Pressing on, together

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  This week’s feast is a visible expression of the richness we have been enjoying from God’s Word.  I am so thankful for you and and glad we get  to study Philippians together.

Together

Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to do hard things together?  That’s why we look for an exercise buddy or a running partner or join a team weight loss program.  We keep each other from quitting in a low moment.  We pace each other, too, especially over the long haul.

Finding the right pace is important for any marathon.  My cycle teacher at the Y regularly trains with a more experienced partner.  I can’t imagine that she needs a mentor, because to me, she is an expert.  But when she is preparing for a race, she trains under the watchful eye of a 65 year old marathoner.  He rides behind her and corrects her form.  But most of all he corrects her pace.

Inexperienced athletes use up most of their energy too early in a race.  Inexperienced Christians do the same.  We run from Bible study to small group to serving opportunity to outreach.  Then when someone invites us to another Bible study or small group or serving opportunity or outreach,  we say “Yes!”  Eventually we crash.  We need mature believers to come along side us and set the pace.  Because even though the race is long, the goal is worth it.  And the prize is unbelievable.

Pressing On

Paul talks about “pressing on” in our passage this week, Philippians 3:12-4:1. After describing the surpassing value of knowing Christ in the previous paragraph, he admits “I haven’t attained it.”  He has more to grasp, more to enjoy, more to enter into.  So he presses on…to the goal…for the prize.  And he invites the Philippians to join him.

Discussion question of the week  

#7 How does Jesus strengthen my faith? One way Jesus strengthens our faith is by calling us to run the race with others.  This week let’s share about that.  Is there someone you thank God for, someone who has strengthened you to press on in Christ?  Feel free to share other insights from the passage as well.

4 comments on “Pressing on, together

  1. Lissa White says:

    As I reading this section, for like the 5th time because I kept on reading and reading and it was as though nothing was clicking in my thick skull but I was relentless to pursue my treasure in his word, I was asking him to show me how looking to those around me was encouraging me onward. Then he showed me by his good grace how HE is working in those around me. He is working in my husband, in my home group, in my friends and HE is pursuing them and using his word as a living and active word to pierce hearts and draw them closer to himself. In verse 21 it says that by the power that enables him to subject all things to himself, by that power he will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body. And I think, please tell me if I am wrong, that that is what I am seeing in the people around me via sanctification. It is that power that he is using to change our hearts and purge that sin out of us. What a glorious sight!
    For that I am encouraged to continue in my faith as I see those around me being powerfully changed. That even when I sin and am stuck in my old sin pattern, a sin week, I look and see my husband and he is being changed, friends are being changed and I have hope and faith that he is changing me and that I can pursue him yet again and he will continue. In that I rejoice again!

    • rondi says:

      It’s wonderful to see how you pressed through a feeling of dullness by praying–and how God was faithful to answer your prayers. It’s true that we don’t tend to see his work in us, but are often able to see his work in others. What a great way to be strengthened in your faith! Thank you for bringing that out: when I see God at work in those around me, I can be confident that he is also at work in me, even if I don’t see the details of it right now. Thanks for spreading the joy of this truth to us, Lissa.

  2. Natalie Cooper says:

    There are four specific people in my life that have walked with me and pressed me on towards Christ: Rondi, thank you for your example, words, and humility God has used you dramatically in my life. My sister, thank you for your guidance, love, and for always being there for me no matter what! I love you! Lissa, thank you for your encouragement, friendship and coming along side me. Jmo, thank you for your honesty, care, and loyalty. I am thankful for you all and love you all!
    I also thank God for my husband, for loving Jesus so much, for leading our family so well, for helping me when I am in sin, for providing, for desiring to reach the lost, for loving me. I also thank God for allowing us to have two beautiful children!

    The gospel strength is Jesus Christ…he alone strengthens me. vs-12-16 wow so encouraging. The fact that Christ Jesus has made me His own…me a undeserving sinner who deserves hell has made me his own. That alone humbles me and stregthens me. To not sit in condemnation but to receive the gift of God’s grace and freedom in Jesus. So refreshing! This week God has been so kind to allow me to see Him answering my prayers which strengthened me and my faith. If I look back on this last year and how Christ has sanctified, strengthened and changed my life my eyes are full of tears. HE is so so good and I am so thankful he has made me His own and that we (His saints) can encourage, help, laugh, cry, and feast on Jesus together. Thank you Jesus!

    • rondi says:

      What a sweet gift of encouragement you gave me today. Thanks Natalie! Your growing faith and pressing on in him have stirred those around you, too, including me. So thanks for “giving back.”

      I love that you noticed the kernel of gospel truth hidden in this week’s passage. I can press on to make it (his righteousness, his life, death, and resurrection) my own because “he has made me his own.” Those six words could feed my soul for months. He doesn’t just want to forgive me, he wants me. We all want to be wanted. We all want to belong. Jesus saved me (and you) because he wants us to be his very own. That is amazing and so very satisfying.