Bible Reading: Matthew 26:36-44, Proverbs 24:10
Have you ever been met with a shock expression of one of your abilities? Like you can cook?! Or you can dance?! and you are perplexed at the question because you are thinking, sometimes out loud, that “what do people that do these things look like?”
I feel that is the story of a diamond. When you see it, you are like wow! So beautiful. After which you hear what it can do and sometimes, you are confused. You are thinking why would I use something so expensive and elegant for drilling or engraving?
The appearance of a diamond is not the only special thing about a diamond, another peculiar feature is its hardness. Diamonds are made from carbon under intense pressure, this pressure differentiates it from graphite, which is found in pencils. This process makes it the hardest natural material. The hardness is the reason it can do other things apart from looking beautiful.
I can see other carbon materials saying, “I want to be a diamond when I grow up”. Until they see the pressure and they begin to think, graphite is not so bad. In local lingo, “I cannot come and go and kill myself”.
This is the story of our journey as Christians sometimes, I feel, I want to be like Jesus. Then the process begins and a million questions pop in my head, the most common is “who sent me?”.
A Jesus journey is not a call to ease, it is rather a call to trust. Trusting comes with a lot of uncertainty and that can be pressuring. Then, there is life- life comes with peer pressure, parental pressure, societal pressure, financial pressure, etc.
The good news is that believing in Jesus, takes the weight off these pressures and gives us a different kind of pressure. The pressure needed to become who God wants us to be and our comfort as Christians is that we have an example in Jesus.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2-3 (NIV)
Jesus showed us a perfect example when he was under pressure in the garden of Gethsemane. He was overwhelmed but he didn’t let it crush him. He went to the place of prayer and was strengthened. His focus was the joy, the end was the glory. He is the reason we don’t lose heart in the process.
Pressure is often overwhelming and seemingly unending. It is drains you of strength and stretches you to new possibilities. In the process of being drained of strength, you find new strength if do not disrupt the process.
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many. 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 (NIV)
When faced with pressure of any kind, do not rely on your strength but on the strength God provides. The pressure is intended to increase your value, so don’t fight the pressure, embrace it. The pressure is not to crush you, it is part of the process. Pressure is the difference between a graphite and a diamond. Pressure is an essential part in the story of becoming and all you need is strength. The place of prayer is where strength is supplied.
Something To Pray
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. Ephesians 3:16-17
Jide volunteers with the Bible Engagement Team at Sycamore