By Evans Tokunbo Emmanuel
12. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
13. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Ministry has its basic pressures but not all pressures are right pressures. The pressure of ministry is derived from the pressure of being a Christian, an extension of that, so to say.
Every Christian must apply certain pressure of faith to break whatever barriers to get into the kingdom of God. We must fight the fight of faith, we must contented for the faith, we must war a good warfare. There is no place for complacency and ease, otherwise, we are swept away. We must press into the kingdom.
16. The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.
There is then the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus which we must press towards to attain, if we would ever lay hold on the purpose for which Christ had laid hold on us…
The understanding of God’s will in this regard puts certain pressure on a servant of God to also transmit same pressure to his pursuit of the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
But then we have other things that unnecessarily put pressure on us, which pressure we also transmit unnecessarily onto other systems.
We have the pressure of the world. We unnecessarily want to attain what our counterparts in the world or outside ministry have attained. We come under the pressure of worldly attainments and lose the pressure of the kingdom like Demas. Many of us don’t have to leave where we are unlike Demas, to have left Christ because of our love for the present world!
We come under the pressure of performance. We want to make the world or the church see what we are doing or what we can do. There is nothing wrong in wanting to perform to the strength God gives us. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. But we shouldn’t seek to perform beyond the strength God has given otherwise, we come under a bone crushing pressure to perform, that produces nothing.
Pressure of acceptance. Yes, apostle Paul asked the Romans to pray for him so that the offering of his gifts would be acceptable to the brethren in Jerusalem, Romans 15. But we should not bring ourselves under such pressures of human acceptance, rather we should seek to be acceptable unto God. Human approval without God’s approval is disapproval! We must know exactly what we really want.
There is the pressure of self satisfaction. We have personal goals and dreams we want to achieve. We often erroneously use the platform Christ has given us in ministry to pursue those and we often accomplish them, but would our personal satisfaction also satisfy God even when we had not pursued His own satisfaction?
There are so many other kinds of pressures we bring ourselves under unnecessarily that may push us into doing things contrary to God’s word and to His Spirit.
There are people under the pressure to defend their integrity, to defend their churches’ membership and attendance, pressure to cover up crisis and scandals, pressure to sustain a home, pressure to be financially free and so on…
Eventually, pressure gets something broken, we don’t have to wait till we are pressured into doing evil or getting into trouble. That subtle pressure can create a different person unknown in the book of life, so avoid it.
The world is going through financial crisis and the church would feel the impact but we should keep ourselves strong in God through unfailing faith and faithfulness. We must be careful for nothing but be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
Finally, let us remember that what has been kept in our charge can only be managed by the Holy Spirit who lives within us. So, let’s become more connected to the Holy Spirit and learn to engage Him in handling the pressures that come upon us and we will do well.
Let each check what kind of pressure, he or she is under, and let each destroy the monster he or she has created that’s causing unnecessary trouble and threats and be free from unnecessary pressures to pursue that one thing… The mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus…laying hold on the reason for which Christ laid hold on each one of us!
Have a marvelous rest of the week and keep yourself in the love of God. I love you so much!
2 Timothy 1
14. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.