THE PRESENT PRESSURE

(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

If you know me, you know I have a certain interest in people-watching. I often catch myself analyzing, studying, and observing whatever environment it is that I happen to be in, and who the people are around me.

There is something I have been noticing in people’s countenance… Many are increasingly lacking hope, purpose, determination, and perseverance.

Even to us as Christians, does it not seem as if the world we’re living in is currently being crushed under the enemy’s feet? As if Satan is winning?

Charles Spurgeon once said, “If you should be filled with alarm like others, you would no doubt be led into the sins so common to them under trying circumstances.”

Unbelievers tend to run to the wrong means in order to escape life’s difficulties, and Christians can quickly do the same when our minds yield to the present pressure of our age.

The present pressure and anxiousness we’re all feeling is a direct result of the evil that is freely roaming about, but there should be a radical difference in the way we continue to operate when compared to people who have no hope and have not put their trust in Jesus.

So, the question before us today is this… How do we live with intentionality amidst the pressure of the age we’re living in?

This might seem an odd Scripture to start with, but I am reminded of Psalm 23:5-6 which says, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

This passage explains the presence of David’s enemies as bystanders at the feast. We probably wouldn’t be very much inclined to invite our enemies to watch us eat, and we might even regard their presence as likely to spoil our appetites. However, the enemy’s unwilling attendance at the feast is the important evidence of a shift in the balance of power now that the King has arrived. David’s foes had mocked him and humiliated him, but his trust was in God. For years he had been crying out, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? . . . How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?” (Ps. 13:1–2). How it must have seemed to David, and to the rest of the world, as if the Lord had forgotten him and allowed his enemies to rejoice in their triumph.

Although He didn’t, did He?

This ultimate distinction between faithful servant and unfaithful enemy, those invited to join the feast and those left standing in disgrace to one side, I think raises a question in the heart of every Believer. Why would I be invited to be an honored guest to a feast reserved for faithful servants of the King?

I mean, our obedience is erratic at best. We regularly and deliberately turn our backs on obedience and join our peers in eager worship of their idols. So, why us?

This, my friend, is where the magnificence of unmerited salvation, that is ours, shines forth so clearly. We have a God that we can run to at any time. We have proved His faithfulness before, and He has never once been found lacking.

There’s a song by NEEDTOBREATHE called “I Am Yours”, and I think the lyrics perfectly describe the point I am trying to make.

“Sometimes I’m under starlit sky
But I’m feeling more like dirt
How do I forget so fast
Who you are, and what that’s worth

‘Cause there’s an evidence of you
In every corner of this life
So why do I still try to prove
That I don’t deserve your time

‘Cause I am yours
And you will always be mine
It seems like madness, I’m invited
To the table by your side

‘Cause I am yours
And you will always be mine
I’m a man whose one ambition
Is to dance with my divine
‘Cause I am yours
And you are, you are, you are
You are mine”

What we do is rooted in who we are, and I’m here to tell you that God cares a lot more about who we are deep down inside than whatever it is we may happen to do on any given day for Him.

Christianity isn’t something I do. It’s who I am. Our influence is irreplaceable, so we must be intentional about remembering who we are because of who Christ is.

My concern for American “Christians” today is that I’m not sure they want to be His. I’m not sure we long to be at the King’s table and be with Him. I’m not sure we will MAKE time to be at the table.

However, if your one ambition is to dance with your divine, surely His goodness and love will follow you all the days of your life, and you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. If you want to live with intentionality amidst the pressure of the age we’re living in, take a seat at the King’s table.

It seems like madness, but He’s waiting.

SO WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE?

= Write out a list of three or four things you want to be. It could be something from the verses we just read, or it could be something you admire in Jesus, or another Christian in your life. Ask God to continue to complete the good work He has started in you. Ask Him to enable you to BE who He created you to be. 

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