There is pressure throughout life and throughout the world. Really, we are going to face it every day. What really matters is how we respond to it. How we answer our pressures. How we deal with things. That is what we are talking about today . . . Life’s pressures.
Sometimes when we react to pressure, we will react by lashing out. We are so tired, so overworked, or overwhelmed that we begin to feel negative about everything. We begin to let it boil down inside of us like a pressure cooker or a teakettle. We will blow off steam, and it will go off, and we don’t really even know it. Quite often people will not really understand what it is they are doing. But once they start releasing, they just never stop. They just get angry, and they just vent. They reach out and react without really thinking about it.
That’s one of the things that happens to us with pressure. We do feel it in our day-to-day life, we can feel it in our relationships and in our jobs. We always seem to be under pressure that is pulling at us from all ways. We seem to be like a rubber band or an elastic person where people are always pulling and tugging.
And a lot of it happens because we are just trying to please everyone about everything. Comedienne Bill Cosby one said, “I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is to try and please everyone else.” It’s true. When we do this, it causes a whole lot of pressure to build up inside of us. It just kind of tries to take over our world.
What I want to look at today is, What does pressure do to us? It causes us to focus on the unimportant things in life, and we will miss out on the important. Pressure squeezes our perspective inward. It makes us look inside. It makes us kind of all shriveled up like a sponge. We are squeezed together with everything to the center. We lose our outward perspective. We can’t see beyond our noses. We just see what’s going on. It’s the preoccupation with the little bitty things of life. It causes us to lose the big picture.
We get so worried about the things that we are trying to do, and we run into an obstacle. It blinds us to everything else. We don’t see solutions. We don’t see anything else. Sometimes we don’t even see people who are coming in to help us. We are so negative because of the pressure that has been just building up inside us for so long.
We are told in the book of Matthew 13:22 about the sowing of the seeds.
Jesus tells the story, ”The one on whom seed was sown among the thorns This is the man who hears the word, “And the worry of the world is deceitful, as of wealth, will choke the world; the word, and it becomes unfruitful.”
And that’s what happens to us. As we are going through life, we are trying to become more and more successful. We forget how we got there. We begin to put our faith in others. We begin to believe everything people tell us. We begin to focus on the here and the now. We lose sight of the big picture. Se we are talking about when you look inside yourself. Everything is focused inside when you are so consumed with getting the task done that you forget the big picture. When you do that, you never take the time to take a deep breath and exhale, breath, and relax and figure out a way to do things. How to handle things.
Pressure also makes us vulnerable to temptation. We lose our resistance. And this is a very important thing. It weakens our resistance. We are told in Mark 14: 38 “Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
And that is what happens to us as human beings. We fall into temptations. We begin to follow the leader. Psychologists call it ‘The Lemming Theory’. That is where everybody just goes along with the masses. We go along to get along. I’ve often heard, “Well, you have just got to go along to get along because that way you don’t make waves. And everything will be all right.”
Well, that is just wrong! That’s not the way to do things. My mama used to ask, “If everybody else jumped off the bridge, would you?” A lot of people would say, “Well, sure we would!” And that’s the problem. When you give in to temptation, that pressure causes you not to be able to stand up against the things you should stand up to. It lowers your resistance.
You go out with your friends after a hard week of work. Man. The boss has been on me. Nothing has gone right. I can’t get the job done. We’re going to go out tonight and blow off some steam! So what happens? You go out to a club. Well, that one drink turns into two. That two turns into three. Then, all of a sudden, you have a bunch of people standing around, daring you to do things. Your resistance is weak because of the pressure around you. Everybody seems to be having a really good time, and you just want to get along with them. Go along to get along rather than standing up and saying, “No! I can’t do that.”
Pressure makes us vulnerable to temptation. Its’ kind of like when you have a tire with too much air pressure in it. It makes it vulnerable. Its’ going to pop at some point. It’s the same exact thing. Pressure beats upon you. It eats you.
Pressure can also make us rationalize and compromise our beliefs. You are going to go along to get along rather than standing up for your beliefs.
The pressure of what we call the seduction of riches. Look around today. Look at TV enough and you will see that everybody in this world has at least a truck and a car in their garage. They have a big five-room house. They’ve got HD TV, satellite TV, play stations, and they have this and they have that. They have everything. And so society has made it very seductive. We want everything they have.
So we begin to give into it. And that pressure begins to occupy our hearts, and all of a sudden, we don’t leave any room for God. If you are spending all of your time sitting and worshiping at the altar of the almighty dollar when are you going to have time to talk to God?
I’ve noticed that a lot of people work a lot of hours and make a lot of money. They just work, work, work. They give up their family. They give up their life. They give up their church. They give up pretty much everything because they are in search of that almighty dollar . . . the seduction of riches. What happens is lust begins to crowd out our true love. And our true love is God. That lust . . . be it people or things will begin to pervert you, and make you start looking other ways.
We are told in First Kings 11:4 about King Solomon. We have all heard about King Solomon, one of the wisest of all. Aww. The wisdom of King Solomon, we are told. But we are told in First Kings 11
“For when Solomon was old, his wives turned his heart away after other gods, and his heart was not wholly devoted to the Lord, his God as the heart of David, his father, had been.”
The wisest of us can succumb to the temptation of lust . . . can succumb to something else . . . can be misled . . . can be given and shown a new way that isn’t the way we are supposed to be going.
