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ANB 30, Faith Under Pressure

“Then they went to a place called Gethsemane, and He said to His disciples, ‘sit down here while
I pray. And He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be struck with terror and
amazement and deeply troubled and depressed. And He said to them, My soul is exceedingly
sad so that it almost kills Me . . He fell on the ground and kept praying that if it were possible the
fatal hour might pass from Him. And he said, ‘Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee;
take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. . . And He cometh
the third time and saith unto them, ‘sleep on now, and take your rest; it is enough, the hour is
come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.’” (Mark 14:32-41).

Let’s talk today about pressure and opposition for the saints. Now let me say this quickly, if you
are still in the world, living according to its precepts, traditions and sinful ways, then your
problems are your own fault. God doesn’t cause bad things to happen to you. I believe whether
God even allows these things to happen is debatable. While God loves you, if your life has
nothing to do with God, what does God have to do with your life. Your problems and situations
are the products of your own unGodly choices, they are not God’s fault or even by His
permission. If you don’t serve the Lord and operate by His Word He has limited protection over
you, for even the protection He could have you try yourself to destroy by the sinful ways. It’s
like a person having sex with anyone he can and then crying out to God when He gets an STD
‘why did you let this happen.’ As if God had anything to do with it. God really can’t protect
you when you actively place yourself at risk and don’t do anything to get Him involved.

So aside from that, what we’re talking about today is the pressure that confronts the saints. No, I
don’t mean perfect people, I mean those of you who are taking active strides towards the Lord.
Even if you are just starting to pray or pick up your Bible for the first time, Praise God. Your
true life begins. But, believe me, so will demonic opposition. The devil hates you as much as
God loves you. he hates you with all he is. he knows his end approaches, and all he wants to do
is take as many with him as he can. If he knows you’re already going to heaven, then he wants
to make you experience hell on earth. If you follow the Lord, you will experience trials, you will
be under pressure. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of
them all.” (Psalm 34:19).

But this picture of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane provides fascinating insight into how we
are to operate when under pressure and just how this should work for the Lord’s people. First a
few preliminaries. Jesus was under the greatest mental pressure of His life at this time. He knew
He would go to the cross, but He was in agony over this truth. He had to get His mind in the
right place to complete His race. He sweat blood here. That is pressure.

But ‘Gethsemane’ literally means ‘olive oil press,’ and what it really refers to is the oil bursting
forth after the pressure comes. Now oil is symbolic of the anointing. We have all heard of
anointing oil as an old testament or even a church tradition. But for us New Testament believers
the anointing is the supernatural empowerment of God. The anointing comes when the Holy
Spirit is fully operational within you and you are fulfilling God’s call for your life. I am
anointed to write these letters, my father is anointed to pastor his church. If we do what God has
for us to do in life, we are always supernaturally empowered to do so. This empowerment is
referred to as the anointing.

So what we see in this picture is that when the greatest pressure was applied to Jesus, so also His
anointing burst forth. He told God, “not My will, but what You will.” He, (like us being fully
man) by the power of God working within and through Him, got His mind in line and overcame
this pressure. And so it should be with you.

“We are pressed on every side (troubled and oppressed in every way, but not cramped or
crushed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8).

Paul, the greatest missionary to ever live, wrote He “was pressed on every side.” But did Paul
give in or quit, never. Read 2 Corinthians 11:23-30. He suffered pressure like few ever have.
He faced demonic pressure and earthly pressure, but every time, just like as happened with Jesus,
his anointing burst forth and he came through it all. Praise God.

Right now you may only be just beginning, but you have an anointing. If you are saved through
Jesus Christ, you are anointed to read and understand the Word of God. You are anointed to
make it to church, you are anointed to stay up and pray. You have the ability within you to do
more for God, praise the Lord. Begin to trust this and trust God’s ability that He has placed
within you. The Kingdom of God is not a place for slackers, we are overcomes praise the Lord.
We overcome the pressure by the power of our God.

You will face pressure to stop serving the Lord. The more you do for God, the more pressure
you will face. The harder you push, the harder it gets. But that is only at first. The more
pressure you face, the more anointed you will feel, you will always have all that you need to
press on. Praise God. “You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.” Philippians
4:13. Do you know what the word “Christ” means, “The Anointed One and His Anointing.”
Praise God. We are also the anointed ones, because we came under the anointing of Jesus Christ.
As you press forward, you will feel God strengthening you. As you persevere, you will feel God
carry you. You will feel power and enthusiasm, excitement and joy rising from deep within you,
and you can carry on. This is the Anointing, and without it we are lost.

You must step out in faith. When the pressure comes, you must trust in Christ and His Words.
Then as you move in faith, you will feel the anointing on you.

Glory to God, He doesn’t just call the strong or mighty in the natural. He calls us all and then
gives us the strength we need to run our race. If you are week, you will be made strong. (2
Corinthians 12:10).

So look for pressure, rejoice when you feel it. Step out in faith and persevere, then feel the
anointing take you through. This happens as you serve the Lord and walk out His calling on
your life. It does not happen otherwise. You are never anointed to do what God does not have
for you. You will be overcome and the pressure will crush. But praise be to God, that doesn’t
apply to us, we are the Anointed of the Lord, and we seek His will for our lives. Hallelujah.