The season is in full swing and the heat is turned up. The championship races are shaping up but there is plenty of racing left. How do we perform under the microscope? People will see our true character. Will they see the love of Jesus when we are under pressure? Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Many times in life and racing we find ourselves in pressure packed situations. We need to perform better to retain a sponsor or we need a good finish to secure our point standings. There are many opportunities at this time of the racing season to forget about everything and focus on our on track performance. Crunch Time!

Sometimes when that pressure is put on us we do not represent God well. We lose sight of what we have been called to become in Christ. But pressure is necessary for our maturity to develop. Only under pressure will our true nature be revealed. How do we look when we are under pressure?

James 1:2-4, msg, Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

If we use the pressure packed time of the season to shape us then even under the microscope we can become the person God desires us to be.  Even when we are under pressure we should be looking around for the opportunities that God has for us. James encourages us to remember who we are called to be.

We are also challenged to remember the influence we should have on others. Just because we are under pressure doesn’t excuse us from actions that are destructive. In fact how we act in difficult times will reveal our true character. Think of it this way. You can be an egg, a carrot or coffee beans. Let me explain, when we place each of of these in the heat of the moment, boiling water, they react differently. An egg becomes hard-boiled. Its insides change from liquid to solid. Our heart gets hard. Carrots on the other hand get soft and mushy. They start off rigid and strong but end up all mushy, no backbone, no firm foundation to stand on. Now coffee beans on the other hand do not change, they remain the same. They do however change the water. The water becomes aromatic and tasty. The water becomes desirable. The coffee beans do not change but they improve the water. Which one are we. When pressure comes do we harden our heart, loose our foundation or influence the situation in a way that improves it?

Matthew 5:13-16: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Jesus uses two analogies, salt and light to remind us that we have an opportunity to influence the situations that surround us. When we are under pressure it is even more important to remember the influence we should have.

Do you use salt? It is used for different things such as to season or preserve food, melting ice. When we use it as a seasoning we do so to enhance the flavor. As a preservative it extends usefulness and shelf life. Take a look around and see if we are enhancing those around us. Are we preserving and extending?  Are you making things better or worse?

We also use salt to change things. When we put salt on ice it melts and makes it easier to get around. Salt is also corrosive, we can tear thing apart. We are encouraged by Jesus to use the love of Christ, salt, to change the situation in a way that honors God. Jesus cautions that if we lose our focus and our “salt” is no longer affective we become useless. Don’t let the pressure of the situation cause us to lose our influence in the situations around us.

Let me stop here and explain. We have the opportunity each moment we live to affect those around us, either for good or evil. We decide how we will use our influence. When we choose to be destructive our ability to claim the love of Christ and help others is gone. Our witness is no longer respected. When we find ourselves under pressure we need to be aware of how we are demonstrating our faith. We need to remember who is in control. We need to avoid losing our saltiness, our credibility, our witness.

Do you remember the carrot, egg and coffee bean? When the heat was applied they changed. The egg turned hard and firm, the carrot went soft and mushy but the coffee bean didn’t change. It changed the water into something aromatic and tasty. Don’t lose your saltiness.

Jesus put in each one of us a light that will dispel the darkness. Don’t hide your light, let it shine. In the absence of light you cannot see the right path.  You cannot see your hand in front of your face. Even a little light when shining in the darkness reveals so much. We can be the same kind of light. We, as Christians, have the opportunity to light the darkness others are experiencing. When all hope is gone the light of one who knows Jesus can bring hope to the world.

Have you ever tried to stumble around in the dark? Even in your own home, you think you know where things are, but you still stub your toe and stumble. When we hide our light we cause others to stumble around in the darkness. When we keep the love of God to ourselves and do not share it we leave others to find their own way in the darkness. Let you light shine! Put it on a lamp stand and help others find their way.

Pressure is a part of life. We are constantly stretched, pulled and challenged. How we respond to those situations reveal where our faith and trust is placed. Under pressure do we improve the lives of those around us or have we been an obstacle? We have a responsibility to lead others. Whether we realize it or not we are leading. Make sure you are leading people to what is right.

James 1:2-4; nlt, Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.