Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Writer's Life (05/13/10)
TITLE: Pleasure or Pressure
By Edmond Ng
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"Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:29-30 NAS)It used to be said a job is no longer a job if we are doing what we like doing. Hypothetically, this also means when what we like doing becomes a job, it is no longer a pleasure doing what we like doing.
Life as a writer is very much the same. I used to write for leisure on subjects of my own interest, and I enjoyed every minute and second while I was doing it. However, when the day came for me to make a living out of what I like best, writing became more of a pressure than pleasure. Deadlines now come as part and parcel of life and rushing is a norm. Inspiration and creative thinking no longer come easy as before, and hard work seems always the order of the day. All these often boil down to one question—am I writing for free or for a fee? When I write for a fee, expectations are always tagged with the price, and this is seldom fun. When I write for free, it is usually done with pleasure and there is no pressure.
Much like the way a writer enjoys writing for pleasure, many of us were also overjoyed with pleasure at the prospect of living in Christ when we received Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We would spend every minute and every second doing things that please God if we could. However, as time passes by, we realize how difficult it is to live holy lives in holding fast to the testimony of our faith (1 Peter 1:13-16). At times, we may even feel we have unwittingly signed up to our own death when we received the Lord (Romans 6:6; Ephesians 4:22). Drudgery soon becomes part and parcel of life and sulking is a norm. Joy no longer comes easy as before, and disgruntlement seems frequently the order of the day. All these often boil down to one question—are our hearts focused on God or are we living our lives according to what others expects of us as Christians? When we live for Christ, we ought to live it out with pleasure and not under pressure.
Many of us when we are under pressure tend to have our minds swayed to think that living in Christ and keeping the Christian testimony is a burden as compared to the pleasures of living worldly lives. This thinking is far from the truth because living our lives according to the expectations of this world is never a pleasure, and is in fact more wearisome and burdensome. This is the reason why our Lord said, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest … For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30).
Let us therefore be wise and know that God is not putting pressure on us when seeking for us to live holy lives, but setting us free to receive the pleasure of living out the abundant life (John 10:10). Whether we are doing something for free or for a fee, let us do it heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord we will receive the reward (Colossians 3:23-24). Since therefore it is Christ whom we serve, regardless the expectations set on us by others, let us do our best with pleasure, not pressure.
Help us dear Lord never for a moment think that by receiving You, we have signed ourselves into trouble. Alert us Lord that we may not be tricked into thinking the pleasures of this world are better than living the Christian life. Purify our hearts Lord to desire to live holy lives, just as You are holy. Remove from us our wrong perception and the feeling of pressure Lord, and grant us renewed joy to rediscover the pleasure of serving You.
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