Pressing On

Philippians 3:13-14 “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do. Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heaven ward in Christ Jesus.”

Paul is reaching toward the upward call of God. He is looking to the day when he will meet his Maker, and there, have to give an account for his life. Paul’s desire is to hear the words “well done, good and faithful servant.” Is that your desire too?

It is mine. Here we are in 2017, and I, too, want to live my life pressing on toward that upward call. But, what does that mean? Paul tells us that God is working in us to bring about His perfect will. Paul says that he isn’t looking back behind him, but he leaves the past and reaches for the future, pressing on toward the goal.

Paul was concerned with his faith walk, he wanted to grow in the knowing the Lord. He wanted his faith and trust to grow deeper. He wanted to grow in Christ-likeness. We, as Christ followers should be like-minded. We, too, should want to grow in Christ-likeness, and in knowing the Lord more deeply. We need to search our hearts and seek the Lord in prayer in order to determine where we are in our faith-walk. You might ask:

  • Where am I growing in my faith?
  • Where am I lacking in knowledge?
  • Is there a specific area that I am struggling in that I need wisdom for?
  • Where do I need more faith?

When you take these things into consideration, you may want to look at them through the lens of your scripture verse for the year as well as through the lens of your word of the year. One or the other, or both, if you have them both. Both have helped me in deciding how I need to press on.

My verse for the year is “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that you may abound in hope in the power of His Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

This verse reminds me that one area I need to press on in is learning to trust God more so I might live in joy and peace throughout this race of life. I desire to overflow with hope in Him. These are beautiful gifts of a growing faith.

I need hope in the Holy Spirit for when life seems impossible or when I feel inadequate or fearful. It is so easy to get hung up on our failures and our mistakes. It is too easy to feel like giving up. But, Paul says, “Press on.” He wants us to look to God, look toward God, press on toward the upward calling He has on you and your life. 

My word for the year is “yield.” This word also helps me to see where and how to press on. It is easy to try to be or to think you are self-sufficient, trying to control things. It is in that place where I live driven and striving. But as I said, in an earlier post, I want to reach for a faith that yields to the Spirit’s power, to be more open to Him. Although, I must say, it is much more comfortable for me to try to do it my way. It feels safer when you have yourself believing  you are in control. But that is a lie of the Enemy.

I need:

  • God’s Spirit’s power to permeate my inner being.
  • His love to saturate my heart.
  • His peace to penetrate through all that holds me in anxiety and stress.
  • His hope to be infused in my life and inspire me to live out my faith boldly.
  • His joy to overflow my soul and result in praise and worship.

My yielded self is changed as He fills me. More of Him, less of me. I need to yield to His transforming power within me in so many areas.

  • in learning to be present
  • in learning to be transparent
  • in learning forgiveness
  • in learning to choose wisely
  • in learning to rest in His love

Pressing on means moving forward with willingness and with your mind focused on the goal. I will pray as I press on, pray for His leading and His work in me.

This all may look a lot different for you but I urge you to set aside a chunk of time to look at what pressing on means for you.

Press on toward the heaven ward calling that is yours in Christ Jesus. May your soul be refreshed as you press on.

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How I Found my Word for 2017

I recently read a blog, there have been many, that discussed choosing a word for 2017. I chose a word, and then within a week, I changed it. Let me share the process. I learned so much through doing it that I think it may benefit others.

I started out by taking a look at who I am and where I am in my relationship with the Lord. I wrote down a list of words that I have had come up, again and again, in my time with the Lord. These “sacred echoes” as Margaret Feinberg may call them, gave me clear direction in vision as to what the Lord wants for me. The words that came up frequently, as I was praying and studying, were trust and surrender.

But there was more, I also found that I yearned for joy in my heart and life. I was reminded of the lesson the Lord had taught me regarding my lack of contentment. It was a definite area of heart transformation that I felt the Lord directing me.

Next, I took into consideration areas of growth in traits or characteristics that the Lord had led me in. He has been showing me my lack of praise and worship leading me to realize the connection of inner joy being the pathway to that.

I created a list of words and settled on this one word, the word was “permeate.” My thought was, “I want the Lord to so infuse His being into me”. But, later that week, I felt as if that was only a part of what the Lord wanted to see happen in my heart. So, in the end I settled on the word “yield” because there are so many areas where I need to yield.

I explored the word yield in my heart, and found the following areas in my life to focus on. The list included striving, self-sufficiency, need to prove myself, and in forgiving. Each of these require yielding, but with that yielding I realized that I will come to know the Lord really permeating me and my life. The word permeate actually adds another level of depth of meaning to my  word yield.

I took some time to look at all of the opportunities yielding brings, all of the areas of transformation that I need to be open to.

I began to think of yielding as letting go. My list of areas that I need to let go in seemed to grow, I added drivenness, fears, fear of losing, satisfying other in order to get love, obligations, expectations, and being over-responsible. When I finally finished my list, I then wrote down the take away– what I could learn when I yield in this area. I was amazed at what I discovered. One example–letting go of trying desperately to satisfy others to get love may mean learning more of the fullness of the Lord’s loving presence. I might gain a new appreciation and trust of Him as I learn of the magnitude of His love for me. Knowing of His love in a deeper way gives me freedom from trying so hard to earn love. It all works together so beautifully.

I went through each area of yielding in this manner and found that the take aways were all an intricate part of growing in Christ-likeness and in the fruit of the Spirit. All of my yielding will be the Spirit working in my heart changing me, helping me to let go. He alone can replace the sinful holding-onto with a grace-filled response that honors God.

I am adding each of these areas to my prayer journal and asking the Lord to lead me in the transformation process and help me to yield as I go through 2017.

This was a great exercise, I am so glad that I took the time to look back to see where I have been and also, in the process, see where the Lord is taking me.

I pray that 2017 is a year of transformation for each us, that each of us will be transformed for His glory.

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