Her walk changed to a swim in the ocean. As she stepped into the surf again and let the waters surround her on all sides, joy filled her heart. She thought, I almost missed all this beauty.
The greatest gift you can bring to the world is becoming the woman God created you to be. The Holy Spirit breathes spiritual gifts into our lives the moment we become a Christian. As we exhale by following Jesus with all of our heart, the light of his love burns brightly against the backdrop of a dark world. Indeed, we have a great responsibility to cultivate those gifts deep within our soul and share them with many (Ephesians 4:11–12; Romans 12:1–12; Matthew 25:14–28).
But as we live in this passion, we find ourselves pressed (2 Corinthians 4:8–10). We choose to live differently and find rejection. We step out there and share our pearls only to have others trample on this treasure. Make no mistake about it—when you live for Jesus, not everyone will accept your light because it threatens their darkness. Serving Jesus means experiencing ridicule and rejection.
Finding yourself in distress after you have cultivated your gifts for God’s glory naturally creates doubt and sometimes depression. Should you quit? Was your calling real?
Treasured one, are you feeling pressed on all sides today? Jesus knows how you feel. Don’t quit to avoid the agony. Instead take a deep breath, arm yourself with Christ’s attitude, and expect a greater anointing (1 Peter 4:1).
Jesus never allowed the future agony of the cross to stop him from advancing to his divine destination because he saw resurrection on the other side. Never let suffering stop you from serving Jesus. Instead, pray you will see the situation as Jesus did.
Our Savior’s future crucifixion hung heavy in his heart amidst the background of olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus asked his disciples to pray for him and described his soul this way: “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death” (Mark 14:34 NLT). Have you ever felt that way? Jesus knows what it feels like to have your soul pressed. Jesus cried out to the Father.
He fell to the ground and prayed for a way out: “Papa, Father, you can—can’t you?—get me out of this. Take this cup away from me. But please, not what I want—what do you want?” – Mark 14:35–36 MSG
Jesus asked for a way out but ultimately surrendered to God’s will. To be clear, God does not call you to seek suffering, as some mistakenly do to gain their identity from a martyr complex. Nor does he call you to avoid the agony by using unhealthy measures to escape the pain. God calls you to seek your Savior—and when suffering is a part of your journey to embrace it, knowing you are his child. There is nothing you are facing today that God cannot help you through.
Often we experience a greater anointing on the other side of our agony. Gethsemane, the oil garden where Jesus prayed before his crucifixion, actually means to press. We will all find ourselves in a “Gethsemane” in our journey. In the pathway we follow to walk out our passion, we will be pressed. Much as olives are pressed to create oil, our pressing often ushers in a greater power of the Holy Spirit we will need for our purpose because it pushes us to depend completely on Jesus. Oil is frequently symbolic of the Holy Spirit in the Bible. The agony in your Gethsemane is the very avenue to a greater anointing of the Holy Spirit.
We have a responsibility to handle this rite of passage with an attitude that says, I will not compromise on my commitment to Christ. The glory is on the other side. Never let suffering stop you from serving Jesus. See it the way Jesus did, treasured one.
Perfect love moving each step, Jesus never compromised his commitment. He saw beyond the cross to the glory.
Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. – Hebrews 12:2–3 NLT
Don’t give up! The enemy of your soul would love you to quit right before you break through to the light. Arm yourself with the same attitude as Christ! Never compromise on your commitment to complete God’s will.
What is your passion? Are you using it serve others . . . or has suffering called you to pull your gift back to the shelf? See pressing as a part of a process to increase God’s power in your life, and find your motivation to keep moving forward by remembering that Jesus never quit in his love for you.