I believe God is urging and teaching his people to press in like never before. It seems the time we are living in is more intense than ever; the battles closer together, stronger and longer. He is requiring us to lean on him for everything and is opening our eyes to understand that we really can not accomplish any of it in our own strength.
I think it safe to say that we’ve all tried and, if you’re anything like me, you’ve had lots of practice. But practicing building our own spiritual strength is not something we should be doing.
Thank God for Google and YouTube. Anything you want to learn about (and some things you don’t) are there for the taking. Since I know nothing about bench pressing I decided to do some homework. But before I share my findings, I will first add my disclaimer. I have never, am not, nor doubtfully ever will be, interested in bench pressing because I actually want to do it. I can think of far more fun things to occupy my time. For some, like my nephew, Dustin Berry, bench pressing is a way of life and I’m proud of him for all he has accomplished.
Spiritually speaking, I can press in. I talk about it, pray about it, teach others about it, and even sing about it.
“Just keep pressing on, pressing on, pressing on Until you reach the mark Keep pressing on, pressing on, pressing on Until you see the Lord…”
A few days ago I received a text from a couple of dear friends. They encouraged me to press in. They said, “in the midst of it all press in a little more, focus on those like Daniel, or Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. We know your pain is strong. We stand in prayer with you today.” They shared a page from their devotional which spoke about suffering and referred to Romans 5:1-11. Notice how verse three says “we glory in our tribulations”?
I took their counsel and tried to focus more on the Lord than on my circumstances. I tried to press in more than I had previously. Later that day I responded to their text message thanking them for their encouragement and exhortation.
The non-believer would consider these concepts foolishness, quickly disregard them, and be on their way. But for us believers, we know they are tried and true, and for the most part, want them to work effectively in our favor.
As I pondered the words of my friends and the Apostle Paul, I reached the conclusion that if we are honest, we do not really want to “glory in our tribulations.” Oh, like Paul said in Romans 7:14-21, “I find myself doing that which I don’t want to do, and not doing that which I do want to do.”
What a dilema!
When we consider the “hard sayings of God” we instinctively want to shrink back. Like water, our tendency is to take the path of least resistance. Just to press into those hard sayings takes the power of God, say nothing of accomplishing them.
But Philippians 2:13 says, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” When we find ourselves shrinking back from God’s perfect will and purpose we can be encouraged that Jesus will give us what we need to desire his predestined plan for our lives. All we have to do is ask him. And, he promises that if we ask, we will receive!