Watch or listen…
Have you ever felt like there is no point like you have no purpose and that feeling causes you to stop, to feel stuck, and you can’t move forward?
Did you know that these feelings of disillusionment, discouragement, and frustration is not from God? It comes from what we expect and what our reality is. This creates a gap between where we are now and where we think we should be. Then, pressure starts to build inside of us that is more difficult to manage when outside pressures and circumstances appear in our life. The key is to build up enough mental toughness so that when external pressures come, like job loss, too many bills, marital strife, and sickness (to name a few), then we won’t get crushed.
Key Passage: 2 Corinthians 4:5-10, 16-18 NLT
5 You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake.6 For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. [a] This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.
16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are[a] being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
A snapshot into the Apostle Paul’s life
In 2 Corinthians 4, we catch a glimpse of what Paul is experiencing as he tries to encourage this church. He acknowledges that they are feeling multiple pressure points – all at once. But this is how he deals with it:
- I AM NOT CRUSHED … (Physically I can handle it)
- I AM NOT PERPLEXED … (Mentally I can deal with it)
- I AM NOT IN DESPAIR … (My Hope is not in what I am seeing)
Q: What pressure points are you dealing with? Look at the three bullet points above and re-rewrite your pressure points in a way that proves you can deal with multiple pressure points – even all at once.
Do not be deceived …
Just because there are men and women that can make it look easy, we can’t make assumptions about how they stand strong, stay mentally tough, and fight the good fight. Don’t deceive yourself by what you see on the outside — Sometimes it’s not that easy on the inside!
You saw the results of what I did….
- You didn’t see the doubts that were fighting with me around every cure
- You didn’t see the stress that was trying to push me to the floor
- You didn’t see the kingdom of darkness harassing me saying that I’m making the wrong choice
- Have you ever compared your situation to someone else’s? How did that make you feel?
Have you heard the saying that “Pressure makes Diamonds”?
It can make Diamonds but ….
- It also can make dumb decisions
- It can also make divorces
- It can make cowards
- It can make you do things you wouldn’t normally do
- How can you change your focus so that you know you will be making diamonds from the pressure instead of “dumb decisions”
Can you be mentally tough?
Or does that outside pressure just absolutely cave you in? It’s time to rise up and say, “I will not be broken by what’s been going on. I won’t be broken”.
I think the reality is we can usually deal with pressure. Especially when we know where it’s coming from and there’s an end in sight. I can deal with a little bit of pressure; I’ll get a different job, or we’ll figure out how to pay the bills.
I can do it I’m sure there’s going to be a light at the end of the tunnel but and when you can’t tell where it’s coming from or the pressure is coming from everywhere – with no relief in sight?
This scripture suggests that pressure can crush me. If I allow it. Again, you read it for yourself. We’re pressed on every side by trouble, but we are not crushed.
Q: Where you fall on a scale of 1-10 on mental toughness? What do you need to do to increase your mental toughness?
Paul lays this out so clearly and it is important for us to understand…
How we deal with pressure will really define the dummy versus the diamond.
- We are hunted down…but not abandoned
- We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed
Without some good stuff poured into it, the vessel will crumble with pressure from the outside. The point of the pressure is to break the vessel and to get you to abandon all hope. The point of the pressure is to get you to stop walking down the path that you’re on. The point of the pressure is to ultimately get you to break and just give up. That’s the point of the pressure.
Therefore, never give up!
That should be the hallmark of the child of God, we cannot be defeated, I will not quit, and I will not give up. I won’t, even though it doesn’t look exceptionally good, but here’s Paul’s encouragement that we should be being renewed every day. The reason why I won’t give up tomorrow is that I’m going to put some more inside of the vessel. So, I won’t give up tomorrow either.
Let’s decide today.
- My words are going to line up with his words
- My thoughts are going to line up with his thoughts
- My attitudes going to line up with his attitude.
- I may have the pressure but I’m not going to be crushed.
- There may be some things I need to figure out but I’m not going to be perplexed.
- I’m not going to be abandoned
- I’m not going to give up hope
Q. What decisions did you make today? What will you try to do differently in the future?