Thursday, October 2, 2014

"Press On!"

"Press On!"
Whenever I hear this phrase I am immediately standing in front of a tall, gruff instructor from my Air Force training.  It was his favorite phrase.  When said aloud, you have to drag out that "on" a little bit for the right effect.  Plans changed? "Press On!"  Didn't do as well as you hoped? "Press On!"  Had a little set back?  "Press On!"  Getting ready for the big inspection (or insert any other challenge) and feeling nervous?  "Press On!"  
Back then I didn't know that it was a biblical phrase.  I wonder if that Drill Sergeant knew.  He was a difficult and tough instructor, but he was encouraging.  He pushed me beyond what I knew I was capable of. God is often that way, too.  He can put us in situations that are unfamiliar to us, challenging to us, and then surprise us.  God certainly did that to Paul.  He challenged Paul and I'm pretty sure Paul was very surprised to find himself a Christ-follower instead of a Christ-persecuter and then capable of pressing on through the challenges this new role and life brought.  Paul set the bar for making sure everyone knew where that strength came from.  He never missed an opportunity to point to Christ as the source of his contentment, of his ability to "press on" in all circumstances.  
We find this phrase in Paul's letter to the Philippians.  In chapter 3, verse 14, Paul writes that there is one thing he knows about his life - he is committed to "press on" toward Jesus, toward the prize of eternal life.  "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."  
I love how the lyrics of this song by Building 429 talk about how sometimes in this life we are pretty messed up, like "a wrecking ball" and that we "just don't get it all" but we still press on in our pursuit of God.  We don't have to have all the answers about why this or that happened.  When we know Christ, we don't have to be perfect - He was perfect for us.  Paul encourages us, despite the trials of life, to keep striving toward an ever-closer relationship with Christ. When our eyes are focused on Jesus, we are strengthened for any trial.  We can "press on" knowing that all our needs can be met in Jesus our Savior.
Join me in Sunday School this weekend to discuss further Paul's letter and our call to "press on."

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