Pressure and Pleasure
Strangely enough, I noticed that there are only two letters that are different in each of these terms. And yet, there is a close relationship, that we will discuss in detail, relating to two of the most deadliest devices and methods that your personal adversary will inflict upon you when you give him the opportunity. This teaching can open the eyes of your heart and change your life for the better by allowing you to counter the enemy’s goals which are to kill, steal, and destroy your life by deception. Pressure and pleasure are two main ways he goes about to accomplish this, but we are about to flush him out of his hiding place and expose him for what he really is.
The thief cometh not, but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I [Jesus Christ] am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. – John 10: 10
Incidentally, it is a matter of cruciality that you believe the following Scripture:
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places [from on high]. – Ephesians 6: 12
We wrestle or fight against the world rulers of the darkness of this age. [See The Unforgivable Sin] It is always a spiritual competition. You compete against people influenced by devil spirits. Now does this hold true for people who are born again of God’s Spirit and are walking by the Holy Spirit, in fellowship, and with a renewed mind? In that particular case, that person is not influenced by devil spirits. So let us not take things said out of context, but it is still a spiritual competition. But when you are dealing with people who are hurtful, untrustworthy, liars and dishonest, let’s face it, you are dealing with people influenced by devil spirits.
With that foundation set, let us begin to delve into the actualities and realities of the two (2) mentioned devices of Satan. First of all, when does pressure and pleasure become dangerous?
All of us know that pressure and pleasure are a part of everyday life. To a certain extent, they are both somewhat beneficial and actually necessary. It is when they go to EXTREMES – that they become the enemy’s devices. You must understand this. Anything that is taken to an extreme is not of the true God.
We’ll get right to a very important record and example of what pressure can do to a man.
Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep: In journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. – II Corinthians 11: 23 - 28
These are some of the pressures the apostle Paul went through. That pressure can sometimes be too much for a man. We can take God’s Word to an extreme by taking it out of context and that is not what God wants. We sometimes try to do God’s job for Him. We can take things too far. If the adversary can get you to burn out, he will then attack at your weakest moment and defeat you. Paul was human like the rest of us. Did he make mistakes? Yes he did. The purpose of the following record is not to criticize Paul, by any means. The record is used as a teaching tool only.
Here’s something that might surprise you. IT WAS NEVER GOD’S WILL FOR PAUL TO GO TO JERUSALEM. Let’s get back to the Book of Acts to Chapters 20 and 21. Paul was warned six (6) different times NOT to go to Jerusalem, but he went anyway. Do you think that pressure may have played a part in this mistake – this error in Paul’s judgment? For your benefit, I will document the six records where Paul was warned first by God, and then by five (5) other believers that he was not to go to Jerusalem. You should study them. The first record was in Chapter 20: 22 - 23, the second in Chapter 21: 4, the third in 21: 9 [what do you think these virgins (unmarried women) prophesied about? The stock price of pork bellies?!], the fourth in 21: 10, the fifth in 21: 12, the sixth in 21: 14. But what did Paul have to say about this? To understand his state of mind, we must go back to Chapter 20 where God first told Paul that He did not want him to go to Jerusalem. There’s a major key to the more than abundant life in this next verse.
And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: -- Acts 20: 22
Let’s stop there and work a phrase that is so important it can’t be stressed enough. The phrase is “bound in the spirit”. When you are bound in the spirit, it means that something is holding you back. This is always God trying to stop you from doing something. Never do something ‘bound in the spirit’. You may have felt this sensation many times. You want to do something, but you just can’t seem to do it with a willing heart. Something is holding you back. Paul said he was going to Jerusalem bound in the spirit. He apparently was not thinking clearly and logically. Perhaps the pressures of his Ministry were getting the best of him. He was human. He loved God so much, he would have practically done anything for Him and the movement of His Word. But you have got to understand that we are of no use to God unless we are first, in fellowship, and at peace. Too much pressure can break any man and cause him to make decisions he would otherwise not make. Too much pressure comes from the god of this world and its purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy. In this situation, a man’s judgement could be impaired to a dangerous level. Paul did go to Jerusalem and was put in prison and later spent the rest of his life under house arrest. This was not God’s Will for Paul. Not only was Paul bound in the spirit, but God also told Paul that great calamities awaited Paul if he went. It’s hard to believe that Paul would make such a decision under these circumstances. Here was Paul’s reaction.
Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. –- Acts 20: 23
God will always tell you first and He told Paul. The other warnings from believers came later.