No matter who we are, pressure can do this. We do it because we want others to like us. We want their approval. We want them to think we are just like them. We don’t want to stand out. We don’t want to be different because when you are different, all of a sudden, you are facing pressures in the world. As a Christian, it is okay to do that . . . because you can stand up to the pressure.
One thing you have to remember . . . you can’t let pride keep you from making the right choice. When push comes to shove, if you let pride lead you the wrong way, it is all going to fall apart.
As in the story of King Harrods, the Tetrarch, and his beheading of John the Baptist This is in the book of Matthew 14.
Harrod had arrested John because he was out there preaching that Harrod was living in sin. Harrod wasn’t supposed to be living with Herrodius, who was the wife of Harrod’s brother. Actually he didn’t want to put John to death. Well, he really did, but he held off because John was very popular. Harrod was afraid of what the people would do if he put John to death. He kind of held off. He was nervous! Well, at Harrod’s birthday party, Herrodius’s daughter . . . well, she danced. Whew! She danced for Harrod. Now I know some of us have seen those movies . . . The Dance of the Seven Veils . . . and we have heard about those dances. Well, she danced one of those dances. And, oh yeah, Harrod got like a lot of men do. That testosterone begins to flow. And so Harrod went, “Oh wow! I’ll do anything you want me to!” And that’s what he did! I mean, he was drunk, and he was full of lust! He promised her in an oath that he would give her whatever she wanted.
And you think this may not happen nowadays? Just watch some of these judge programs on TV. There is always some guy or some woman who were so in love, in lust, that they gave their temporary partner everything they wanted. Then they never got repaid, and then they broke up. So, here they are in court. It happens all of the time.
Harrodius‘s daughter says, “Well, I don’t really know what I want.”
But mama did. Mama said, “I want the head of John the Baptist on a platter. That’s right. I want that boy’s head on a platter. I want that boy to be quiet! I’m tired of him telling me I’m living in sin.”
But Harrod’s not going to do it because he is afraid of everybody. Harrodius went to Harrod and said, “That’s what I want. I want the head of John the Baptist on a platter. I want you to take care of that for me.”
Harrod didn’t want to do it. In Matthew 14:9, we find . . . Although he was grieved, the king commanded it to be given because of his oath. Because of his dinner guest. You see, he had promised her all of this stuff in front of other people. And then, all of a sudden, he was pressured to do what he had promised to do even though he didn’t want to do it. But his bride would not let him do the right thing. And all because of foolish human pride and pressure. Pressure to do something he knew he was not supposed to do.
If you want to make certain this doesn’t happen to you, there is a real simple solution. Pick better companions. Hang out with people who are good people. People who are Christians. Hang out with people who know the right thing and know the right thing to do. We are told in the book of Proverbs about that. Proverbs 24: 1 – 2 “Do not be envious of evil men nor desire to be with them for their minds devise violence and their lips talk of trouble.”
If you want to stay out of trouble, stay away from troublemakers. If you want to live the kind of life you are supposed to live, stay around people who are also trying to live that kind of life . . . pick Christian friends. Walk the Christian walk. If you are currently involved with some folks you know you shouldn’t be, get away from them. Find somebody else to talk to. There are a bunch of good people out there who will talk to you. One who will talk to you all of the time is God in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. He will reach down, and he will talk to you. He will open those lines of communication with you if you ask him to. He will come in, and he will help you. People are undergoing lots of pressures right now in this life. Lots of worry about money . . . lots of worry about things. And what happens when they turn it over to Jesus? Jesus comes in and gives them a solution. He shows them the way to do things. He helps them find what it is they are supposed to find. He helps them get what they are supposed to get. But what you have got to do is turn your life over to Jesus. You have got to make that one commitment that is going to make the difference in your entire life. That commitment is . . . turn your life over to Jesus. It is a simple solution.
Just say, Dear Lord Jesus, I am giving you complete control of my life. I know that you are the way, the truth, and the life. I know that you are the way to eternal salvation, and I know you died on that cross for my sins. I can’t do this by myself, Lord, there is so much pressure out there in the outside world that I can’t possibly resist it myself. Lord, sometimes I feel like those levies and dikes in Louisiana that got hit by Katrina, and all of a sudden, that water just washes over me. And sometimes, Lord, I can’t handle the pressure. Please stand here. Re-enforce me. Help me to do the right thing and to be the kind of person you want me to be.
If you do this, God will take care of you. Then you have to get active. Get involved in the church. Find somebody that wants to share the world with you. Call us. There are lots of good Bible based churches around that will help you out if you want them to. Find one that preaches love. Find one that preaches from the Bible because that’s where the solutions are. That’s where you are going to find the relief for the pressure in today’s life. You are not going to find it anywhere else. But you are going to find it in the Bible every time. God has promised us, and He will never go back on His word. Open up that Bible. And when you do, all of a sudden, you are going to feel like that teakettle. That little whistle of joy as the pressure of life is relieved, and the salvation of eternal life fills your soul.
That’s going to do it for today, thank you for joining me here on the program. If you have Spotify, there’s a link on my website that takes you to the program where you can subscribe to this broadcast. My website is cmttradio.com (repeat). I also do a video version of these messages those are up on YouTube that link is also on my site. Go ahead and subscribe and please tell your friends about this program. I’d appreciate it.
So until next time, may you be able to handle any pressure you face. God bless and peace y’all