Aug 25 8:12 AM
Joy In Pressing On!
Aug 25 8:12 AM
Aug 25 8:12 AM
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
Sometimes life gets hard, and sometimes you just have to remind yourself to press on. When life gets hard you have to press on. Sometimes you have to put one foot ahead of the next, can't worry about one mile down the road, three blocks down the road, all you can worry about is your next step. You ask, "What's God going to do? This is so hard. How am I ever going to get out of this?" And sometimes you just have to say, "You know what, I'm just going to take the next step." I get that from a very powerful passage that the Apostle Paul shares in Philippians 3:12-14. Paul says, "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
Let me break that down. The "all this" that Paul has not yet obtained is knowing Jesus Christ perfectly. He also says he has not yet been made perfect, which is pretty obvious for all of us, and if it's true of the Apostle Paul, it'll always be true of us, too. He continues, "but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." In other words, he says, "Things get up, things get down, things get high, things get low, but I'm pressing on to take hold of the prize that Christ took a hold of me for." What he's saying is when you became a Christian Christ took a hold of you. He took a hold of you so that you will want to take a hold of the prize, which is knowing Jesus Christ perfectly. That is only going to happen in heaven, but we want to get as close as possible to that here during our days on earth.
Paul goes on to say, "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize, for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." See that? That's the goal. God took a hold of you so you'll take hold of the prize of getting to heaven and acting like it. How do you do it? He says you have to forget what is behind. You have to stop thinking about the negative things of your past. Learn from it, grow from it, forget it. Then, you have to have a vision for the future. Press on toward the goal. Then, you have to do it by taking one step at a time. See how he covers the past, (forget about it), the future (have a vision for heaven), and the present (perservere, press on)? Sometimes, when the past is so painful you have to focus on the future, which is so glorious, to help you in the present, which is taking one step at a time. Have you had a bad day, had a bad month, had a bad year, had a bad 18 months with COVID and everything else going on in our world? Sometimes, you have to focus on the vision of heaven. And you just have to put one step ahead of the other. Sometimes, when I don't like what has happened in the past days, I have to think about what's going to happen in future days. That will help me in present days to press on.
What is it in your past that's holding you back that you need to forget? What is it in your future that you forgot is in your future, if you're a Christian? Like going to heaven, like having no more problems, like being in the presence of Jesus Christ nonstop, forever in his house, his glorious mansion, heaven. Press on with those thoughts. Forget about this, focus on that. And right now, today, take the next step. What do I mean by that, take the next step? Do what you're supposed to do, step by step. Do what God wants. Read the Bible, serve other people, come to church, get involved in a ministry, get in a small group, be a witness to your friends, invite people to church, do the kinds of things to help you press on. Press on today. You can do it through Christ who gives you the strength.
Let's pray. Father, I don't know who I'm speaking to and I don't know where they're at. But I know all of us need this exhortation, some maybe more than others, to press on. Help us to press on, God. Help us forget what's behind. Let us remember our glorious future, if we have a relationship with you by faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, and to persevere because of that. Help anybody who's discouraged to be encouraged to press on in you. Give them that courage. I know you will if they seek it with a whole heart, and a honest, true, seeking, open heart. We ask this in Jesus' name, amen.