Are you feeling the pressure of life?
In Mark 10 Jesus promised his faithful followers an 100 fold blessing for all they would give up to follow him. You might have heard this verse quoted often by prosperity t.v. evangelists attempting to get you to ‘sow’ into their ministry. What they usually fail to add, is the somewhat ominous warning tacked onto this promise. That with these blessings would come persecutions. Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.”
The greek work for ‘persecutions’ here is diógmos. It means “the hunt to bring someone down like an animal,” and “trying to suppress (punish) their convictions”.
Sounds pretty familiar; ” Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
The thing Jesus was saying is that when we become believers we are entering into his spiritual kingdom. It can’t be seen (yet) but it is real. We become heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. Romans 8:17 Which is really awesome but it also means that we now have a mortal enemy- Satan- and we will have to contend with spiritual forces. Every step forward we make will be met with oppostion- the persecution Jesus spoke of.
We all have a mix of blessings and hard things in our lives. We all deal with pressures and fears.
It is God’s will that we would allow the hard things to shape and mold us. That we would go from proverbial lumps of coal into beautiful diamonds in the faith.
A diamond starts out as coal and through intense heat and pressure is molded into diamond. Did you know that diamonds are the hardest substance found in nature? That are also among the most durable. And of course, dazzling and highly valuable.
When it comes between differentiating between diamonds and cubic zirconia (aka real vs. fake)- diamonds conduct heat while c.z. stones retain it. Diamonds will almost always have natural flaws despite polishing. And diamonds shine brighter than the lab created stones.
Let’s keep trusting that even while life is hard, God is good. He sees our lives in the light of eternity. He allows hardships and pain that will ultimately be for our good. He wants us to cooperate with his plan, to keep trusting, to allow ourselves to become like diamonds that are strong yet beautiful. That we would allow the impurities to be cleansed from our lives so that we can more brilliantly reflect the light of our Heavenly Father.
What the enemy is throwing at you today- know that God is going to turn around for your good- as long as you keep trusting and following. Genesis 50:20
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-10