Summary: How do you deal with pressure? Daniel had his life hanging by a thread and he handled it well. But, How?
When the Pressure Is On
Griffith Baptist Church – 3/9/08
Text: Daniel 2:1-18
Endurance The Thresher was a submarine that could go to great depths because of its great strength. The steel bulkheads were built to withstand great pressure of tons of sea water. But it went too deep once and was finally crushed into little pieces like a plastic model. Yet there are little fish that live even deeper in the sea than the submarine went. How do those little fish survive?
How do you deal with pressure?
Some deal with it in negative ways:
Transition Statement: When we hear an unfamiliar noise in our car that we know doesn’t belong there, we want to pinpoint the source so we can take care of the right problem. We also need to know the source of stress in our lives so we can take care of it as well.
1. The Source of Stress – 1-13
A. People (1-3)
i. When people are right with God, they are apt to be hard on themselves and easy on other people. but when they are not right with God, they are easy on themselves and hard on others. - John Newton
ii. Nebuchadnezzer was a man that needed pleasing; He was the boss
iii. Others around them were keeping a watchful eye
iv. It is not wrong to want to please others, but what is our deepest desire beyond that?
v. Ephesians 6:6 - Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; 6Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;
B. Performance (3, 5-6, 9)
i. A juggler, driving to his next performance, is stopped by the police. ’What are those machetes doing in your car?" asks the cop.
’I juggle them in my act."
’Oh, yeah?" says the doubtful cop. ’Let’s see you do it." The juggler gets out and starts tossing and catching the knives. Another man driving by slows down to watch.
’Wow," says the passer-by. ’I’m glad I quit drinking. Look at the test they’re giving now!"
Contributed by Natalie Kaplowitz, Reader’s Digest, May, 1994, p. 67
ii. Pressure to do what you are supposed to do and do it well (nothing wrong with that) – 1 Corinthians 10:31 - Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
iii. Pressure to take up someone else’s slack
iv. Pressure to play politics in order to get ahead
C. Persecution (5, 9)
i. This is not necessarily persecution for your faith
ii. It can be bullying or harassment
iii. It can be harsh treatment because you didn’t live up to their expectations
iv. Here King Nebuchadnezzer offers a grisly death as a reward for failure. No pressure there!
v. John 16:33 - These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
D. Poverty (4, 7, 10)
i. Means “a lack of”
ii. Lack of finances to pay those bills
iii. Lack of education to understand certain principles
iv. Lack of skills to perform certain tasks
v. Here these scam artists passing themselves off as wise men have some problems:
a. Consternation – 4
b. Perspiration – 7
c. Desperation – 10-11
vi. Plainly, this is poverty of honesty and integrity
Transition Statement: Now that we know some of the things that can cause stress in our lives, let’s take a look at the solution to stress.
2. The Solution to Stress – 14-18
A. Apply Discretion (14)
i. This is wisdom
ii. Discernment in Scripture is the skill that enables us to differentiate. It is the ability to see issues clearly. We desperately need to cultivate this spiritual skill that will enable us to know right from wrong. We must be prepared to distinguish light from darkness, truth from error, best from better, righteousness from unrighteousness, purity from defilement, and principles from pragmatics. Fan The Flame, J. Stowell, Moody, 1986, p. 44
iii. Ability or power to decide responsibly
iv. It pays to be calm, step back and think through the situation
B. Avoid Anger
i. An author for READERS DIGEST writes how he studied the Amish people in preparation for an article on them. In his observation at the school yard, he noted that the children never screamed or yelled. This amazed him. He spoke to the schoolmaster. He remarked how he had not once heard an Amish child yell, and asked why the schoolmaster thought that was so. The schoolmaster replied, “Well, have you ever heard an Amish adult yell?” Counter Attack, Jay Carty, Multnomah Press, 1988, p. 41ff