Leaders and Pressure
Leadership and life itself is full of pressure. The pressure comes from within and from without. Some stresses are self-imposed and some are unexpectedly born. Regardless of the source, we chafe under pressure, wanting to throw off the strains that sap our life blood and divert our attention.
In Isaiah 5 we find a metaphor of the vineyard referring to God’s people. God is described and planting the choicest vines in His vineyard and building a hedge of protection and a watchtower in the midst of it.
But God also builds a winepress in the middle of His vineyard, for it is only through the use of this press that the desired results can be obtained. Grapes are grown to be pressed in order to release the juice stored within them. Without the pressing of the grapes no wine will be produced. And so too are we pressed to shape us into the desired image of Christ.
God’s press comes in multiple forms. It can be relationship stresses, financial pressures, external threats to the mission or task, health issues–the list is seemingly endless. All are used by God to drive us out of our self-reliance and into dependence upon Him.
In 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 we read of Paul’s press that God was using in his own life and how he was responding to it.
“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, 11 as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.”
Note that the pressure Paul describes was far beyond what he thought he could handle, even to the point of wanting to give up and die. He summarizes it all by saying that the purpose was to force him to rely on God, not himself. In closing he makes this conclusion – the Lord has delivered in the past, He will deliver them from their current difficulties, and will also continue to deliver them when they face more challenges in the future.
God wants dependent children, not independent ones. Lean into and embrace the press that you are under. Don’t run from it. Rely on Him and let Him accomplish all that He intends through this in and through you.