Philippians 3:12b NLT
I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
I, Freda, press on , I reach for and take hold of, I firmly get a grip of, that for which Christ Jesus took hold of, and seized me, Freda.
I thank you for reaching for me God. Help me to press on in moments of frustration and uncertainty. Enable me to not let up, but to take hold of, to firmly grip all that you have made available through the redemptive work of reconciliation. Cause me to seize it, embrace it, reach for it, and to give my all in pursuit of it. You took hold if it for me. You seen what I cannot see and were willing to lay it all down for loves sake. Make my heart be willing for loves sake to do the same.
I remember a Pastor friend of mine one time preaching a message about not stopping when you are going through something. The need in that moment is to keep on going. This life is a journey of great moments and not so great moments, but if we stop and park our lives in the not so great moments, we will miss the great ones. You have to see beyond the moment. I see this verse challenging that issue. Don’t stop here. Don’t stop now. Press on. Keep reaching. Never give up. There is something you are reaching for that is larger than this moment. Keep it in your eye’s view. Don’t stop. You are called to more. It takes commitment and dedication to keep reaching. Do it. Take a firm grip on what God has made available for you, even if you have to reach into tomorrow sometimes to touch it. Jesus pressed on, didn’t stop, didn’t quit so that I could live the reconciled life. I am going to press on and take hold of the ministry of reconciliation. Everything he has available I want.
What does this look like in my life? Feet firmly planted in Truth. Releasing yesterday. Embracing today. Anticipating tomorrow. All because of him.
Susan Craig says:February 5, 2014 at 6:09 pm
Press on-this involves the willingness and ability that we talked about yesterday. In my flesh,when the going gets tough,I am always tempted to give up because I am tired and my body,mind,heart and spirit feel soo weak. I don’t feel tough enough to keep pushing forward against so much resistance. I often feel like quitting. This is being honest and real. After living 55 years with half of them coping with chronic illness that involves extreme pain anf fatigue, I often have days where I feel too weak and unable to carry on with all that life requires of me. Anyone who has had to deal with persistant resistance of any kind I’m sure can relate to what I just wrote. But I am discovering that even in my weakness,I can still use my time to pray for others,to encourage others,to study God’s Word,to worship the Lord, and many other things that do not require physical strength or energy to do. Sometimes we do have to give up some things that we are unable to do anymore- for example-giving up nursing for an occupation for me, inability to walk and be wheelchair bound for my dear friend Sue etc. The progression of chronic illness can be very limiting for us humans- but it is no excuse for us to give up serving our Lord. It may change what that involves and looks like as compared to what we could do when we were younger and healthier, but that does not make it less essential or less important to Christ. The apostle Paul wrote a good portion of his letters from a jail cell-he did not stop his ministry because his circumstances changed-in fact his written epistles have been used to instruct and encourage Christians for many,many generations from the time they were written. He left a legacy that points the way to overcome despite whatever our circumstances are in this life. This inspires me to study how he was able to do this-did he do it in his own strength?? I think not-He wrote that when he was weak-that was when he became strong-but not strong in himself-strong in Jesus Christ!! That is the key to pressing on. Jesus took hold of me when I was a child – He started a work in me that He has continued to this present time- and will continue until He returns to take me Home or I pass away from this life into Eternity with Him. Despite whatever challenges we face in this life, His work is not finished in us until that day. I must press on to know the Lord, to love the Lord, to share His love and point others to Him. Those are all tasks that can be done no matter what obstacles we face in life. Christ in love reached out to me-a lost soul-and drew me to HIm with His hands and heart-My task to to reach out to Him and to others in whatever oppotrunities He puts before me. This new life in HIm and all the blessings He gives us overflow in our lives and are meant to be shared with others-it is much too selfish (and unchristlike) to keep it to ourselves. So press on-don’t give up-keep on carrying on-don’t quit!!
