Pressure & Perseverance
As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands.
Pressure and stress typically surface when I have too much going on, and/or when I don’t know what I’m doing. The reason joy can be found in keeping God’s commands like this verse suggests is because when you’re doing what God asks of you, then you know what you’re doing is right and good in the midst of what’s going on.
How else is it possible to persevere? When someone is going through a trying circumstance, what is it that will enable them to persevere... just the passage of time? Do they just wait it out? Maybe. But what if it takes too long? Isn’t that where “giving up” comes in?
Believers can be sure that they do not need to “give up” when pressure or stress presents itself in our lives. Continuing to do what we’re doing – following Jesus, obeying his teaching and trusting him – is what enables perseverance. When I don’t know what to do, I know I can simply do what I already know God wants me to do (trust him, don’t repay an insult with another insult, help others, forgive, be kind and generous...). His commands do actually bring joy because I find I don’t have to become frozen with inaction or crazy with overreactions, which are both typical responses to stressful and pressure filled situations. I have rules to keep that aren’t meant to bog me down but actually guide me through difficult times and help me persevere.
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12)
A crown of life for perseverance sounds like JOY to me. Thank you that nothing with you is for no reason. Thank you that you have given us your Word and your Holy Spirit to show and remind us what to do in all situations, even stressful ones. Thank you that I can confidently follow you and for the peace and joy that accompany that knowing that you have shown me how to please you and serve you; YOU are the only One who matters. And I love you and thank you and pray in Jesus’ name, amen.