Monday, March 10, 2014

The pressure is on!

After having the luxury of studying the book of 1 Samuel for two entire weeks (A snow storm canceled our last weekends Sunday service), the life of Israel's first King, Saul, really got my attention! Many believers spend their time in the New Testament reading about Jesus' ministry, His death and resurrection, and then move on to what Paul and other writers had to say about our new life in Christ, but the Old Testament is every bit as important. Why? It shows us the need for a Savior, even when we we've already been saved!
King Saul, chosen by God accepted by men was Israel's first King. He was an impressive looking man, head and shoulders above the entire nation. He wasn't prideful, couldn't boast about battles won or a great heritage (the tribe of benjamin was the smallest tribe). But soon after his appointment as king, the power went to his head. He made some really bad decisions.
At Gigal ( 2 Samuel 13) he offered a sacrifice that wasn't his to make, and after a great victory (chapter 15) he kept some spoils of victory that weren't his to keep. His life appears much like ours.True, we may not be kings of a kingdom and our jobs may not hold the importance of a monarchy, but the pressure to succeed pushes us to do and say things we shouldn't. In our desire to be someone in the eyes of people, we forget that in the eyes of God, in Christ, we are all we will ever be. No more and definitely no less!
God gave us Christ, to take the pressure from us, not place more upon our shoulders.
Matthew 11
29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
         This is something I am in constant need of reminding. As a Pastor, I want the church to be a certain way, I want people to respond in a certain manner. As a father and grandfather I want my children and grandchildren to grow up to be responsible and Godly people, but understanding that I can't make anyone do anything or that I am not responsible for the complete well-being of others, takes the pressure off of me and places those responsibilities in the lap of My Lord. True I have duties and responsibilities (raising my children in a Godly home as well as leading and loving those I serve in church), but the outcome is out of my control.
          None of this means that we should ever settle for second best, or become complacent in our roles (whatever those may be). We should  "do everything as unto the Lord".  But this also means that we don't don't take on the role of messiah.  As long as we are walking the talk, we are doing exactly what God is expecting.
            The pressure we place on ourselves is usually from an expectation of wanting to see certain results. As long as we can say to God, "Lord I did it your way" then the pressure is off. Our concern won't be what people think of us or the results, but what God thinks of us. And if we have done all we can do in faith (remember faith in Christ is the only thing that pleases God), then while we may still be concerned for others, the outcome is in God's hands where it belongs. Take a couple of hours and read 2 Samuel. See how a life full of promise, can go downhill quickly when the pressure to please people or ourselves becomes to great.

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