On… to What?
Folk who know me or know my blog know that I have taken “Press On” as a sort of life motto. The phrase is taken from Paul’s letter to the Philippians. But what exactly was it that Paul was “pressing on” to? The context of this phrase makes a good summary of Don Longworth’s message to us this past Sunday.
Don likened our tendency to squirm in God’s hand to that of a slippery brook trout flopping about in the hand of a fisherman as he worked to free the hook. “Fishing is the easy part,” said Don. “The hard part is holding on to the trout as it fights the fisherman’s every next move.”
Don’t be like that, was Don’s word to us. Take bold steps of obedience… take ALL the steps of obedience. God does nothing half-way; it is we who sometimes collapse along the route. We collapse not of exhaustion, but of indifference. We’re sometimes not sure the journey is really with the trip. “Are we there yet?” we whine.
Paul was not like that. If Paul were a brook trout caught by the Master Fisher of men be would position himself calmly in hand and point to the best spot to grab on. He would not squirm, but gladly offer himself. Paul entrusted his fate to the one who had caught him… the one who had captivated him… for he knew He alone had the best of plans for him.
What was it he wrote? To what did he “Press on”? Paul’s motivation was this: “to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (Phil. 3:12). Not only was Paul going to let the Fisherman hold him, but he would in turn hold tightly to the plans the Fisherman had for him. Paul would take the bold steps… ALL the bold steps… from persecutor, to student, to apologist, to evangel and, though we don’t know for certain just how Paul died, we know he was willing also to take a final bold step martyrdom. Not all at once, but as the Lord revealed. Step by step…
We should all do the same.