Pressure is all around us (part 2)

by Justin Brown, Assistant Baseball Coach at Mount Vernon Nazarene University (OH)

Check out part 1 of ‘Pressure is all around us’ here

Pressure causes us to make desperate decisions, the question then arises, when the pressure is on, how do I keep being the person that I want to be?

I think the most rewarding thing about being a follower of Jesus is that as we seen him in the scriptures we are able to see that he faced the same things that we are facing. I once read that in the Gospels we see Jesus experience over twenty different emotions. He was an emotional being just like us. In one story we see his emotions begin to enter the scene, we see him face a level of worry, angst, dread, and fear that we have a hard time even imagining.

The story is in Matthew chapter 26. “Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane…” Gethsemane literally means “Oil Press” or “Place of Pressure.” It was a garden that produced Olive Oil and it is the scene of a place in which Jesus would begin to face the wrath of God. When we read the story and hear Jesus pray, we can see that he is in utter anguish. He takes his three best friends and asks them to watch for him. “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” He goes a little further and falls on his face praying “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Jesus is literally about to be the recipient of all of God’s Just vengeance, for every sin that has been committed, is being committed, and will be committed. The intense dread, anguish, and fear is far beyond what we can even comprehend, however the story serves as an amazing example of how Jesus pushes back against his own emotions and stays the course for the purpose of which he came. Isn’t that what we are all after? “To stay the course for the purpose for which we came.” How did he do it?

• Intimacy with God: Jesus had such an intimate relationship with his Dad. When the heat was on he leaned in to the love of God. When the heat is on, and you are feeling the pressure, you do not want to be searching for intimacy with God, reaching and grasping into the air. You want to be leaning in to the presence of God. Jesus views God as a father, not a military drill sergeant. He is a father who wants to be invited in to your anguish. Jesus prays “God I do NOT want to do this, I want relief, I want out of here. I know you want something different, so I want to want what you want.” It is his intimacy and trust of his loving Dad that helps him through the anguish.

• God Cares More About Your Life Than You Do: Imagine if we believed this. Imagine if you believed that God loves you more than you love yourself. Imagine if you believed that he had your best interest in mind. The moments of intense pressure would turn in to moments of praise and drawing nearer to God.

• The Language Forms the Perspective or Posture: My feelings are saying one thing, but your feelings are saying another. “My Father, if it is possible let this cup pass from me, nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Jesus is saying in modern terms “Nevertheless, not what I am feeling, but what you are feeling, I trust.” The language we use will form our perspective.

• His Love Never Quits: What kept the Son of God on his mission to save humanity was the reminder that. “His love never quits.” Psalm 136:1 “Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.” or in the Message version “Thanks God! He deserves your thanks. His love never quits.” When you are in pain, when you are under pressure, you want relief, the only thing that will sustain you is an understanding and reminder that “His love never quits!” What will keep you on your mission are not mere principles, or “digging deep within yourself” it is a reminder that HIS love never quits.