Stay the Course

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Phil. 3:14 "I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

God calls us to press on. Pressing on is the worst. I mean, if I'm honest pressing on is the least bit exciting thing ever. When I picture someone pressing on in my head I see a guy with sweat dripping down his face, exhaustion setting in, dirty, feeling like he can barely breathe, taking the smallest steps possible and hardly making progress. This isn't the centerfold shot that we see in magazines of fitness models with makeup on but more like the red-faced, puffy eyed, out of breath people we tend to see in the mirror.

Sometimes I wonder why God, through Paul, tells us to press on. It's like Paul's a coach encouraging us to go the extra mile, sneak in the last rep, push through the pain and keep your eyes on the goal. What coach Paul is really trying to tell us is that being a Christian isn't easy. In fact, if your life is anything like Paul's it actually sounds like one of those mud races.  Here's an excerpt from2 Corinthians 11:

"Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers;  in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure." 

I'm not saying that the Christian life is always going to be like a 007 movie where you can't catch a break but there are times when it seems a bit overwhelming. Paul knew that because the Christian life is hard we need to keep our eyes on the goal to stay motivated. Our goal is that when we see Jesus he will tell us, "Well done good and faithful servant."  Next time we're tempted to just give up, or give in to temptation, or just stop showing up remember the goal. It doesn't matter how small your steps are if you're moving in the right direction. 

Time to Suit Up

Originally Posted February 27, 2015 By Pastor Adam

I was watching CNN the other morning and the discussion, I must admit, was one that made me both examine the situation thoughtfully and also go to prayer.  The host and the guest were talking about the ongoing terror threats that are happening in the Middle East and also around the world, such as in some African nations and even here in the United States.  These reports were discussing the thought of whether or not these actions were that of a religious war.  I must admit that I tuned out a little after the host posed the question to hear the conclusions that were made, but I began to think on this question–are we really at war?

To be honest, Scripture tells us that we are at war.  But we’re not at war with who we think–we’re not at war with any human being, whether he/she is a believer in Islam, Buddhism, or any other religion.  The Apostle Paul had this same conversation with the Ephesian church, and in chapter 6:12 our enemy is clearly identified.  He says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  We are engaged in a war between the forces of good and evil.

We, as believers, have a responsibility to engage in this fight.  But it’s not in the way that you might be thinking.  Our engagement in this fight, as Paul counsels the Ephesian church, consists of two points.  First of all, we need to suit up with the armor of God.  If you’re not familiar with this term, the armor of God is a use of symbolism to get the faithful to be totally enveloped in God to use Him as our defender.  When we engage in this battle, we need to have protection, and only God is sufficient enough for the task.

Secondly, we have a responsibility to be on offense as well.  We are fortunate to have some powerful weapons at our disposal–the Word of God and Prayer.  Friends, the only way we can fight and make a difference in the world today is to live by the authority and power of Scripture and to seek God through prayer to do His work.  When we fight the battles of prayer, only then will this battle truly be won.

I am troubled by all of this.  I hate the fact that there is all of this trouble, killing, and sorrow in the world.  But, I do believe in the ONE who is the victor in all of this–our Lord Jesus Christ.  With the certainty of the victory, my challenge to each of you is that you suit up for the fight and become a warrior for the Lord as you pray for this world.  Pray that people would find the true hope that is only found in Jesus.