HOW TO HANDLE THE PRESSURES OF LIFE
Failing to handle properly the pressures that enter our lives can become one of the great stumbling blocks that cause us not to grow and mature in our walk. The trials and pressures of daily life are a formidable foe to any Christian a must be responded to in a biblical way. The great temptation is to turn back to your old ways and try and handle these trials in your own strength. Many think, It will be the easier if I go back to my old ways than to struggle. However, if you begin to depend on yourself or go back to old sinful ways you will surely be taking the harder way. Walking with Christ is not easy, but it is definitely easier than going it alone.
I. The harder way
A. If you turn from Christ and return to your sinful lifestyle, you are transgressing God’s commandments and the Scripture is very clear; “The way of the transgressor is hard” (Prov. 13:15).
B. It's always harder to fight the conviction of God’s Spirit than it is to yield and surrender to Christ (Acts 9:5). Surrender to God is always the easier way.
C. Your old ways will always lead you back to hard bondage, because it ultimately will bring you under the control of your sin nature. Sin is possessive (seeking control over you) and progressive (taking more and more control). Your sin nature desires to reign and dominate your life completely (Rom. 6:12) (John 8:34).
D. Yielding to the Lord and following Him will always be easier than any other way. Jesus said His yoke is easy and His burden light (Matt. 11:28-30).
II. The Key
The important thing to understand about the pressures of life is this; it’s not what happens in your life that may cause you to stumble, it's how you respond to these trials that make the difference. It’s how you choose to respond to the problems. Therefore, the choices, the attitude, and the actions you take will either build or destroy your life. If you will make the decision to meet the problem God's way and not your way, it will make all the difference in the world. You must decide to meet the pressure by appropriating His strength and obeying God’s commands no matter how you feel. Will you look to Jesus the author and finisher of your faith, or will you look to yourself (Heb. 12:2) (Titus 2:13) (2 Cor. 4:18)?
III. What is God's Way of Meeting Pressure? Steps to take:
A. First, you must refuse to think that you have been picked out to suffer these trials. Peter warned, "don't think it strange concerning the fiery trial which has come to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you" (1 Pet. 5:9). Peter also assured the believers that, "These same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world" (1 Pet. 5:9). Paul also affirmed this fact when he declared, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13). In other words, Paul was explaining that we all have trials in that are common to all men. If you will seek God’s strength you will be able to bear them. Jesus also promised His disciples that if we lived in this world we would have tribulation, yet He would give us His peace (John 16:33).
B. You must go to Him. This is the key to handling pressure God's way. "These things I have spoken unto you that in Me you might have peace" (John 16:33).
1. Go to the Word that God has spoken. Here is where you will find the encouragement, promises, and example you should follow. “This is my comfort in my affliction, for Your Word has given me life” (Ps. 119:50).
2. Go to God in prayer. When Jesus was in the garden and in agony from the pressure of the cross, "He prayed more earnestly" (Luke 22:44). In prayer, you will be able to ask and receive the strength of His Holy Spirit to bear the trial. Jesus promised, "I will not leave you orphans, I will come to you"
This is the choice you have either go to Him and seek His strength and wisdom, or try to handle the pressure yourself. It's a choice you must make each day.
C. To meet pressures God’s way you must resist. You must resist the temptation to compromise your beliefs under pressure. You must resist your feelings and desires that want to draw you back to your old habits. You must resist your thoughts to give in or give up. You must resist Satan and the lies he uses in all of these temptations (1 Pet. 5:7-9). You can only resist these temptations successfully by putting on the whole armor of God. Then you will be able to stand (Eph. 6:10-18).
D. To meet pressures God’s way you need endurance. Paul taught that the only way to run the race of life was to run it with endurance (Heb. 12:1). Endurance is an inner strength and commitment to finish the course that is set before you. This attitude of the heart comes as a result of the Holy Spirit filling you as you go to Him in prayer and resist the temptations (Gal. 5:22). This word long-suffering describes a fortitude and patience necessary to overcome. When you make Him your refuge and fortress in the midst of a trial, then you will experience the endurance that sustained David (Ps. 91:1-6). King David encouraged you to "Cast your burden on the Lord and He shall sustain you" (Ps 55:22).
E. To meet pressures God’s way you need to trust a sovereign God that is working all things together for your good. However, many think that when they don’t understand God’s plan they believe that all things are against them as Jacob did in the Old Testament (Gen. 42:36). But later Jacob realized that God had taken all things and turned them around for his good (Gen. 45:7-8) (Gen. 50:20). God has promised to do this for each of His children. “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28). God takes even the evil things that people do to us and turns them around for good in our lives. God is a big God and there is nothing to hard for Him.
F. To meet pressures God’s way you need to find a brother. The Bible teaches that “a friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Prov. 17:17). God’s method to help you in the midst of trouble is to lead you into a friendship where you can find the encouragement of a brother. We are commanded to encourage one another daily because of the great temptation to harden our hearts as we deal with the evil in this world (Heb. 3:13). However, you won’t find deep friendships from a Sunday morning handshake after service. You must develop these relationships in small group prayer groups or Bible studies. In these small groups is where you will be able to share your personal needs and bear others burdens (Gal. 6:2).