Dealing with Pressures
Followers of Jesus have long been encouraged that we do not mourn like those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Unimaginable comfort has been given in times of mourning from this simple assurance: because of Jesus there is eternal life and the hope of a future reunion.
It seems, though, we do not always think of that simple assurance of His presence when facing daily trials. If the hope of peace comes only when traversing the valley of the shadow of death, our journey will be long and difficult.
Thankfully, through Christ we are promised peace in the journey. Jesus, for instance, promised a peace like no other. “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not like the world gives.” The peace Jesus offers is not merely the absence of conflict or war. It is God’s all invasive presence bringing a peace that passes our ability to comprehend it.
The Apostle Paul tied peace to the absence of worry. “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6,7 HCSB).
It is this peace and assurance of which we can testify to those who do not know it. We live in a world racked with pressures. From our ongoing economic hardships to family squabbles to aging, each day seems to bring its own unique set of challenges.
A recent study found a large number of “significant sources of pressure” for people across America. Experiencing bias or prejudice, thinking about life after death, and confronting temptation are sources of pressure for at least 10 percent of Americans. More than 20 percent of people cite facing criticism, spending beyond their means, and relating to family and friends. Lacking money for basic needs and dealing with conflict each bring significant pressure for more than one-third of Americans surveyed. Less than one-fifth of respondents indicated “none of these.”
On a practical level, this means almost everyone we know faces significant pressure in some area or another. We know these are significant enough to lead to marital breakup, depression, and even suicide. As followers of Christ it is both our duty and our joy to bring the Gospel of peace to people who are crumbling under the weight of life. What better way to do this than to help them learn to apply the Bible to their lives? The result will be the Holy Spirit changing attitudes and behaviors.
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