Keep Pressing On
Paul described his modus operandi in Christian living by saying, “I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). The Greek word translated “pursue” was one used in the ancient Roman games. It spoke of an athlete who expended every effort to win a crown or reward. As used by Paul in our text, it could be translated “I make every effort.” The apostle’s personal testimony serves as a powerful example for believers living in the twenty first century. As an increasingly depraved society beckons many to backdown in their Christian devotion, there is a need for an army of witnesses who will press on like Paul. If the church triumphant wants to make a difference in a dark world, it must have a pursuit that mirrors the apostle Paul. Consider four areas in which we must press on.
Press on in Christian giving.
While it may seem uncomfortable to mention God and money in the same breath, the Bible is filled with instruction on both subjects. Jesus Himself had a lot to say about material things, possessions, stewardship, and generosity. He once famously said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Why did our Lord talk so much about money? There are perhaps many reasons for His focus on the subject. For one, He knew well that possessions have a way of drawing people’s hearts away from God. On top of that, He also knew that financial resources are required to spread the gospel message (1 Corinthians 16:1-4). Do you want to help the church press on? Commit to generous Christian giving!
Press on in discipleship training.
Curbing the rising tide of lostness likely won’t happen without a renewed emphasis on the multiplication of disciples. Unfortunately, too many churches are too busy implementing entertainment tactics and various business methodologies to make time for what is most important. When Paul taught Timothy how to press on in ministry, he said, “What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, commit to faithful men who will be able to teach others also (2 Timothy 2:2). Do you want to pursue the prize of Christ? Press on by being a part of a disciple making process.
Press on in loving fellowship.
Without a close, family-like bond in its midst, it is unlikely that the church will make a positive impact on society. Jesus concurred. When praying for us, He said that our love and unity is what makes our witness powerful (John 17:23). The fellowship of the saints also has a practical benefit for those within the church. When the body of Christ loves like it ought, its individual members receive the encouragement, help, and support they need. Do you want to keep on moving forward in your Christian life? Be committed to loving and sharing life with other believers (1 John 1:7).
Press on in personal worship.
In my first pastorate, an older man in the church used to regularly tell me, “Pastor, if we can just get everyone to have a daily devotional time, we’ll have a strong congregation!” The man was on to something. The church is no stronger in public than the private prayers of its members. Do you want to press on? Be committed to personal worship (Psalm 55:17).
Dr. Patrick Latham