The dictionary has many meanings for the word “press” some of which include “to use force or weight, to push, to squeeze, to apply pressure, to exert great effort, to stress, to plead insistently”. To press in the context of today’s verse is to use strength to push your way toward a specific goal, that being the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
There’s another type of “press” that we need to be constantly aware of also. A missionary from Kenya visited our church a while back and made a profound statement, “What is birthed in prayer must be sustained in prayer!” In other words, when you realize a victory in response to prayer, you must keep that victory bathed in prayer. You can’t afford to let up simply because you have the victory!
How many times we, as Christians, have seen a great need and began to pray earnestly for God to intervene and to change the circumstances. Soon, we see the circumstances begin to change, and we claim victory, forget it, and move on only to find that within a short period of time the situation appears to have grown worse! We can probably all identify with that. Why did it happen? The answer is simple . . . we didn’t continue to “press”.
“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)
The Amplified Bible says “I press on . . .” which gives us the indication that the pressing needs to continue relentlessly. And, even when we have realized a victory along the way, we need to keep on pressing on. Years ago our pastor used the analogy of being in a boat rowing upstream against the flow. The progress was slow but steady as long as he kept rowing. However, once he stopped, he immediately lost ground. He then would have to begin rowing again and keep on rowing just to regain the ground he had lost. In order to maintain steady progress toward his final destination, however, all along the way he would make it his goal to make it to a certain landmark. When he accomplished that goal, he set another goal to another landmark farther upstream and continued this till he arrived. But in order to “press” toward his mark, he couldn’t let go of the oars or stop rowing; the “press” had to remain constant and steady.
Each victory we realize along our path in life brings us closer to the ultimate prize. But our “press” needs to be constant, steady, and relentless till we receive the prize and the goal that we reach for—the Victor’s Crown. So, just remember, no matter what, “PRESS ON”!
Father, You and You alone are my ultimate goal, the prize that I reach for, that I “press” toward! Lord, sometimes it seems as if I’m rowing upstream against the flow, as if I’m climbing the steepest of all hills as the winds blow against me, but I know with Your strength I will endure as I press on. Father, help me to remember that when I realize small victories along the way, I need to keep pressing on and to not let up in my striving for the goal I’m reaching toward! Father, I make a commitment right here and now to “press” on with all that is within me until I have attained the ultimate prize, the highest calling of God in Christ Jesus … the Victor’s Crown! Amen!
“I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.” (Psalm 18:1-3)
© Jan Ross
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