This verse from the Apostle Paul's letter to the Philippians has always captivated my heart. Different portions of this scripture arrest my attention depending on what is happening in my life at the moment I read it or it is whispered to my heart by the Holy Spirit. Today, the words "press on" stand out, emboldened on the page as if highlighted by a heavenly cursor. If we use a dictionary to define the word "press" we find this: move or cause to move into a position of contact with something by exerting continuous physical force.
This word "press" is all about exertion. It yields itself to the understanding that we have to be active participants in the call of God on our lives. Certainly, we must continue to take one step after the other in climbing the Mountain of God. We have to get out of bed every morning determined to hear and obey the Master's mandates. But, more than the physical "pressing" that is metaphorically alluded to in this verse, the spiritual "pressing" is even more pertinent.
If we want to win we must be willing to "press;" willing to exert continuous pressure that causes movement in the invisible realms. If you have ever watched collegiate wrestling you understand the dynamic of pressure. Wrestling is all about one opponent asserting dominance by applying superior pressure. That stirs the question in our hearts, "Who or what are we pressing against?" Ephesians 6:12 makes it very clear: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness in high places." And in II Corinthians 10:5, The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God, to the pulling down of strongholds, the casting down of imaginations and every lofty thought that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. Bringing every thought captive obedient to Jesus Christ.
We are admonished to press against the enemies of our souls. We are not admonished to press according to the flesh, however. We must press in the spirit realm, with the power of the Holy Spirit that blows His wind through our inner most being, giving us the ability to do all things through Him. As we yield our bodies as living sacrifices, the courage to press on flows like a river out of our inner-most being. When we are pressing with the strength of the Lord, we find that the Word of God prevails: "...you shall tread over serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall by any means harm you." Pressing on with the presence of our Savior makes all things possible and attainable. Strength to run the race that is set before us with patience is procured by pressing on under the Hand of the Almighty. He presses me, I press the enemy. If I resist the Lord's pressure on my life, I can expect the enemy to be emboldened to resist me trying to press him. I am successful in pressing as I submit to pressing.
The climb to the top is steep and fraught with boulders and stones of distractions and temptations, but the view from the top is exhilarating. We are presented with many opportunities to stop, turn aside or back down. But, for those who have determined to win the prize that calls us heavenward, we must press on. Press on in the Power of the One who is Present with us always. Amen.