Dealing with Pressure (Part 1)
Updated: Jun 3, 2021
Have you found that life is getting faster? And faster? And faster? Like a runaway out of control train? Welcome to the 21st century. We live in a fast-paced and highly pressuring world.
In a 2012 Australian survey of wellbeing and stress, it was found that people are generally more stressed than a year ago. 22% reported facing moderate to severe distress. 34% experience depression symptoms. Young adults were the most stressed, particularly students and the unemployed.
We know we are under stress when your lecturer hands out a new assignment and you feel like crying. When the boss asks to see you and you feel your stomach tightening. When you have to take deep breaths before you step into your home.
We know when we are under stress, when in your dreams instead of counting sheep, you count unpaid bills. When you finish a box of chocolates in one go, without realising it. When you look at your iPhone and you wish Steven Jobs is still around.
How are Australians managing stress? The survey tells us 40% drink alcohol to manage stress. 69% eat. 57% shop! 85% watch TV. We need to understand how to deal with pressure of many different kinds in our lives.
In Acts 7, we can find some keys how some men of God dealt with pressures in their life.
PURSUE HIGHER PROMISES (v2-5)
Have you ever being in situations or know of people who were in situations where things seem very challenging? And the key thing that helped them pull through was the hope that things will get better? Stephen recounted the story of Abraham.
Acts 7:2-5 (NIV) “2 …The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran. 3 ‘Leave your country and your people,’ God said, ‘and go to the land I will show you.’ 4 “So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living. 5 He gave him no inheritance here, not even a foot of ground. But God promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child.”
A man who faced major challenges to his faith yet pulled through. Abraham was a man who received incredible promises from God.
Gen 12:1 - 2 (NIV) 1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
Many people think that when they receive promises from God, it is like a Christmas gift. Just something to receive and enjoy. No doubt, some promises are like that. But some other promises serve a different purpose. Some promises are intended to pull us through the challenging times that we will face.
Abraham faced a number of major challenges, one of which was his childlessness.
Gen 15:2-3 (NIV) 2 But Abram said, “O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”
Imagine the pain, the inner turmoil of a husband and his wife reaching old age and unable to produce any child of their own. And particularly in the culture of those days. It was seen as a major personal inadequacy. What pressures it must bring to them? In those days, women are divorced when they are unable to produce an offspring. Sadly, it still happens to some extent today. At least today we know that the fault can be just as much the men who may be firing blanks.
Yet despite the difficulty of the situation, Abraham pulled through because he had God’s promises to give him hope.
Abraham pursued after the higher promises rather than resign to the hopelessness of his physical situation. It is like even when we are surrounded by total darkness, a light lies ahead and we know that is a way out.
God has given us many general promises through the Scriptures. And God may have given some of us specific promises. Promises God laid upon your heart or came through prophetic words.
God’s promises that keep hope burning should be clung to. Don’t let them go during tough times but cherish them. Pursue the higher promises!
Nick Vujicic has no limbs but refuses to let his challenges stop him. Today he has travelled around the world as a motivational speaker and sharing his testimony about God’s grace. He pursued the higher promises!
In tough times, pursue after the higher promises, the promises of God! Keep positive, have hope by focusing on the higher promises. Often we get dragged down by the many challenges around us. But look up and remember God’s promises. Cling on to God’s promises! Pursue the higher promises!
To be continued in Part 2
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