Jesus Wears Nike

“Pressure pushing down on me

Pressing down on you no man ask for

Under pressure…”

In the odyssey of life, the saying, “Anything can happen.” is proven true over and over again. And it seems like the “anything” that can happen tends to happen at the worse time possible. Thus, the old adage, “When it rains it pours.” Relationships we thought would never change are sometimes dissolved in such a manner that it makes our heads spin. Sickness, death, misfortune, work situations, you name it; it can all happen at any time. Living in the tension of these moments causes pressure. We feel restricted and confined, bound in such a narrow place, it’s hard to move. Pressure bears down and continues to tighten until we feel riveted to the ground. Thus, another old saying, “Getting the screws put to you.” Whether it’s self-inflicted, perpetuated by others, or a “combo-meal,” sooner or later; life will hit you smack in the mouth. And we have all sorts of ways by which we try to overcome the pressure and find peace. The thing is, most of our ways don’t work or are temporary at best. We too often forget that Someone has faced the pressure, beat it and offers his victory to us.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”


Jesus himself assured us that we would have “tribulation” in the world. That word “tribulation” means: pressure (what constricts or rubs together), used of a narrow place that “hems someone in”; tribulation, especially internal pressure that causes someone to feel confined (restricted, “without options”). But the cool thing is that Jesus took all the pressures that life has to give and has overcome the world. He said, “I have νενίκηκα (nenikēka) the world.” Yeah, you recognize the middle part of that Greek word. It’s “nike,” which means “victory.” Jesus had on his Nike long before the shoe company was ever thought of, and he has shared his victory with us. He assumed the totality of the human experienced (even death) and says to us that we can have peace, despite the pressure-in him.

The “in him” is more than just some ethereal concept. Actually, we know what it means and use it all of the time. Think of it this way: In love songs, we hear all the time lyrics such as, “Oh baby, in you I’ve found everything I’ve ever wanted.” Well, that implies relationship. Two people are sharing their lives together. They walk in each other’s shoes. They are “in” each other if you will. They walk, talk, live, love and simply do life together. The pressure that affects one affects the other. The husband and wife have actually become one and they have peace by just being together. Ask a guy and he’ll tell you that no matter what happens, knowing that his wife loves him somehow makes it bearable. Well that’s kind of like the idea of “in him.” Us in Jesus, him in us, living, loving, doing life as one. “In me you may have peace.”

Yep, Jesus wears Nike, and he wants us to walk in him, experiencing his victory and peace. Oh yeah, in this world there will always be pressure. But guess what; Daddy’s got a brand new pair of shoes!!


I don’t know about you but sometimes I struggle. Yeah, I sincerely love Jesus and have given myself to him, trusting him, seeking him, consistent in fellowship, service, prayer and bible study; but, I still have areas in my life in which I struggle. If you’re like me; it starts with a thought. The “splinter” enters the mind, and there are times when I let it fester to the point that it brings about the disgusting pus of sin. BUT all praise be to God, as I walk with him, I am experiencing the truth that Jesus not only forgives sin, but is perfectly willing to share with us his victory over sin!

The reality is that as believers in Christ, God has declared us justified. Positionally so to speak, we are in Jesus, holy and blameless. Experientially, we are being conformed to the image of the Son as the Holy Spirit works within us on a daily basis. We exist in the tension between what God has done for us in Christ, what he is doing in us as we grow in him, and what he is going to do on the day salvation is fully realized.  As we grow in grace, we find that we no longer live a lifestyle of habitually practicing sin; but, we are still very much capable of sinning. Because we have been born again by God’s Spirit and given a new nature, we are grieved by our sin as we sincerely long to be perfect, complete, and mature as he has called us to be. I haven’t got there yet, but I’ve learned a few things and I’d like to share one of them with you now.

Regarding that “splinter in the mind,” the Bible tells us, “But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” (James 1:14, 15 ESV) You can see the progression: temptation, sin, and ultimately death. I believe it’s usually at the point of that first thought (temptation) that the battle’s won or lost. The verses on our victory over sin are too numerous to cite here (google ‘em), but it is evident within scripture that, because of Jesus, we are/can be victorious. The thing is, when that first temptation comes we have all kind of twisted, pseudo-religious ways by which we respond. When tempted, have you ever offered up some kind of half-hearted token prayer like, “Lord please help me.” when you know you plan on giving in? Have you ever purposely hardened your heart to the voice of the Spirit, knowing you could escape temptation, but turned a deaf ear to the call to prayer because really you wanted to give in and didn’t want him to stop you? Sadly, I have to answer yes to both of those questions. “Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.”

