Christian people have the potential of being most spiritually equipped when it comes to dealing with any conflict, confrontation, or calamity that comes in life. However, while we should handle each circumstance in a way that glorifies the Lord, we all too often crumble under the pressure of it all.
The Book of Proverbs sets life in a unique perspective for the purpose of leading the reader to prepare spiritually for common experiences that confront us in life. In so many terms, the reader is encouraged to prepare wisely beforehand for the pressures that most certainly will come in one fashion or another. This perhaps is the reason one of the contributing writers of Proverbs stated straightforwardly, “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.”
While this is a startling statement, it actually begs an important question, which is, “How well do you hold up when you come under pressure? When not being pressured by anything in particular, most fantasize being stable and strong enough to hold up any pressure. But, when it counts, we do the opposite. We become an utter flop. We turn into a basket case. We melt like butter. All too often when we have opportunity to establish a legacy of victorious living, we wind up leaving a litany of defeated living.
AS GOD’S PEOPLE, WE NEED TO DO BETTER! And, if you want to do better and be better, consider three simple principles to keep in mind inherent in the writer’s statement to help us hold up well when pressured.
First, there is the specific reference to the “day of adversity.” This reference carries with it the inference of proper, spiritually-mature reaction. Some of you may curl your lip at the suggestion of it, but the needed response to adverse circumstances is none other than patience. This is true because happenings that build pressure in us often breed a sense of impatience. We feel as though adversities must be quickly dispatched though some sort of personal action—-like the snap of a finger. The only problem is that impatience often exacerbates circumstances.
One thing important for Christians is to practice the application of Scripture to difficulties in life. The second time I was in the hospital this past year I woke up one morning with the perspective that I had no hope concerning anything. I had never felt that way before. My heart and soul felt so utterly empty and frustrated. I felt like bursting out in tears. I felt like screaming. I felt like running out of the hospital.
But, I got to thinking about Scripture, and about my favorite verse, “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the (His) everlasting arms.” It took a little while, but that horrible sense of hopelessness was eventually supplanted by reassuring affirmation. Scripture, oh, most certainly, helps when we experience days of adversity.
Second, it is critical to avoid the pitfall of spiritual weakness. One matter to avoid is “fainting” — “If you faint in the day of adversity,” he says. Fainting has to do with carelessness of the soul when one carelessly yields to the pressure of outward circumstances rather than determining to be “strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” The other pitfall has to do with “smallness”—-“Your strength is small, he points out, if you faint in the day of adversity. However, remember this: one’s spiritual strength gets small when fellowship with God has been small, when worship experience with God has been small, and commitment to God is small. Do not be small in these categories so that your spiritual strength will not be small.
This leads us to the third consideration, for if you will be spiritually strong you must incorporate—-or merge—-into your life the life of Jesus Christ, His example and excellence. You must be steadying and stabilizing your life with the Word of God, its instructions and insights. You must begin to tap into the power of the Holy Spirit, His indwelling and enabling.
How you practice before the game affects how you play the game.
You and I can hold up very well when under pressure.
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author.