Pressing On
Junior Level

This week we will be doing a study in the book of Philippians which was written by the Apostle Paul.  We will take a look at our own hearts as we do this study and ask ourselves, are we just comfortably walking along with the LORD in this life or are we pursuing to know HIM with passion?  It is my prayer that each one of you reading this will be encouraged and that you will be inspired to chase after the knowledge of who JESUS CHRIST is and to desire to know all about HIM!  HE IS GOOD…ALL THE TIME!

Handout: Pressing On

Philippians 3:1-14

Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.  Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.  For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.  Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more:
Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;  Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.  But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Those words that are used here in verse 14, I PRESS toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, that word press in the Greek transliteration in which Paul would have penned it down is diokio and it means to chase after or pursue.  It means to stretch forth, to reach for something with passion.  Paul spent his life chasing after Christ.  The first part of his life he spent chasing the LORD in a negative way.  Remember in Acts chapter 9 Paul, then Saul was on his way to Damascus to have Christians persecuted.  Let’s take a look.

Acts 9: 1-4  “1And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. 3And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?”

If you look it up, that term “persecutest thou” in the Greek again which is the language Paul used to pen it down…is the same word, diokio which again means to chase after or pursue!  In other words Jesus was asking, Saul why are you chasing me?  Saul was terrified and the chapter goes on to show how Saul was arrested for Christ and he was converted and the LORD changed his name to Paul and we know GOD used his life for more than I’m sure he ever even dreamed of! 
Paul understood that human beings are created for passion.  If we are not allowing GOD to be that passion that we are pursuing then our flesh will chase after something else and will get us into a pit of sin.  Saul went from chasing after JESUS to do harm to HIM, to chasing after HIM to know Him, to live Him, to be overtaken by Him…I want that too!
What are you chasing after?  Are you chasing after that dream of wealth?  Are you chasing after a person or relationship?  Maybe you are chasing after popularity or fame.  What if you got that thing that you were chasing?  Would it still fulfill you?  It might for a while, but Dear ones let me tell you a truth.  The one and only passion that you and I can pursue after that will NEVER let us down, that will go with us at the end of our lives, is The LORD JESUS CHRIST.  There is no other , none other that will go with us after we leave this life.  Paul was very wise in understanding that.  That is why he said that all the things he had done, obeying the law to the letter, paying his tithes, understanding the law, education, all the things that the flesh could boast about, they were NOTHING and he accounted them as trash because it is all going to burn and life is meaningless without Jesus Christ.  He gave it all up to learn of and to know Christ.  To experience that passion and that fire!  I want that!  Don’t you?  You may not realize it now, but Beloved the most exciting life you can live is that of one who is in full surrender to Christ.  You NEVER know what He will do next that is so amazing that YOU WILL BE BLOWN AWAY! 

Sometimes I feel the Holy Spirit so strongly, as I’m sure you do as well, but all I can do is tremble and cry and inside me I pray…JESUS over take me…draw me in so close to you that I melt into YOU…overtake every part of me…so that only YOU show!  I think that is some of how Paul felt…I’m sure you have felt it too and we should…and so much more!  HE IS EVERYTHING!

How can we pursue Christ more?  If you are born again then you already have HIM, but do you know all about HIM?  How much time do you give HIM in your days?  Does He come first?  You have to work, it is admirable to work, but how much time are you giving to the LORD in studying His word and in conversation with HIM…prayer?  If we are not very careful, the devil will take over our minds with being to busy and before we know it, the day is gone and we are so worn out we must rest and then the things of God have been neglected and we become weak and the passion is gone.  That is why it is so important to make time for GOD…to be alone with HIM and to seek HIM with all your heart, to acknowledge HIS presence with you all day long and know that He is always there.  He should come before anyone or anything in our lives.  After all He gave HIS life and died for us…the least we can do is live for HIM!

Wouldn’t it be worth it to you to wake up earlier in the morning just to spend some time alone with The LORD?  To get away and just talk to HIM, and be with HIM and praise HIM and let HIM love on you, to let HIM tend to your spirit?  We need HIS tender care.  More than breathe we need His tender mercies.  He doesn’t just put a bandage on our wounds from everyday life which is so hard, He heals them with a soothing balm that only He can provide.  He gives us more grace and strength to get through our days with everything that life is going to throw at us.  It is worth losing some sleep to get up earlier or stay up later to just be alone with HIM.
Now just so you know, if you decide to pursue Christ with passion to know Him, Satan will have a few tricks up his sleeve to try to stop that passion.  One of those is called: Dread.

Dread discounts or disbelieves the Grace of GOD Almighty.  Has the Holy Spirit ever put something on your heart to do but you start thinking about it and the more you think about it the more you dread doing it.  Or maybe something in life comes up and you dread facing it.  As human beings we have all experienced dread, but really dread is a form of unbelief.  Here is why.

2 Corinthians 12:9 “And HE said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 

Jesus says that His grace is enough!  That means no matter what we face in life, whatever we have to go through, He is going to give us the amount of grace it takes to get through that!  He has set us up to succeed.  However, we have to trust Him.  He does not give us the grace we will need to face tomorrow or next week or next year, He gives us the amount of grace we need for today!  Isn’t that wonderful!  When I wake up every new morning…I can trust and know that GOD has given me the grace I need to get through that day whatever may come!  His mercies are new every morning!

Lamentations 3:21-24 “This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.  Through the LORD’S mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.  “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in HIM!”

Because HE lives we can face tomorrow and any day.  Because His mercies are new every morning and they endure forever!  Praise be to the Lamb of GOD!!!!  That excites my soul!  We do not have to dread!  We can step out by faith and JUST DO IT!  Whatever He has called us to do, no matter how scary it may be to our frail human minds…we can do it anyway because HE is going to give us grace to get through it and do it!  We are more than conquerors!  (Romans 8:36)  We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.  (Philippians 4:13)  These are the promises of GOD MOST HIGH…Our FATHER!  GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS!!! :O)

Do not dread, fear, or be dismayed for the LORD your GOD is with you wherever you go!  He is so good…all the time.

Dear Righteous, Heavenly Father…

Thank YOU for who and all that You are.  There is none nor will there ever be one like YOU!  Father thank You for all the many blessings that You have given to us.  Lord thank You for loving us even when we are unlovable.  Thank You for being merciful, gracious, faithful and forgiving.  We couldn’t make it without You and wouldn’t want to!  LORD today I ask that You help us chase You…to pursue knowing You and experiencing all of YOU that we can with passion.  LORD be our hearts, and our drive.  Help us to passionately long for YOU and ache for You so that the most important thing in life to us is YOU.  You are everything and we love you so.  We ask for more wisdom, knowledge of You and discernment.  Help us to live to please You.  Thank You again for all the things You do and give to us.  You are the best Father.  Please help us to always be grateful.  LORD thank You for wanting relationship with us.  Thank YOU for Your unconditional love and mercy.  Thank You for dying for us and raising again so that we can be saved and live with You forever.   Save the lost and bless the saved…We ask all these things in Your name Jesus…Amen

October 10, 2021