The Pressure Of Life
The Pressure of Life – Read Romans 8:35-39
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Romans 8:35
Are you a diamond in the rough? By the world’s standards, is your life under pressure? Does trouble seem to be ever present, like mosquitoes during a Minnesota summer? Here is a fact. Did you know that it takes around 60 kilobars (870,288 PSI) of pressure to create a natural diamond?
God does not keep a man immune from trouble; He says; “I will be with him in trouble.” It does not matter even if a most extreme form of trouble gets hold of a Christian’s life, not one of them can separate us from our relationship to God. We are “more than conquerors in all these things.” Paul is not speaking of imaginary things, but of things that are the most desperate of realities. He says we are super victors in the midst of them, not by our ingenuity, or by our courage, or by anything other than the fact that not one of them affects our relationship to God in Jesus Christ. No matter what circumstance we find ourselves in, it can in no way have a negative impact on our relationship to our Heavenly Father.
We should feel sorry for the Christian who does not have something in their circumstances they wish was not there. You may be tempted to envy them for their lack of trouble, but remember pressure is required to create diamonds. Look at the pressure situations Paul says cannot separate us from His love…
“Shall hardship…?” Hardship is never a noble thing; but let hardship be what it may; exhausting, irritating, fatiguing, it is not able to separate us from the love of God. Never let cares or hardships separate you from the fact that God loves you.
“Shall persecution…?” Can God’s love hold when everything says that His love is a lie, and that there is no such thing as justice?
“Shall famine…?” Can we not only believe in the love of God but be more than conquerors, even while we are being starved?
Either Jesus Christ is a deceiver and Paul is deluded, or some extraordinary thing happens to a person who holds on to the love of God when the odds are all against them. The pressure-filled situation creates a diamond. Human logic is silenced in the face of this fact. Only one thing can account for it — the love of God in Christ Jesus.
Qualities of a Father Read 1 Thessalonians 2:7 – 12 (NASB)
Fond Affection (verse 8a)
The Greek word translated affection means “to feel oneself drawn to something or someone” this is the only place in the New Testament where this word is used. A strong intensity is implied in the term. It is the picture of the father, who holds and treats his young infant child tenderly, feeling himself affectionately drawn to that little one. This kind of affection comes more naturally for a mother than it does for a father. For a father the years pass, work increases, pressures mount, and the demands and deadlines grapple for more and more of our time and energy. In the meantime, our child grows – no longer little and able to be held in our arms. But regardless of age “fond affection” from a father is still needed.
A Transparent Life (verse 8)
Next we read of the value of giving ourselves, our whole lives. The value of the father in a child’s life is immeasurable. To hear the gospel is a necessity for children, but to see a father model it is even more valuable. Children find great security in finding us open and transparent. Do not fear the transparency will cause a child to lose respect for you. If you have disciplined your child out of anger being transparent and asking them to forgive you, admitting your failure and that you were wrong will ultimately cause much deeper respect because they see you demonstrate the gospel in a real-life situation.
An Unselfish Diligence (verse 9)
Those of us fortunate enough to have had a dad who was a diligent model of hard work have much to be grateful for. While hard work can be taken to an unwholesome extreme, many a family has a hard-working dad to thank for their survival. So hard-working fathers stay at the task…but don’t quit there; help your children discover what it means to be diligent, devoted and dedicated to a task. But never let providing things take the place of your direct involvement in their lives. For all the right reasons, diligent dads can lavish upon their children so many things that the child becomes indulged and, ultimately, irresponsible. We need to work at keeping the balance.
A Spiritual Authenticity (verses 9 – 10)
Pay close attention to the one side, “we proclaimed,” followed by the other side, “we behaved.” Like a coin, a life needs both sides before it’s considered authentic. When it comes to being a father, few things are more significant than the authenticity. Tragically, it is all too common to find Christian families where the father is not truly the spiritual leader. It is refreshing when the dad is the one who sets the pace, who takes the lead, who, more than anyone in the family, “hungers and thirst after righteousness.” I’m not talking about preaching to your family but rather being an example to your family. Demonstrating to them with your life what it means to truly love God.
A Positive Influence (verses 11 – 12)
Paul refers to his ministry in Thessalonica as being one of active encouragement, “as a father.” Isn’t that interesting? When the Apostle search for an example of someone who brought a positive influence, “a father” came to his mind. Have we lost sight of the trait of being a positive influence? More often than not fathers focus on the negative, the wrong, rather than the positive. Dan Benson, in his book The Total Man, verifies this fact with a rather disturbing statistic. After an extensive survey was taken, it was found that for one positive statement made in the homes that were surveyed, there were 10 negatives – 10 to 1! Each day of our lives we make deposits into the memory banks of our children. We should make deposits, which result in building positive lasting and strong relationships between our children and ourselves.