“What you get by achieving your goal is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.’ Henry David Thoreau
“You have to set goals that are almost out of reach. If you set a goal that is obtainable without much work or thought you are not stretching your true talent and potential.” Steve Garvey
They say anything worth having comes with a price. The price includes hard work that we must be prepared to do. Normally our goals push us beyond our comfort zone. During the journey we will face obstacles. But obstacles shouldn’t stop us. Rather we must press through. To press means to fight against and resist something that is pressing against us.
I know you have heard me talk before about my adventures in the gym. One of my favorite exercises is the bench press. The main purpose of the bench press is to build chest muscles. You lay flat on your back, take the weight from the bench rack to your chest and create resistance as you push up. The exercise uses the press of the weight and your arm strength to build muscle. The muscle is being built as the weight is being pressed upwards against the resistance. It does not always feel good, but I choose to keep my eyes on the end goal of being strengthened physically. This routine often proves more mental than physical- the same concept applies to everyday life as believers.
In the book of Philippians Apostle Paul wrote: I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14
The type of press that Paul was talking about didn’t involve a weight bench but it did deal with setting a goal and pushing through to victory. In life we press through on a daily basis. As I am working on writing this blog I am pressing my way because the process does not stop when things are not ideal. Pressing always requires sacrifice. Especially sacrifice of how you feel- because you want the end result. When we daily press through to fulfill the call of Christ while we are here on earth it builds our inner man. It increases our chances to reach our full potential.
The press oftentimes means that we have to dissociate from those things that stunt our growth. We will be required to give up some of those things that give us temporary pleasure so we can see the finish line. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 encourages however: Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day; for our light affliction and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes on what is seen but on what are unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
We must remind ourselves, “the press” is pushing us through the doubt, the fear, the haters, the confusion, the background noise and the rejection. We must push through all these “obstacles” to reach the finish line. We must fix our focus on the reward. The fix means to fasten securely in a particular place or position and to focus is defined as the center of interest. In a relay race, the last leg is considered to be the most important. It is also the leg of the race that is the most treacherous. If you are not fixed on the finish line-you may exert too much energy too soon or too late. You must see the last leg before you are at the finish line. We cannot panic when it seems that things are closing in fast but we have to press through. The focus must be established before you get to the end friend. This life that we are running is simply to get to the place where Christ wants us to be. Do not mistake the press as negative. It is building you. It is building us.
If you are not fixed on your lane you can be distracted by what’s around you. When a runner is focused they see the end with the other runners but they do not get distracted. They know how to survive in the race because they are equipped and focused from the beginning to the end. There are three things that will help us press to reach the finish line:
- Determination – Firmness of purpose and resolute to see it to the end. Our determination must be that no matter what I am committed to the end. Are you committed to see the press through the end? We must know that through Christ, we have the ability to get to the finish line.
- Drive– To propel or carry along by force in a specific direction. Now I know you may be thinking that drive is the same as determination but they are quite different. You need determination to see the goal through, but the drive is the action that is going to get you there. Drive is from the Holy Spirit and God allows it to comfort us and to carry us on. Paul would not have been effective if he relied on his own strength. His drive came from the empowering of the Holy Spirit. Do not give up. Continue to lean on the mighty power of the Holy Spirit and just like a runner in a race, don’t quit. I am reminded of the stretch of a relay race when the tired runner can see the finish line but just as there black cleats come around that final bend, a cool breeze gently whispers to keep pressing. When he turns that final bend and the finish line is in his sight. With every step, the sound of grinding sand in between cleat and synthetic rubber can be heard like a cadence. He hears the cadence as the cleat comes down on his lane that keeps him pressing.
- Dedicated– means to be devoted to a task or purpose. Are you dedicated? Are you willing to stay in it, even when you are the underdog? The enemy plays for keeps and just like you he is fighting to prevent you from winning and will distract you at every turn if possible. Whatever you do don’t quit! Don’t give the control to the enemy, even when it appears you are down. We serve a God who is able to do exceeding and abundantly above all we can ever ask or think (Ephesians 3:20)! All He wants from us is our dedication to His way and not our own.
The coach, Jesus Christ, has promised to never let us fail. If we faint not we will reap an amazing award. If we remember Him while we are pressing, we will have strength to run on. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength: they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:13
Commit today to stay in the Press! Be encouraged