"Straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13b-14 (NIV)
Anticipation filled the air as names were being called. Parents and friends were clapping as students came forward to receive their certificates. The end of the school year marks a special time of recognizing their accomplishments. One mom felt a tear trickle down her cheek as her boys came to the front to be recognized. Pride and joy filled her heart as their commitment and perseverance were shown for their endeavors. This mother was me.
As my boys were given their certificates I began to reflect how it had taken them all school year to accomplish what they had done. It was not a one-time event. It took months of strength, determination, commitment, and perseverance for them to accomplish what they finished. It was hard. At times, tears were shed over the difficulty of the task at hand. I know they wanted to give up a time or two. They pushed forward. They persevered, facing difficulty head on. They were faithful to finish. Their goal was accomplished. In the end, the reward was worth their effort.
Considering the here and now forces me to answer some questions. What keeps us moving forward? What encourages us to press on as believers? Life is hard. At times, I have shed tears over the difficulty of the day-to-day. I have felt like giving up a time or two. What pushes us forward? Why do we persevere? What is the point of facing difficulty head on? Will we be faithful to finish? In the end, we must believe the reward is worth the effort.
Philippians 3:12-14 says, "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Paul speaks to us from prison in Rome. He offers us hope and encouragement despite his circumstances. He persevered. He pressed on. He pushed forward. He was found faithful.
Have you answered the above questions? What keeps you pressing on? Reflecting on what Christ has done should keep you moving forward. Internalizing His love and redemptive work should motivate you beyond the 'day-to-day'. Realizing the big picture allows you to keep your perspective in focus. Knowing the outcome will produce fruit encourages you to press on. Relying on the Holy Spirit's strength will reinforce your commitment. Despite your circumstances, you must believe your heavenly crown is worth the effort. Do not give up friends. Be found faithful to finish.
The events of this special assembly last week took my mind to another assembly awaiting believers. The glorious day when we meet our Savior face to face will trump any award, accomplishment, or recognition we have ever received. An Olympic Gold Medal, the Nobel Peace Prize or the Pulitzer will be forgotten. The Stanley Cup, NBA Championship, and World Cup will be insignificant. Our reward is worth our effort. With arms shaking and our heart racing, we will rejoice to hear His words, "Well done, good and faithful servant! Come and share your master's happiness!"
Ask God to strengthen you as you persevere through the day-to-day. Rely on His Holy Spirit to comfort you when discouraged and to motivate you forward. Press On!!!
What is the greatest award or accomplishment you have ever received? How does it compare to your heavenly crown awaiting you? When are you tempted to give up? What pushes you forward?
Heart Changing Word:1 Corinthians 9:25 "Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever."
Galatians 6:9 "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
Hebrews 10:36 "You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised."
Hebrews 12:1 "Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
James 1:3-4 "Because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
James 1:12 "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him."
Luke 8:15 "But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop."
Copyright 2010 by Hester Christensen. All rights reserved.