In 2004, Stephen Jackson, shooting guard for the San Antonio Spurs, cemented his legacy in sports media lore when he boldly declared, “I make love to pressure”, referring to his ability to hit difficult shots in clutch situations. Although Jackson’s flair for the dramatic has often transcended into off-court notoriety, with this statement, he inadvertently released silver-linings of truth that we, believers, can rally around, specifically how we merge a Christ-centered approach into the arena of pressure.
Before I continue, permit me to step back a few decades.
I don’t know about you, but when I think about pressure, I don’t automatically default to strawberry fields and pocket full of posies. If careless, I can allow stress and worry to overwhelm me to the point of fear, whether rejection, failure or unmet expectations. Deep down, I believe in the divinely created man who will consistently ride waves of grace and supernatural strength to victory in the face of pressure; however, on the surface, I can, at times, wrestle with my own preconceptions of pressure and its corresponding triggers. Thus, as the dichotomy between outer angst and innate faith expands, I am compelled to make an important decision. In light of James 1:2-3, will I cave into vain misunderstandings or consider troubles as joys to behold?
If we sincerely believe in the goodness instilled in us by a supremely sovereign God, and desire to advance our faith, hope and love in Him, we have to shake off hesitation and position ourselves to apply perseverance into pressure. As we walk in this, we will discover how perseverance helps renew faith, sharpen discernment, strengthen hope, anchor prayer and cultivate steadfast love, all the while, teaching us how to receive new life and refreshment from the Lord through His resurrecting power. In all things, we are given the capacity to overwhelmingly conquer through Him who first loved us (Romans 8:37).
So don’t just respect pressure from a distance; go out of your way to appreciate it up close. Don’t go looking for trouble, but believe that God will equip you to endure the trials, adversities and pressures you encounter. The truth is there will be times when God gives you more than what you can handle (Note: many people misinterpret 1 Corinthians 10:13; the reality is God will not let you be tempted beyond your ability), but at the same time, He gives us the gift of perseverance to make it through without succumbing to the flesh. How great is our God? I’m under no pressure whatsoever to proclaim the greatness that He is.
• Voiced by Kurt Warner, former NFL (National Football League) quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals
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