33)
In the Kingdom of God, the pressure we feel is the key to becoming healthy in tribulation. It takes pressure or weight to get strong in the natural, it takes pressure or weight to get strong in the spirit as well. We all want to be strong until we feel the pressure of not conforming, of taking the different route, of renewing our minds. If we’re going to be strong for Jesus, He will allow things to push on us, so we have to resist them. We often pray that Jesus takes the pressure away, but He is the one who allowed it to come. He will use it to make us great in His kingdom if we let Him. The pressure we are facing is the weight we are to use to build our spiritual muscles.
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance… (Romans 5:3)
There are two kinds of people that go to the gym: (1) someone that needs encouragement to go because they view it as a hostile place and (2) the people that see it as a place to enjoy. When you do it long enough, you recognize the benefit of it. You stop resisting it, and you run to it. The people who know how the gym works run to it. Those who know how the pressure Jesus brings into our lives works run to it.
Pressure produces perseverance. “Hupemoni” or “perseverance” was the queen of the virtues of the early church. It means “staying power; hanging in there power; refusing to bend, break or surrender; to remain.”
We can’t let pressure chase us out of our inheritance. David was chased out of Judah by Saul. In the land of the Philistines, he becomes a liar and a murderer. Let’s work on how we see the storms of life as something that will make us better. God won’t take the storm away; He will help us go through it and come out the other side a better person.
Our response to the pressure determines whether the pressure God is allowing will help our lives or not. We have to stop asking God to take the instrument of strength out of our lives. Before we can change the world, we have to overcome the squeeze we are in. Life will try to tell us we are in the wrong place when we are not. We think that if we are following God, everything will work correctly.
Perseverance produces developed character. This is what happens when we stay in the spot God wants us to be. The devil will try to chase you out of places that God has called you so you can’t have what God wants you to have. But we have hope:
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).