Are you feeling pressed in on all sides? You aren’t the only one! There is a refinement going on in the Body of Christ right now, and it’s being felt in the Western Church. Persecution is growing in the form of government interference and social agendas of groups whose mandate it to silence those who would speak the truth have already cost several believers their businesses and jobs. Parents are being harassed in several ‘progressive’ nations for taking a stand against subjecting their children to graphic sex education. Open mockery of Christian values is standard in many public school curriculums.
When we are hard pressed, it is all-too-easy to believe that we will be destroyed in the press. However, we must remember; we are in a process of refinement. It is the natural way of the supernatural life we all live. Christ lives in us, and if, in return, we are in Christ, we will walk the walk Christ walked.
Matthew 10:24-25 (MSG) – “A student doesn’t get a better desk than her teacher. A laborer doesn’t make more money than his boss. Be content—pleased, even—when you, my students, my harvest hands, get the same treatment I get. If they call me, the Master, ‘Dungface,’ what can the workers expect?”
We have been hand-picked by God! (His chosen ones)
1 Peter 2:9 – “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
We are in the process!
James 1:3-4 (MSG) -“You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”
We shall emerge refined and pure!
1 Peter 1:6-7 (MSG) -“I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it’s your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.”
Consider those circumstances that are pressing against you as an opportunity for God to refine you into a fine oil that will carry His essential oil called ‘gladness’, into hopeless situations. We can place ourselves in His press with the assurance that He will not destroy us in the process of refinement.
2 Corinthians 4:7-11 TPT – “We are like common clay jars that carry this glorious treasure within, so that the extraordinary overflow of power will be seen as God’s, not ours. Though we experience every kind of pressure, we’re not crushed. At times we don’t know what to do, but quitting is not an option. We are persecuted by others, but God has not forsaken us. We may be knocked down, but not out. We continually share in the death of Jesus in our own bodies so that the resurrection life of Jesus will be revealed through our humanity. We consider living to mean that we are constantly being handed over to death for Jesus’ sake so that the life of Jesus will be revealed through our humanity.”
The temptation to find an easy way out of God’s divine oil press will arise. We will look to others to solve our problems, be they close friends and family, government leaders, social programs or financial bailouts. Go to the Lord at such times and ask Him if He is indeed offering you a way of escape or if it is merely your flesh (self-will) that is looking for an escape route. His way is always the better way. For example, if you are constantly in debt, He could be teaching you how to be a better steward of His provision through a slow but steady debt reduction process that will require you to not give in to impulse shopping and clever marketing schemes.
It is equally as tempting to try to be a temporary fix is someone’s life when you see they are hard pressed. Remember, to do so out of season will stall the process the Lord is guiding that person through. Again, seek God’s direction before stepping in. He loves that person more than we do, and He sees the glorious prize that awaits those who keep their hand on the plow.
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All Bible verses attributed to the ESV version unless otherwise indicated.
Until Next Week
©2012, 2018 Katherine Walden
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