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From the tunnel where I stood, I could only see a few of the sections where students were seated in the arena. Once the two thousand students had been herded into the designated sections I was scheduled to speak at the student event following the NBA game. In a matter of minutes, I would be introduced to give the Gospel message.

The overtime game created greater time constraints on the midnight deadline for vacating the building. Television commentators were still wrapping up interviews in plain view of the students and across the court curious fans were lingering.

Additionally, both I and the students knew the only thing standing between pizza, soda, arcades, inflatables, and their all-night event was me – and the message I was about to deliver.

The pressure was mounting!

You may never experience this type of pressure but you will come face to face with your own pressured experience. Pressure is a natural part of our daily lives but it is different for everyone. It is influenced by who we are as individuals, maturity levels, family dynamics, socioeconomic factors, culture, vision and faith.

I am not suggesting we default to excuses. However, we must consider the factors which influence the equation causing pressure in our lives and the lives of others. Pressures do not go away because we simply think happy thoughts.

The book of Psalms repeatedly exposes the life of David in pressured situations. Many times he is being attacked or is in a less than secure situation. David’s response to pressure is never dismissive but rather redirective on his focus. In times of pressure David shows us Four Keys to Making Pressure Productive.

  1. Trust in God’s unfailing love. David never loses sight of the “forever love” of God, even in the tough times. This is not to say he does not struggle with the tension of doubt. (Psalm 103)
  2. Look for God’s lessons for your life. I am not suggesting we have to be giddy about problems. The pressures we face are real but so are the valuable lessons we can learn from them. Remember, not every problem is a punishment. (Psalm 119)

My friend, Dr. Ray Pritchard of Keep Believing Ministries addresses this well in one of his books. He contrasts a “victim” and a “student.”

A victim says, “Why did this happen to me?” A student says, “What can I learn from this?”

A victim blames others for his problems. A student asks, “How much of this did I bring on myself?”

A victim looks at everyone else and cries out, “Life isn’t fair!” A student looks at life and says, “What happened to me could have happened to anybody.”

A victim believes hard times have come because God is trying to punish him. A student understands that God allows hard times in order to help him grow.

 A victim would rather complain than find a solution. A student has no time to complain because he is busy making the best of his situation.

 A victim feels so sorry for himself that he has no time for others. A student so focuses on helping others that he has no time to feel sorry for himself.

 A victim begs God to remove all the problems of life so he can be happy. A student has learned through the problems of life that God alone is the source of true happiness.

  1. Learn to wait on God. Let’s face it: when pressure comes, the easiest course of action is to run from it. Many times that means running ahead of, or away from, God. (Psalm 40)
  2. Surround yourself with godly friends. Having a support system to give encouragement, advice and positive criticism is vital when we are facing pressure. (Psalm 1)

Making pressure productive is not easy or enjoyable but it can be edifying. How are you handling the pressures in your life?

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