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Monday, February 3, 2014

Today, I Remember to Press On

Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV)
12 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. 13 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, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 

There are many people who were in church yesterday. I believe that many of these are genuinely seeking a deeper, more intimate walk with the Lord. They won't miss an opportunity to worship because it is making and will continue to change them. They seek the Lord, find Him daily and see Him doing miracles through them and to them.

But there were also a lot of people who weren't in worship. Some said they have a hard time getting up. Some are going to sporting events. Some just don't care. Some think that they have done the church, the preacher and the Lord a great favor when they attend. I realize that they just don't understand.

Paul wrote that he wanted to know Christ, the power of His resurrection, the fellowship of His sufferings and be conformed to His death. He said this after dedicating his life to the Lord for a very long time. He had served so faithfully but did not believe he had arrived. He says, "I press on, " twice in the above passage. He realizes that he will never know Christ like he wants to know Christ if he does not push himself to do what he would rather not do.

My faith causes me to do what I don't want to do. I want to have a knowledge of Christ which is solid but I will never have that unless I shake off the rags of this world and grasp firmly onto the God who died for me. I give like there is no other world of investment. I tithe much more than I put in retirement. It makes sense to me. Retirement doesn't have to last as long as eternity. I read the Bible more than I do the news. The news may be wrong and it won't matter much in a year. The Bible lasts forever and reading it now will mean a great deal in eternity. I press on to know Christ so that I may know the fellowship of His sufferings, the power of His resurrection and be conformed to His death because the pleasures of this world will not matter in eternity and the walk with Him now will.

Though many people claim to know Christ, they live as if the things on this world should have precedence over Him. They act as if feeding the hungry is more important than seeing their souls saved. They believe the thrill of a sporting event outweighs the thrill of worship. They press on to gain the things of this world at the expense of the things in the next.

They act as if this is more important because they can't imagine that there is more than this. That is why they describe heaven in such this-world-like terms. They have been introduced to the Lord but they do not know Him so well that they press on to be changed by Him.

But we must press on. Otherwise we are just playing a game. We are saying that our relationship with Jesus means everything to us when that relationship  only gets our leftover  money,  time and efforts.

Honestly, I have not obtained the fellowship of His sufferings, the power of His resurrection nor been conformed to His death. I fail frequently to be what He calls me to be. That is why I press on. I still believe it is mine if I will not hold back.

Yesterday I watched a portion of the Superbowl. I rarely watch pro football but a friend had a few people over to watch it and I love the food. It appeared that one team was ready to play and the other thought that it would land in their laps. That may not be true since I only watched the first half. I decided who would win based on the way the winning team was pressing the team that would lose.  The didn't let up even though they, too, had a few failures. They got up and pressed on when they fell. 

And so I press on because I have not yet attained what I believe is mine to have. I press on because I fall sometimes. I press on because eternity in heaven is my destination. I press on. I press on. I press on. 

I haven't arrived yet.

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