Christians are not immune to pressure simply because Christ dwells within. We face pressures in this world just as everyone else does. The difference is the consciousness that we are on the winning side, fighting from a position of victory we already have.
We face pressure to meet career expectations, for instance, and this has led some Christians to neglect personal fellowship with God and corporate fellowship with other believers. Furthermore, many Christians, under pressure to meet targets, have compromised morally. There is also pressure to dress like the world, to abandon integrity and cut corners, and to never be content no matter how much money we make.
And can we forget family pressure — to marry, to have children, to be “not so spiritual” (you no holy pass, abeg!)? There are countless ways our family members put pressure on us to sin against God or to walk outside His purpose for our lives.
How can we handle these pressures?
- Identify the source of the pressure: In her song, “Broken”, Kristy Starling sings, “Somewhat embarrassed to admit this, but I wonder if it’s the other, or if it’s You; is it him who’s trying to tempt me, or is it You who strengthens me?”
Often the enemy brings temptations our way to push us into sin. However, sometimes we are becoming too comfortable in a situation or staying past the time we are supposed to be there, and God makes circumstances around us uncomfortable in order to push us to reach our next level. The brook had to dry up in order for Elijah to get up and move to Zarephath. Be sensitive to what God is saying.
- Make your values known to everyone: A little leaven, the Bible says, leavens the whole lump. A little compromise here and a little sin there leads to a life of error. Let people know your stand. That way your reputation and firmness precede you, and you won’t struggle for long with people who try to make you bend.
- Take godly action each time: This is one reason why it’s important for you to know the Word. When faced with choices, find out from the Bible (ask godly counsellors to show you if you don’t know what the Bible says about a particular issue), what you should do, and do it.
In everything, pleasing God should be paramount in your mind. He will help you; “For it is God who is producing in you both the desire and the ability to do what pleases him.” (Philippians 2:13)