Lord Jesus-thank you that you reach out to sinners-that you reached out to me-that you loved me enough to leave your home in Glory to come to earth to die for me-to bring me back to God-so that I can spend eternity with you in His presence-nevermore separated from God because of sin. Help me to be always mindful of what You gave to me and at such a tremendous cost to You. Give me strength and courage to live this life with eternity in mind and help me to be so thankful that I have no choice but to share the gospel and love of God to every person who crosses my path. Teach me what you want me to say and do and then give me the will,ability and power to do it. Amen
Sue says:February 5, 2014 at 10:15 pm
I, Sue, press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own. (Sue’s Amp.)
I can’t remember the first time I saw this verse, but I can remember that it stood out and it stayed with me. I remember that, for me, it was a significant verse. This verse contains so much.
First it references the fact that Jesus ‘laid hold of me and made me His own’. Jesus acted first. He reached out (or down) and grabbed hold of me. In doing so He made me His. How did He do this? The cross … through Love. That was the price paid so that He could secure me as His own.
Going back to the first part of the verse, ‘I press on’. As Susan stated above, this involves both the strength and desire mentioned in yesterday’s scripture. Paul often spoke in his letters about physical training … working out, boxing, running races. He understand’s the strength needed to run the faith race. It takes strength to press on. And when pressing on brings you to the end of yourself, it takes renewed desire. I’ve been to the end of myself a few times where I’ve had to call out for My deliverer to not only strengthen me but to give me the desire to keep running. Pressing on is more than just strolling on easy street on a sunny day. It is carrying on when your strength is gone … running that race beyond ‘hitting the wall’.
What am I pressing on for? This is where God’s purpose and my purpose intersects. I am pressing on to possess the purpose of Christ and make it mine. This involves dying to self. This means that in reality … if this is to be, the old Sue ceases to exist and the renewed creation that came about when He made me His own emerges. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor. 5:17). This new creation, the renewed Sue, has one purpose … God’s purpose … “whom I created for My glory” (Isaiah 43:7).
I, Sue, commit to using His strength and power, and make my own the sole purpose of glorifying and bringing pleasure to my Creator. This sounds a lot more glamorous than it is. I first have to overcome the battle of wanting to do it my way. I have always had a bit of trouble seeing being a wheelchair as glorifying God. After all wouldn’t it be much more glorious to rise up and glorify Him in healing? While I believe that will come, I admit that there have been times along this journey that I have tried to get by using my own strength. There are times when I thought that my own desire was enough … until disease showed me how quickly my desire dries up when my strength is exhausted.
I see a picture of Christ reaching out from beyond the cross, His hand outstretched waiting to grasp my own. On one end is Christ who has already taken hold of me (and made me His own). On the other end is me, pressing on to take hold of Him and seal the deal and fulfill His purpose in and for me.
Father, thank You for Jesus and all that He has done to make me His own. Thank You for promising to supply me with the strength and desire to press on. Thank You for the purpose of glorifying You. Without that purpose it would be too hard to continue on at times and yet I know that even so I can’t continue on without You by my side.
My prayer many times has been “Father please don’t let me let go. Hold me close when it seems like I can’t hold on any more.” Thank you Father for promising never to leave me, never to forsake me. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit. It is Him who empowers me to press on. It is Him who empowers me to lay myself down so that You rise up in my life.
And I thank You, Father, for the ones you have placed in my life who run this race also. We are all pressing on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Phil 3:14) I pray that I press on with honour and glorify only You.
Susan Craig says:February 6, 2014 at 6:03 pm
Sue -I have been touched by your response to this verse today-I can understand the point you made of losing our desire to continue when our strength is gone. I have often prayed for strength to go on but I have never prayed for God to renew my desire to go on until the past few days. When we are struggling for strength, having the desire to continue is not what we think our pressing need is-we think strength/ability is our greatest need. The battle to overcome our weakness in the flesh is won in our minds and hearts first-once the desire returns, the strength should follow to enable us to do it. What do you think??
Sue says:February 6, 2014 at 9:46 pm
Two snippets from the Old Testament come to mind:
“in quietness and in [trusting] confidence shall be your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15) and “for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10)
I’m also reminded of the word ‘enthusiasm’. It has Greek origins meaning ‘possessed by a god’. In our case it would be ‘possessed by the One and Only God”
I definitely believe that our physical strength is fuelled by the desire and passion/enthusiasm that comes from God. It is a battle that is fought in the mind and the heart. It is the breath of God that gives life to dry bones. I remember during some of my own personal ‘dry times’ I have asked God before going to sleep for something as simple as a song when I wake in the morning. Waking up hours later there would be a song stuck in my head … often one I hadn’t thought of in years … that would take me through the day/week.
