The Pain and Pressure Factor – the ingredient necessary for anyone who wants to reach a nation or sphere
“…Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12:24
Your life’s like a seed and is precious to God, and you are of great value. As you lay down your life in prayer, fasting, or even endure the suffering of persecution, and trial, a great spiritual principle gets activated. Your life can be an access point for breakthrough in a nation or people group. Take a look…
“For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I have given Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in your place. Since you are precious and honoured in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life” (Isaiah 43:3–4, NASB).
This scripture should be of great encouragement to us today! There is in the economy of God a compensation plan for your endurance in Kingdom work and calling. This compensation plan looks like this.
PRINCIPLE: God must reward your suffering and endurance with something of equal value or greater than your own life—a life, lives, and even nations. God wants to compensate your suffering with souls!
This kind of thinking contradicts some extremist views that money, cars, and material wealth is your inheritance. After all, your life is of such great value and your sacrifice for those God has called you to reach is so holy and precious that mere paper and material things could never be an eternal reward for all you have been through. God must reward you with something of equal value or greater—a life, lives, and even nations. So this should be of great encouragement to those labouring in ministry year after year, and even those who have suffered for the call in some way.
The challenge for today’s church is that God is looking for a people who are willing to pay the price, lay down their own agenda, and give themselves fully and radically over to the agenda and will of the Lord. As Jesus “learned obedience as a son” (Hebrews 5:8). He lived out a lifestyle of “not my will, but yours be done” (Matthew 26:39). We as believers are called to take on this mentality as well. Jesus was God’s ambassador who laid His life down so that mankind could be redeemed.
PRINCIPLE: A “son” has a right to ask the Father for great Kingdom influence and for souls in exchange for his maturity and sacrifice.
The Father was also able to say to Jesus, “Ask and I will give to you the nations as your inheritance” (Psalms 2:8). Inheritance is of eternal value. Therefore, God gives souls (nations) in exchange for your suffering or obedience as a son (or daughter). In the Bible, the concept of a person laying down their life for the advancement of God’s Kingdom is clear in the life of Jesus as well as in the life of others. It is the principle of suffering and death that brings forth life; the principle of obedience and the sacrifice of a person that becomes the access point for God to move in a powerful way. This is a spiritual law.
Whether we want to admit it or not, we in this part of the world exist in somewhat of a comfort-based culture. We are a blessed society because of the biblical principles we were founded upon. We have various comforts readily available to us and so we naturally shrink away from anything uncomfortable. We are a culture of convenience and in general do not face persecution on a level comparable to other parts of the world. It is not to say that we do not face persecution or we do not have poverty, I am merely speaking of the measure in comparison to some countries of the world today. For example, we as Christians in Canada do not have to worry about hiding our Christianity in an underground church – yet. We are not necessarily being martyred for our faith and in fact have somewhat easy access to a wealth of Christian resources on a regular basis. We are indeed rich in the things of the Kingdom. However, with all of this blessing can come a comfort-based perspective of God and even an extremist, imbalanced view of the concept of prosperity and blessing. Due to skewed understanding in these areas, it is very easy for many believers to buy into the lie that anything uncomfortable must not be from God. We then shrink away from the pressures of not only what it means to be a real Christian, but also the warfare and discomfort of missionary work in their own backyards.
Over time and through the power of environment, a default mechanism has been engrained in us. That is to say, in some ways we have become used to so much blessing that we have a natural default to retreat from the discomforts and pain that are part of the cost of discipling a nation, even when there is a potential of many being saved through a new ministry. Often the price of facing the warfare, the price of lacking a large salary, and the discomfort of giving your life for the harvest is too great an investment in comparison to the return of souls. Unfortunately, there is a willingness for most Christians to take a step forward into the harvest – until the cost factor comes into play.
The challenge for the western church is that to some extent we lack the pressure factor that would bring out a higher grade and quality of Christianity that can be seen in other parts of the world. This is evidenced when we look at the underground church in China and how they are thriving in the midst of heavy persecution. It is also evidenced by the packed stadium prayer meetings in some of the poorest and war-torn places in the world. Somehow, we often see a more effective quality of Christianity in the places of persecution and pressure. When you observe the single mother, whose husband was killed in a war, walking barefoot with her three children for up to six hours to get to the church prayer meeting—the way she is able to pray through and produce the miraculous in her own home and life—you are looking at the result of the pressure factor. When you observe the missionary who is martyred by the very people group he has been preaching to and after his death a revival breaks out that is then led by his surviving wife and children, you are seeing the result of sacrifice in exchange for transformation. You are observing factors of pressure and pain. You are observing a lifestyle of necessary dependence on God which brings forth resurrection. In this way we can properly understand how “His strength is perfected in our weakness.”
Biblical history clearly reveals to us how the Church in the Book of Acts thrived under pressure, namely persecution. It is pressure and intensive training that produces the all-star athlete. It is continued pressure applied that develops muscles until a small man becomes a body builder. It is the law of the pressure factor that brings out high performance and success in any human being. It is the secret behind the exploits of History Makers.
James 1:2–4 says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
However, this is in no way implying that any form of self- destructive behaviour or self-mutilation can produce God-like results. What we are saying is that as you labour for the Kingdom of God and as you lay down your life to see His Kingdom come on the earth, because of the value of your life, God will reward your sacrifice with something of equal or greater value – souls. It is always about nations and people.
PRINCIPLE: Generally, unless a person is receiving a perceived benefit that is greater than the cost of discomfort or challenge, we tend to not be willing to endure the pain or pressure required to step into destiny. The harsh reality is that 80–90% of believers in our churches today are not actually stepping into the fullness of their destiny as it pertains to the harvest. This is alarming, but can also explain to some degree why the church has been so ineffective in the fulfillment of its Great Commission.
This brings us to the necessity of intensive training and equipping models for a more effective Christianity.
To be continued…
Derek is an apostolic leader, requested speaker, trainer, author, and execution strategist. He loves to advise Pastors and Leaders on Ministry and Church Growth.
Derek is the president of the History Makers Academy and founder of the History Makers Society. Both of which are designed to train, equip and send out individuals to influence all spheres of society.