Why Does Pressure Reveal the Inner Man? (Lent 28-2018)

It’s often said that what’s in a man gets revealed when he is squeezed under pressure.  What’s truly in a man comes out.  Why is that? 

Why Does Pressure Reveal the Inner Man?  Because it forces what’s inside the heart to the surface. 


In the Life of Pi, the movie we’ve been using to launch our Lenten devotional series, Pi ends up on a raft with Richard Parker the Bengal tiger who brings out who Pi is beneath the surface.  The pressures and stresses of survival 227 days alone on a raft.  Attempting to tame the predator within the boat. 

Towards the end of the movie, as Pi recounts his story to investigators who are wanting to know why the Japanese cargo ship sank in the Pacific. His story of survival with Richard Parker the tiger still doesn’t answer why the ship sink.  Why did he alone survive?  All the animals–the zebra, the orangutan, the rat, and hyena–it’s all too unreal. So, they ask him to tell them a believable story, one without all the animals.  Pi says, “I told him another story. ‘Four of us survived…'” and he recounts the four: the injured sailor called the happy Buddhist, Pi’s mother, a ruthless cook, and himself.  After the cook kills the sailor and Pi’s mother, Pi recalls watching his mother’s dead body being thrown to the sharks and his resultant encounter with the cook, “The next day I killed him. He didn’t even fight back. He knew he had gone too far, even by his standards. He’d left the knife out on the bench. And I did to him what he did to the sailor. He was such an evil man, but worse still, he brought the evil out in me…I have to live with that. I was alone in a lifeboat, drifting across the Pacific Ocean. And I survived.” 

The inner man, in a quest for self and survival, is capable of all kinds of evil. 

It all begins in the heart. 

Jesus talks about it, saying, Mark 7: 21 “For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’”

Food for thought:

  • Read Jeremiah 17:7 “But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. 8 He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” 9 The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? 10 “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.”  How does pressure reveal both good and bad in people? 
  • Matthew 12:34 reminds us that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”  Have you ever had the experience of saying something you wish you hadn’t and wondered where that came from?  What is the best response when that happens? 
  • In the final scene of the movie Life of Pi, the writer to whom he’s sharing his story connects the stories and concludes Pi was the predatory Richard Parker.  Is there any part of your character hiding beneath the surface you’d find helpful to address with God who has already searched your heart and knows about?


For Lent 2018, we’ll explore the questions of Pi and Chi (the Greek letter beginning the word Christos, which means Christ, Messiah, the Anointed One). We’ll ask and answer the question “Why?” as we discover the uniqueness of Jesus Christ.  Join me for the 40 days of Lent which began February 14, 2018 by liking Seminary Gal on Facebook or having these devotionals sent to your email box which you can do via the sign-up on my Home page.  Thank you for blessing me with this opportunity to study together the Word of God.


Acknowledging that former years’ devotional series remain popular:

  1. Lent 2013 looked at The Letter to the Romans: Paul’s Masterpiece to reclaim foundations of our Christian heritage and began February 13, 2013.
  2.  A very special and ever popular offering was Lent 2014’s Be Still and Know that I AM God  which can be obtained through the archives beginning in March 2014. 
  3. Lent 2015 began on February 18, 2015 with a series entitled With Christ in the Upper Room: Final Preparations.  We explored what is often called “The Upper Room Discourse” found in John chapters 13-17
  4. ReKindle, the Lent 2016 series, began on February 10, 2016 and encouraged us to rekindle our spiritual lives.
  5. Light: There’s Nothing Like It was the 2017 Lent series and explored this metaphor often used to portray Christ.  It is archived beginning March 1, 2017.


Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on March 17, 2018

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