Jesus was an emotional man. He wept over the death of His friend Lazarus, He got angry in the temple, He mourned over the Spiritual state of Jerusalem and He rejoiced with His family and followers. He had a life goal that needed to be fulfilled that would take every ounce of His strength and more. My life and your life depended on His success. It was joy that strengthened Him. “He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2) His mind and heart were fixed on the goal. That gave Him the strength to make it to the cross and beyond.
In 1 Samuel 30:6, when King David & his men came back from battle to find their home town ravaged and their families carried off a crisis arose. The men turned on David and wanted to stone him. Weakened & discouraged, it said that David encouraged himself in the Lord and then he inquired of the Lord as to what to do. This gave David both the strength to carry on and the renewed support of his men.
Our mind (will) and our heart (desire) is crucial to finishing the faith race. Honestly, Susan, I know I wouldn’t have made it this far without those times of refreshment that He gives and the Spiritual family that He has brought in and out of my life along the way to help bring that refreshment. The past couple days verses have made it clear that without the mind and heart we will falter. That is why He has promised to give us both the desire and strength.
These last few weeks I have found this extra time in the Word along with the comments of folk online and in the church at Bethel to be another of His times of refreshment. January 2014 hit me hard … a lot harder than expected physically. I know that God has used this time to renew my desire and that has helped renew my strength. 🙂
Jim Holmes says:February 5, 2014 at 10:40 pm
There is so much in this passage…to simplify it, I would write it like this… “Jesus, you reached down and pulled me out of the terrible pit of lonliness, pain, darkness, slavery to sin, death, eternal agony and separation from God…, hopelessness…” Jesus, you apprehended me…why? I didn’t deserve it… the penalty of my sin was suppose to be death for me. You came “full of grace and mercy”. You took my place! “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son”…. How can I apprehend this? How can I grasp this love… what you did for me? The only way I can is to follow you Jesus. You said you are “the Way”, and truly you are…for when you were crucified, I was too…crucified with Christ…and raised in Christ….
So then, to grab hold of, to comprehend and acquire, what you did for me…is to follow you into death, and yet I live, but not I, the life I now live is by faith in the Son of God who died for me, Christ in me, the hope of glory.
So then, Phil 3 speaks of this….I count all things but loss for the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord…the loss of all things…that I may win Christ, having His righteousness by faith in Him….I count all loss…that I may know Him, the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, made conformable unto his death, ….fi by any means…that I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
I want to be identified with the One who loves me, and gave Himself for me. I want to love Him, because He first loved me. I want to be with Him where He is. I want to be like the one I love. Here I am longing…for you. Come live in me…all my life, take over…reign in me…Lord….Here I am waiting….here I am longing for…you. Who can comprehend this love? The essence of this passage is this, from Rom.8…
32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Karen says:February 6, 2014 at 9:00 am
P urposes of Christ. Why He took hold of Karen.
R each out for the prize
E njoy the effort. Find joy everywhere.
S et up or align my will/desires with those of Christ
S teadfast in the choices that keep me in line with His initial reason for taking hold of Karen.
Pat McRae says:February 7, 2014 at 10:03 pm
Message Bible: Ok Pat I want you reaching out for Me just like I reached out for you.
Father I thank You that before the foundations of the earth were in place You had a plan. I thank You that the plan included me. Thank You for reaching down and pulling me out of the muck and mire of life to set my feet on solid ground. Thank You for allowing my roots to go deeper and deeper in Christ. I so see how You have reached out for me and now I want to understand how I should be reaching out to You.
My King James says”apprehend that for which” I know You have been showing me what was secured for me at Calvary and You are teaching me how to take it all and use it for Your good and glory. I also know there is so much I don’t understand but my heart wants to. So Lord lead me on, Holy Spirit remind me to reach out, grab ahold of all that has been apprehended for me. And Father may it bring glory to you and Your Kingdom.