Philippians Part 7 - Press On
What I don’t understand about the Bible doesn’t really bother me. No, I’m not bothered by what I don’t Biblically know but what I do know about the Bible, that’s what bothers me a lot.
-it’s like I know more about spiritual things than I fully believe.
-I’m educated beyond my level of obedience.
-or I haven’t fully integrated some spiritual matters into my life, I know them to be true in my head but have not incorporated them into my heart. I have a classic 18-inch syndrome, the distance between my head and my heart.
Here’s an example of knowing something and not doing it, understanding scripture but not believing it personally or knowing some spiritual truth but ignoring the truth and settling on my excuses.
What is written in Philippians 3, I understand what Paul is saying, plus I know it applies to me and you and that’s what bothers me. In this passage I’m about to read to you there’s no allowance for falling down and quitting, not for Christians. And there’s no provision for a Christian to pull out of life’s race nor allowance for Christians to give up.
Philippians 3:12-14 The Voice
12 I’m not there yet, nor have I become perfect; but I am charging on to gain anything and everything the Anointed One, Jesus, has in store for me—and nothing will stand in my way because He has grabbed me and won’t let me go. 13 Brothers and sisters, as I said, I know I have not arrived; but there’s one thing I am doing: I’m leaving my old life behind, putting everything on the line for this mission. 14 I am sprinting toward the only goal that counts: to cross the line, to win the prize, and to hear God’s call to resurrection life found exclusively in Jesus the Anointed.
Paul writes: I press on, Jesus got a hold of me, I’m not looking back but straining forward, I press on, I press on to win.
Yeah, Paul’s a winner, go get ‘em Paul, I admire Paul’s tenacity, he won’t give up but presses on to win. Love it in Paul, admire it in Paul.
-But here’s what bothers me, I know it’s true in my head but my heart rebels against it. Here it is.
This Bible passage applies to me, Paul is an example but I’m to duplicate this in my own life; no giving up, just pressing on, not looking back or reverting back but persistently pressing on to win.
Oh, please Lord, a little leniency, a little reprieve so I can quit my Christian walk for maybe a couple years or until I get better.
I’ve got a really good excuse to grow cold in my faith. You understand, right?
Have you never felt like throwing your hands up in the air and yelling, I’m done, I quit, I can’t go on. This Christianity is too hard right now!
-Maybe, you’ve done the giving up gradually, day by day, week by week, growing colder, farther away from God until you find yourself lukewarm and actually repulsive to God and yourself.
Many Christians are in this process of drifting away.
Here’s the experiential truth about myself and I can imagine it has been your experience too as a Christian. I’m either trending up in my spiritual walk or trending downward. I either am drawing closer to God or I’m drifting away from God. I’m either warming up spiritually or cooling down.
It only takes me a split second of thought to know what direction I’m heading. It only takes you a split second of thought to know what direction you’re heading.
Q What is your direction? Growing warmer towards God or cooling off and going away from God? Interestingly, God already knows and interestingly, you know too.
Listen again to this passage again and think, this is Paul’s testimony, this is to be MY, MINE, MY testimony also.
Philippians 3:12-14 New International Version
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, 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.
Here is what this passage is NOT saying:
Give up. Admit defeat. Cave in. Quit the race. Wilt under pressure. Lose hope. Despair to go on. Collapse. Fold. Fall down. Think, I can’t go on.
Here is what this passage is saying:
Don’t you, give up. Don’t you, dare give up. You -Press on. You-Strain forward, don’t you look back, You -press on, yes, you press on and win.
-I have thought and imagined every excuse I could to stop, quit or give up in my Christian journey and here are some you may have thought of also or perhaps even used as legitimate excuses but they not legitimate, they were only excuses:
You’re discouraged. Discouragement usually comes from placing
your hope in the wrong thing or person.
àPut your hope in God. Press on.
You feel down. Cast your cares upon God. Press on.
You feel all alone. Faith my friend -God is with you. Press on.
You can’t overcome your weakness. 70x7 it’s truly effort & commitment
to God-keep on. Press on.
You’re tired. Rest in God. The everlasting arms. Press on
You’re worn out. God can renew your strength. Like an
eagles. Press on.
You’re exhausted. Lean on God, He really does care. Press on
You’re bored. Draw close to God, get ready. Press on.
You’re disheartened. Don’t trust in man, trust God. Press on.
You’re hurt. Forgive and forgive again. Press on.
You’re wounded. Let God bind the wounds, forgive. Press on.
You’re damaged. Yes, I know. We’re all cripples and we all
need a crutch, the crutch is Jesus. Press on.
You’re broken. The broken, Jesus came for you, to touch.
Let Jesus work, give Him time. Press on.
You’re dejected. Lift your eyes to Jesus, He never rejects
but accepts and welcomes you. Press on.
You’re disappointed. Lift your head, Look to God in faith.
You’re a failure. You’re worthless. You’re useless. You’re of little value.
That’s not true, those thoughts are from the devil. God is at work in you and will keep working until He is done. Trust God, He makes you worthy, He will use you. Yield to His work in you, God loves you His precious one. Press on.
Don’t believe the excuses, if you believe them, you’ll cave in.
Believe in God and His preserving power in your life. Always press on.
There is a story about a determined little boy who went out into the field wearing a baseball cap. In one hand he carried a baseball, & in the other a baseball bat. His face bore a look of tremendous confidence.
Readying his bat, he tossed the ball into the air, saying, "I’m the greatest batter in the world!" Then he swung & missed. "Strike one," he said.
He picked up the ball, examined it, & then threw it into the air again. As he swung, he repeated, "I’m the greatest batter in the world." Once again he missed. "Strike two," he said.
This time, he stopped to examine his bat to make sure there wasn’t a hole in it. Then he picked up the ball, adjusted his cap, & tossed the ball into the air for the 3rd time.
He repeated again, "I’m the greatest batter in the world," & swung with all his might & missed for the 3rd straight time. "Wow" he cried, "What a pitcher. I’m the greatest pitcher in the world!"
Maybe, like the little boy looking for a hole in his bat, you’ve been looking at the wrong thing, you’ve been looking at your weakness, your failures, your disappointments, your little-worth, your hurts, your pain, your exhaustion, your brokenness, and your discouragements. And God says bluntly to you, stop, stop that, look to me, I can help. I’m the healer, I’m the mender of broken hearts and lives, I’m your hope, your worth giver, I am your strength, and your fortress. God says not only stop but says to you and me, keep pressing on. Press on, never give up, press on. I will deliver you home. All the way.
2 Corinthians 4: 8-10
8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed (we do not give up but we press on); perplexed, but not in despair (we do not give up but we press on); 9 persecuted, but not abandoned (we do not give up but we press on); struck down, but not destroyed (we do not give up but we press on).
If you are knocked down, hard pressed, discouraged or suffer with any spiritual malady or are enduring a spiritual condition causing you to flame out, to cool down in your fervor for God, if you are trending downward spiritually than know this:
God is more than you know and more than you need.
God says to you this morning, stand up, be strong and courageous in Me and PRESS ON.
Philippians 3:12-14 let’s apply this passage to ourselves
… WE press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of US. … one thing WE do: Forgetting what is behind US and straining toward what is ahead of US, yes, WE press on toward the goal to win …
October 15, 2023