An open Bible and a cup of coffee.

This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”

Philippians 3:13-14

Anyone acquainted with weight training understands that the muscles of the human body can be grouped into two broad categories; we have muscles involved in pushing or pressing (chest, shoulders, triceps) and those involved in pulling (back, biceps). When it comes to competition, an athlete is only as strong as his weakest body-part; he must give proper attention to training both kinds of muscles. This is analogous to maintaining our spiritual health and well being. The Christian life also involves a kind of pushing (pressing) and pulling. To begin with, the Lord Jesus stated that entrance into the Kingdom of God is not easy. Every person who enters the Kingdom is one who “presses into it” (Luke 16:16). In other words, the way to life everlasting is narrow and difficult (Matthew 7:14). A man must “press into it” because there is only room for him, not his worldly desires or his sin. In the Bible, we see people aggressively pursuing the Lord’s help, thoroughly convinced that only He could meet their deep need. The friends of the paralyzed man had to press into the Lord’s presence for healing (Mark 2:4).The woman with an issue of blood did likewise. Mark explains that “when she had heard of Jesus, she came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole” (Mark 5:27-28). These instances are analogous to the way in which those who are convicted of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8) will seek the Lord for salvation, redemption, and the forgiveness of sins. Once we are born-again believers, we are called to make real progress in walking “worthy of God, who hath called [us] unto his kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:12). As today’s verse passage reminds us, this means forgetting the regrets of the past and pressing forward to reach the goal of being like Jesus (Ephesians 4:13). The Christian life also involves pulling. Paul explains that “though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;).” In other words, as we press towards the goal of being like Jesus, we “pull down” all things that compete with Him for preeminence in our lives. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). As we destructively pull down strongholds, we are also instructed to warn, instruct, and help others to love and serve Jesus. Jude refers to this as saving people with fear, “pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh” (Jude 1:22-23). In all these examples of pushing and pulling, we note that there is real resistance to be overcome. May the Lord strengthen all of us “with might by His Spirit in the inner man” (Ephesians 3:16).

God bless,

pastor john