Examples of pressure in our lives abound.
- Peer pressure
- Unrealistic and/or unmet expectations
- All-or-nothing attitude and perfectionism
- Unexpected and/or overwhelming emotions
- Job expectations and career aspirations
- Loss of loved one, job, marriage, etc.
- Trauma, sickness, injury
- Beliefs and convictions
- Relationships (e.g., family, friends, peers, etc.)
- Information and knowledge
- Social media and FOMO
- Giving and helping others
- Being healthy; longevity
- Simplifying and living balanced
- Fear, worry, uncertainty, loss of control (e.g., older people)
- Environmental demands (e.g., lighting, noise, sustainability)
- Pushing yourself too hard; being too hard on yourself
We all feel pressure both from the outside and the inside. As Christians, we are told to expect pressure to go against our beliefs.
“Everyone who wants to live a godly life will be persecuted.” (2 Timothy 3:12)
The Bible talks about the pressure we feel from within, too.
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” (Romans 7:15-25)
We can expect pressure from the world and from the flesh – from the outside and from within – that pushes against living the Christian life (e.g., righteousness, holiness). We also know that internal and external pressure impact one another, and that one person’s pressures can affect another’s.
The Bible also gives us plenty of practical advice for living the Christian life. It tells us that we can not only stand firm in this unstable world, but we can also live with poise even while we experience pressure from without and within.
Being poised means having a dignified, self-confident manner or bearing. It also means being steady, stable, and balanced.
Confident. Steady. Stable. Balanced.
Isn’t this how we want to be as Christians struggling with the pressures of life this side of heaven?
This pressure we feel often seems like too much for us to handle, though, let alone handle with poise. Yet, the Bible tells us we can resist the pressure and stand firm at the same time.
“For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.” (1 John 4:4-5)
“His divine nature has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (2 Peter 1:3-4)
Based on these verses, how can we be confident, steady, stable, and balanced?
- Through faith in Jesus as the son of God.
- By accessing his divine nature through knowledge of him.
We know the pressure from this evil world is not going to let up. We also know we will never be free from the inner pressure either. Not this side of heaven, anyway.
Through faith in Jesus and through his divine nature, we can be prepared for it. Not just prepared to handle it but defeat – be victorious over – it and live godly lives within it.
How can we be prepared?
- By developing our faith.
- By doing our part to become confident, steady, stable, and balanced.
- By accessing the divine nature of Jesus.
Living the Christian life can feel like pressure, too, but it’s really about one thing: knowing Jesus. We do this through reading the Bible, praying, worshipping regularly, and spending time in Christian fellowship.
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)
“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
“Little children, you are from God and have overcome, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
Be encouraged! You can be steadfast, living a life free of fear. You can access the power of God, knowing you are loved. You can have self-control because he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). You can live with poise despite the internal and external pressure if life this side of heaven.