But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. –- Acts 20: 24
Note carefully the words that Paul uses. He says that no matter what befalls me or lies ahead, none of this moves me. Paul was under great peer pressure all the time to be his best for God. Believe me, leaders are not ‘allowed’ to make mistakes. I showed a weakness once in front of a believer from another country. Eventually I lost a whole congregation of people. I was under a great deal of pressure and was completing more teachings than I ever did. I began, many times, at 4 AM in the morning and typed until my hands crimped up. Sometimes, I cried in pain. I even went and purchased a voice-activated program to use for word processing. You see, nothing moved me – I would continue teaching the Word no matter what. But God was telling me to take a break but I would not listen. I felt a great deal of pressure but kept going. The pressure eventually began to slowly destroy much of what I did. Many close relationships I had seemed to disappear. I lost some faithful believers and it went on and on. Finally I took a break from the website and later had no end of difficulty getting back to a normal routine.
In some ways, we are all like the Apostle Paul if we are dedicated believers. We feel we have no bounds and allow the deceptive enemy to drive us to extremes. The purpose of this teaching is so it doesn’t happen to you. You can push your body and mind quite far, but there must be a balance - a safety valve – a red flag – that tells you when to stop. I can only believe that this part of this teaching concerning pressure will be enough for you to always remember and be on guard when or if the adversary tries to spring this trap upon you. You will be ready.
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. -- II Timothy 4: 2
Be ready with the Word of God and let the Word do the correcting. Remember, you can’t argue truth. Truth needs no defense.
Be ready with the Word.
This is the section where we will deal with ‘pleasure’. Again, this is a very tricky subject because some pleasure is necessary and needed, but too much is from the wrong god. Satan has a good time with this one because he knows how much people enjoy pleasure. At one time it was ‘our nature’ to live this way.
And you hath he quickened [omit ‘hath he quickened’ because it is in italics and was added by the translators] who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation [manner of life] in times past in the lusts of our flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. – Ephesians 2: 1 – 3
Before we knew God’s Word, we walked according to the course of this world. We didn’t know any other way. We lived by the lusts [over desires] of the flesh and of the mind. As a result of Adam’s original sin, we belonged to the god of this world by nature. Many of us lived just for pleasure so it can be a hard way of life to change.
Let’s go right to a subject everyone seems interested in. This is the pleasure that can result between members of the opposite sex. God gave man and woman a beautiful pleasure when dealt with in moderation. Where is the extreme part that emanates from Satan? Take a look at the thousands and thousands of pornographic sites on the internet. Satan took a beautiful thing that the true God gave and took it to extremes. He made it sickening lust where people take great pleasure in defiling their own bodies for all to see. Many of these people are possessed by a sensual spirit from Satan. I tell it like it is. There is always a price to pay for this type of sinful behavior. The wheels of God grind slowly, but they grind finely.
Here is an unusual example of how oppressed a person can become who turns his or her back on God’s Word. Many people get a perverted sense of pleasure by hurting others. Obviously, this type of pleasure originates from Satan.
For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. -- Proverbs 4: 16
There are people out there like that. Just keep away from them. I live in a neighborhood where almost no one talks to anyone. I finally got away from all of them. The city I live in is quite similar. Go to God for companionship – He is your best friend. I was once taught that when it comes to God’s Word, you have no friends. You have got to be willing to stand on your own even if everyone cops out to the ways of the world. Can you imagine not being able to fall asleep unless you hurt someone? They used to put people like that in State Institutions. Now they run amuck every day. I call it functional insanity.
One more example on this same subject. I worked harder than you can imagine to put up this web site, yet some God-rejectors dislike this site because I speak the Word of God rightly divided and not watered down. Recently I saw someone rate my site a 1 out of 10. So I got a friend of mine to rate it. They gave me a 10 out of 10. I pondered this person who would rate my site so low. Well, I thought it was probably a homosexual or a lesbian after they saw my teaching “Without Natural Affection”. Or a Jesus Christ is God person or someone who believes dead people are alive. Can’t you see Jesus Christ coming back to raise the dead and saying “Oops, I forgot. They’re already up”!!!!!
Some people don’t like my teaching on gambling. This is one the enemy’s greatest devices regarding his use of pleasure to destroy a person’s life. The enemy loves to make a person feel like a big deal as he also does with alcohol. I have a neighbor who starts drinking at about 8 or 9AM and yet holds a good job. He cannot live without alcohol. The enemy controls him every day of his life. The moderate pleasure of a few drinks taken to an extreme. Alcoholism is the slowest killer. An alcoholic is an extremely dangerous person. Read my teaching regarding a spirit of alcoholism and then KEEP AWAY! A little more about gambling.
There are only three (3) things that the god of this world can offer you.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. – I John 2: 16
Isn’t that all-inclusive? THAT IS ALL THAT IS IN THE WORLD. The over-desires of the flesh, the over-desires of the eyes, and the pride of life. True pride is based on fear. Self-respect is the genuine, not pride.
