Series: Perfected By Pressure
I shuffled by him as I entered the store. Though we attended the same college, I didn’t know him. I could have said, “Proud of what you’re doing,” or “I’m praying for you,” but I didn’t. I copied the behavior of most others who passed-turned my head and ignored him. They probably passed him off as one of the nuts from the local Bible College. I didn’t think that but neither did I acknowledge his attempts to share God’s love. My antics added to his pressure, but his pressure made him an example.
Thessalonica incorporated many pagan religions and cultures that challenged first century believers. Paul himself was persecuted during his first visit. Now he was encouraging Christians who were suffering for their faith. And God will use this persecution to show his justice and to make you worthy of his Kingdom, for which you are suffering (II Thessalonians 1:5 NLT).
Trouble, conflict and the pressure of persecution aren’t enjoyable but they do allow us to set an example for others. Our model of endurance under pressure reflects God’s justice. He will rescue us even though he might not always deliver us from those ridiculing us because we’re standing for his principles. His rescue is often peace of mind that we’re doing the right thing and peace of spirit that he’s in control.
Endurance under pressure also makes us worthy for God’s kingdom. Jesus learned obedience through suffering and re-entered God’s kingdom as the Savior of humanity. In some strange manner, the pressure of suffering prepares us for our eternal home with the Father.
When your pressures seem overwhelming, remember God is forming you into an example for others.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us endure pressure so we can shine for You.