When temptation comes, you must understand that you have been given victory in Christ. At the first thought, as soon as you feel that “splinter” enter your mind; call upon the Lord in sincere prayer. Take to him the temptation that has beset you! By the grace that he has given so freely to you, BE WILLING to let him give you victory. Our problem is that sometimes we simply aren’t willing for him to do it. Cry out to him understanding that “God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.” The only prayer you may be able to muster is, “Lord, I’m willing to be made willing.” but willing he will make you! As you come to him in the hour of temptation, he will fill you freshly with his Spirit through whom “you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature.” My friend, we are victorious in Christ!

I remember being a kid and getting splinters from time to time. I knew Mom could get them out. She would heat the needle until it glowed and then carefully, lovingly extract the thing that was causing me so much pain. You know, I remember there were times I wouldn’t go to her, even though I knew she could help, because I was afraid. Looking back now, that seems really foolish, but don’t we do the same thing regarding the splinters of temptation that are in us. We know Jesus is more than able to help, but for whatever reason; we don’t allow him to. Foolish, huh?  I’ll leave you with this:

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”


When God “Sleeps”

More often than not, when you read in the Bible of times when God appeared to be sleeping and non responsive to the cries of Israel, it was because they had sinned having turned their hearts from him. In Psalm 44 however, we find Israel in the midst of trial and defeat, yet the author of the Psalm protests their innocence.

We find in this Psalm the author lamenting to God after an apparent military defeat. He remembers the victories of old, how God had vanquished the nations before Israel. He recalls the intimacy with which God, by his right hand, strong arm, and the light of his face had led Israel from victory to victory.

“But now you have tossed us aside in dishonor.
You no longer lead our armies to battle.
10 You make us retreat from our enemies
and allow those who hate us to plunder our land.
11 You have butchered us like sheep
and scattered us among the nations.
12 You sold your precious people for a pittance,
making nothing on the sale.
13 You let our neighbors mock us.
We are an object of scorn and derision to those around us.
14 You have made us the butt of their jokes;
they shake their heads at us in scorn.
15 We can’t escape the constant humiliation;
shame is written across our faces.
16 All we hear are the taunts of our mockers.
All we see are our vengeful enemies.”

The Lord seems to have abandoned his people. When they cry out to God, they receive no answer. People are making fun of them because the once mighty people of God have been left alone, forsaken by their Lord and given over into the hands of their enemies. When they ask God why…..SILENCE!

“All this has happened though we have not forgotten you.
We have not violated your covenant.
18 Our hearts have not deserted you.
We have not strayed from your path…

The author insists that they have done no wrong. He claims that God is also aware of this fact.

…If we had forgotten the name of our God
or spread our hands in prayer to foreign gods,
21 God would surely have known it,
for he knows the secrets of every heart.”

“But for your sake we are killed every day;
we are being slaughtered like sheep.” (v22) The psalmist associates their suffering with the reality of their relationship with God. He sees the suffering that has come upon the nation as that which is in direct correlation to their covenant with Yahweh.  And, he cries,

“Wake up, O Lord! Why do you sleep?
Get up! Do not reject us forever.
24 Why do you look the other way?
Why do you ignore our suffering and oppression?
25 We collapse in the dust,
lying face down in the dirt.
26 Rise up! Help us!
Ransom us because of your unfailing love.”

Interestingly, the Apostle Paul equates this Psalm (at least v22) with the suffering of Christians. Check out Romans 8:35-38:

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, ‘For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.’[Ps. 44:22]) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

One of the hardest things in our Christian walk is going through times when God seems to be asleep, and we suffer. So often, during these times, we are tempted to abandon hope and pursue our own desires. We get mad at God, through our hands up in the air, and say “Well, so much for the faithfulness of God!” We need to understand that sometimes we are not given the reasons why we suffer, but we are given the assurance that in spite of it; God has poured out his unfailing love on us in Christ, and nothing can separate us from him. There will be heartache, trouble, danger, trials, tribulations, and perhaps even death, but in all these things; we have the victory in Jesus.

When it seems that God is sleeping, remember what he has done for you, remain faithful to him, and KNOW that the victory is yours in Jesus.