People often ask me, “Pastor, what’s going on in the world today? What’s the biggest issue we face?” I have many answers, and each contains the same overarching word—pressure.
Family pressure. Time pressure. Financial pressure. Unprecedented pressure to compete and succeed by society’s standards — at work, in school, in our communities, and maybe even in our churches. As Christians, we’re encountering pressures in our society we’ve never faced before. We’re living in unprecedented times, which brings unparalleled tension.
But I’ve been encouraged recently by learning about a certain little fish. The Mariana snailfish lives in the deepest caverns of the ocean, where the pressure is a thousand times greater than on the surface. The temperature there is near freezing, and there’s no light at those depths. But God created those fish, which are about the size of a human hand, to thrive in extreme conditions.
How do they do it? This snailfish possesses special features such as flexible skulls and bones. They also produce distinct chemicals that stabilize their constitution, so the pressure inside them is greater than the pressure outside of them.
Pretty amazing, right? God has given these strange creatures everything they need for where they are and for what He intends for them.
He’s given them everything they need not just to survive but to thrive.
Could that be true for you too?
Absolutely! There’s a particular passage of Scripture I’ve studied all my life. I’ve known it and taught it for years. But in recent days when I, like you, have been under great pressure, it’s entered my bloodstream like a transfusion. This passage gripped my heart so powerfully that it even led me to write a new book:
His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:3–8).
This passage was written by someone who knew all about fish: Simon Peter. After a remarkable three years with Jesus, as recounted in the Gospels, Peter went on to help establish the early church, chronicled in the book of Acts. In spite of the constant threat of persecution, he devoted the rest of his life to extending the kingdom of God. He spent his last days in prison awaiting execution, yet even then the joy within him was greater than the fear around him. He had everything he needed to maintain his faith, optimism and effectiveness for Jesus — until the very moment he entered heaven.
Peter’s last letter was written to “those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours” (2 Peter 1:1).
What does that mean? It means your experience with Jesus can be as precious to you as Peter’s was to him. That’s remarkable to consider. He has given you everything you need to develop a godly life, just as he did for the disciples who walked alongside him.
And that’s just the beginning. God has also devised an ingenious way of conveying His power right into the center of your soul through the live wires of His biblical promises, or as Peter called them, His great and precious promises. These promises energize you and enable you to share His divine nature, having escaped the corruption of the world.
Peter wrote, “If these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:8).
This is one of God’s great understatements! If these virtues are yours and if they abound in your life — meaning if you embrace them and fill your heart with them — there’s no limit to what you can achieve. And there’s no pressure you can’t withstand.
It’s time to unpack all God has given you and commit to cultivating the strength of character you’ll need to face the pressures in your world. Once you master these precious verses of the Bible — or rather, once they master you — you’ll realize you have everything you need.
Even more, you’ll find He is everything you need.
This is an adaptation from Dr. Jeremiah’s latest book, “Everything You Need.”