Pride is something that makes people feel they are greater than they are – as if they are powerful or ‘cool’. Gamblers usually fall into this category. Let me tell you a TRUE STORY of a reformed gambler.
This person had a slight weakness for gambling. Once, in Las Vegas, he lost his house in 20 minutes. Did you get that? He lost his house in a card game IN TWENTY MINUTES. By the grace of God, he won it back, quit and never went back. That person was my earthly father – a great man in many, many respects. I can never forget that story. I believe you will remember it also.
Gambling, sex, alcohol, power, greed, obesity – this list can go on and on. You must ask God’s help to change some habits you may have if you ever want to get set free. ONLY GOD’S WORD can set a man or a woman free. Don’t waste your time. I tried everything else. Too much pleasure is a deadly trick from the master of deception and as we know, too much pressure has the same result.
PRESSURE and PLEASURE are two (2) of the adversary’s favorite methods or devices.
We have been studying the effects here of a much greater ‘CAUSE’. It has been some time since I went over this principle and it is the underlying cause of all the evil in all of the world today. If you are aware of it and understand it fully, it will greatly help you to understand God’s Word and the reason why so many things happen.
For the love of money is the root [root system] of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. – I Timothy 6: 10
It is not money that is the problem. It is the LOVE of money. Again, this love of money is the root system of all the evil in the world. It is what drives men and women to great extremes regarding pressure and pleasure. The political candidate pushes him or herself to physical extremes campaigning for power or money until they sometimes are not only financially emaciated but their health is in danger. Power and fame brings money and this is the driving force in most, if not all, situations.
The gambler gambles because he loves money, he likes the pressure and the pleasure mixed together along with the attention he gets to feed his ego and make him feel powerful. Money brings some people great power until that person becomes obsessed with money. Greed kicks in and he or she can never get enough. This person has no true genuine peace. Even if a person wins a lot of money or becomes successful in other ways, oftentimes it becomes too much stress and pleasure for a person to handle. Here are some examples from God’s Word to assure you of this truth mixed with some worldly examples to exemplify these truths even further.
The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep. – Ecclesiastes 5: 12
Did you know that many people who make extremely high incomes have serious problems trying to fall asleep at night? Some of these people become insomniacs and turn to drugs to fall asleep. I will give two examples of famous people that fell into this trap. This is a trap they never escaped.
Mark Hughes, the founder and CEO of Herbalife International, a health and nutrition firm, died at a very young age as a result of a combination of drugs and alcohol. It is ironic that he helped so many people with his weight loss and nutritional products and yet he would die in this manner. I was somewhat shocked when I first heard this news since I sold these products for about five years and used them myself. He was one who could not fall asleep at night. The pressure and the pleasures of his success eventually killed him.
It is a documented fact that Elvis Presley could not sleep at night and was also an insomniac. He also turned to drugs for relief and eventually died in a similar manner as Mark Hughes.
Well, you might be saying right now: “What’s wrong with success?’’ Nothing at all as long as God is first in your life.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. -- Matthew 6: 33
Seek anything else first and everything will be subtracted from you. I have often wondered what financial state would be best overall. Well, God tells us in His Word.
Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain. – Proverbs 30: 9
It’s also been said in Proverbs that if you have too much money, you will forget God. And if you have too little money, you will curse God. So you want to be somewhere in the middle. It is the middle, working class of a country that builds a strong nation. Notice from the Scripture above that if you are ‘full’, you deny God and even doubt that He exists. If you are poor you break his statutes.
Summing things up, we talked about ‘pride’ as it relates to pressure and pleasure.
Before destruction, the heart of man is haughty [full of pride], and before honour is humility. – Proverbs 18: 12
When the enemy is giving a man a great deal of pleasure, that man thinks he can conquer the world. He becomes heady, haughty, and high-minded. Then what does God say follows next? Destruction. If you want to argue about this, you must argue with God. He wrote the Bible. BUT then God says a man who is humble to Him will later be honoured. Every man must make his own decision according to his own free will. The world or the Word.
For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. – Romans 8: 6
When you do things the true God’s way, you will be protected, have peace, and evil will stay away from you.
The fear [reverence, respect, obedience] of the Lord tendeth to life; and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil. – Proverbs 19: 23
That is how you counter the adversary’s devices and methods such as pressure and pleasure. Could God make it any simpler and plainer?
Better is an handful with quietness, than both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit. – Ecclesiastes 4: 6
Isn’t that beautiful? You think the grass is greener on the other side. It is not. If you study and apply God’s matchless Word, you may be far happier than that movie star or that famous person that you wish you were. We all need to keep God first and trust in Him and He will meet our every need and protect us from the extreme pressures and pleasures of life in this present world. Remember, this is only a temporary situation because Jesus Christ is coming back and all hell can’t stop him.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths. – Proverbs 3: 5, 6