Hey friends, how are you today? How was your weekend? Did you go to church? For the first time in months, we went with all the members of our little family present. The baby is back! She completed her degree in Early Childhood with honors! Praise the Lord! Not so long ago, as we homeschooled, there were days when I thought college would be a challenge in every way possible. Yet here we are, two debt-free college graduates all because of the grace and mercy of the God of the Universe, to Him alone be all the glory and all the praise! To the parents, who choose to homeschool, take every opportunity to point the little ones to Jesus and see what He will do with their lives. All righty then, that’s my testimony for today. What’s yours?
Today as I spent time with the Lord, I came across a very special verse that I thought perhaps it was past time I memorized. “I press on”, the Apostle Paul says (in the NIV). “I press on…”. In spite of the circumstances, “I press on”. Whether the weather is abysmal, bleak, cloudy, dismal, erratic, fractious, or gloomy, “I press on”. Whether I feel disappointed, distracted, depressed, or downcast, “I press on”. Whether my day brings clouds or sunshine “I press on”, he says. Because he knows, pressing on is a choice.
I’m sure there were days when he didn’t feel like “pressing on”. On the days he was thrown into prison for the cause of Christ, the choice to “press on” was difficult, I’m sure. On the days he was beaten within an inch of his life, perhaps he felt like wallowing in self pity. In today’s world, he would be justified, in our sight. “After all what he’s been through” we would say, “I’m not surprised”. But no, in spite of all these atrocities, Paul says, “I press on”. I press on because the prize is a worthy one.
On the days when it was his own failure he tasted in his mouth, he said, “I press on”. He knew the enemy would take every opportunity to point out the errors of his ways to keep him stagnant, so he chose to “press on” instead. Perhaps like David, he said, “…my sin ever before me” (Psalm 51:3). Because that’s what the enemy does, he constantly brings our sin before us.
“You’re not good enough”, “you’re not faithful enough”, “you’re not holy enough” are constant refrains he brings to the mind. It’s hard to “press on” through that sludge, it’s so much easier to lay down and the enemy laughs in victory. But we’re not left alone to “press on”. No, no… we are not alone…
Sometimes though, it’s pride that delays our “pressing on”. Pride with its self-righteousness and self importance that tells us we have arrived! Pride that assures us that indeed WE are the prize! And again, the enemy laughs in victory because he uses our humanity against us.
Other times, friends and family members distract us from the goal. They come with issues and in our haste, we take our eyes off the Master and attempt to heal, to soothe without pointing to the Savior. We seek to be godly without God and that too hinders our ability to “press on”. But even there, we have hope. We are not left alone…
“I press on” the apostle Paul says. He made that conscious decision to go all the way, to win the race, to gain the ‘prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus’. Although he made the choice, the prize could only be attained with outside help. On his own, that prize would be unachievable. United we stand.
In today’s world, there are distractions, diversions, and disturbances with the sole intent to bring about failure to gain the prize, if we allow it. Because we have a choice to make; to ‘press on’ or eschew. Remember we are not alone on this journey. We have each other to build up, care for, disciple, fight for and encourage and most importantly we have the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to help us. The prize is worth it!!
Will you ‘press on’?