By Marni Montanez
New King James Version (NKJV)
14. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Our goal is always heaven bound. This is where our eternal life continues; in the physical presence of God. We are learning to surrender and move forward in the Spirit. Continuing on, even when we are suffering, our passion grows to know God. The bible speaks of working out our salvation with fear and trembling. Verses like these encourage us to keep going until we reach the finish line. The finish line is the goal of heaven and being home with our Creator. This is not death, but life eternal, where we find ultimate rest.
When the author uses the word, “press” it gives the impression that there must be some kind of resistance that hinders our way. May I suggest that the resistance could be you in your own way? In order to press toward something there is a forward motion which leads us into healing and growth. This verse is about moving forward. It’s about doing anything and everything we must do to grow in Christ and become all that we were meant to be in the Kingdom of God, now and eternally.
As we step forward there is a head wind of fear and doubt that causes us to hesitate or back off. Many if not all of us have been hurt by people and churches, and we can allow that hurt to dictate how and if we minister to others, or we can take on the challenge of finding freedom in Christ through forgiving those who have hurt us. This is all part of the process of pressing on.
There are church goers who sit in the pews or chairs, listen to the message and minister to no one, yet the very hurt they are experiencing is felt by others in that church that are not being ministered to. We need to step out of our bitterness, hurt and anger and reach out with determination using our gifts even if we don’t “feel” like it.
Most churches I have been to have hurt and betrayed me. If I were to stop stepping out in my role as minister of the gospel, helping people find their healing and roles in the Kingdom of God, then I am not doing what God requires me to do for Him. Hurt happens and the lie it perpetrates is, “I’ll be safe if I don’t reach out and make myself vulnerable." As one friend said, the church is full of unhealthy people. As long as we choose to stay in stagnate waters because we’ve been hurt or we’re afraid to step onward then we will not gain the ground we were meant to gain.
To press toward the goal for the prize of the high calling is a privilege and a destiny. As we do this, we are pressing into knowing Jesus in a deeper way and causing our own selves to move into a deeper place with Christ. We are strengthened with His power. Moving toward heaven is a continual motion and it requires our commitment and effort. In Christ we have everything. He is how we live and breathe and have our being. The calling is in Jesus. He is the only way to God the Father.
Challenge: Move forward through the wind of adversity. Keep seeking God with all your heart.
The purpose of this series is to encourage people to live as loving, compassionate, and peacemaking children of God: Jesus tells us to pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10) God tells us through Micah (6:8), "He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God." And we know from Revelation 21:4 that there will be no more mourning, or crying, or pain, or death. Thus, Christian living requires us to set the standards of these conditions here on earth for our fellow human beings, and for the other animals, as a witness to the rest of the world. To do otherwise is not Christian.