I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Phillippians 3:12=14

Yesterday morning our pastor was preaching on Philippians 3:12-14. He was talking about how when we decide to do what God wants us to do that there will be resistance. The world, the flesh, and the Devil will oppose you. He walked over and asked a young man sitting on the front row to hold up his hand and they started pushing against each other. He said, “If i want to sit where he is sitting then im gonna have to push right thru him”.

Is it not true that promises we make to God at church camp, or resolutions we make to follow Him more closely at the first of the year, or good intentions to live out what we have heard in a sermon, or convictions from the Spirit during private time with God, many times don’t get lived out in our lives because these desires are met with resistence?

The world resists us, as following Christ is the like a little fish swimming upstream while all the big fish are crowding down stream. Not only do we have to do the opposite of what most of the people in the world, being made to feel like we are dressed like a clown at a formal dinner party . . . we also have a battle going on inside of us. We have a sinful nature that, “desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you don’t do what you want to do.”(Galatians 5:17) We also have an enemey in the Devil attacking our minds with lies about God, ourselves, our circumstances etc. 

I picture a running back looking at a hungry defense that has an appetitte for the running warrior’s blood. The running back wants nothing but to get in the endzone. The defense wants nothing but to keep the runner and his companions out of the endzone. Is this not us spiritually speaking?  We want to run hard for Jesus and live out what He we desires, but we find that this three-headed monster, the world the flesh and the Devil are commited to keeping us from this. 

There are some things that we can learn from this weekend warrior the running back, and from Paul in Phillipians. They press on. Paul had so much resistence, and yet, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Paul and the running back forgot what was behind. They didn’t let fumbles, or getting slammed into the dirt by huge defensive players decide what their goal was. I may mess us and sin, or the enemy may show up and slam me in the dirt, but i brush off get back up and fight another down. 

We can also learn from these warriors to, strain and press on, and fight and grab hold of the prize. The running back rams into the defensive players, pushing for just a few more yards. The running back spins, jukes, runs, and fights and fights and fights. It is a war! John Piper said that he, “hears so many Christians murmuring about their imperfections, failures, and addictions, and shortcomings, and I see so little war. Murmur murmur, why am i this way? MAKE WAR!”

We also need to remember that we don’t do this on our own. Can you imagine a running back showing up to fight against 11 defensive men all by himself. In this anaology God the Father is the coach, Jesus/the Holy Spirit is the quarterback, and our fellow believers are the offensive line and other players. Lets follow the strategy of the coach, and take the hand offs from the quaterback and with the help of our fellow believers fight with everything we have to  press on toward the goal.  We don’t do this in our own strength either. We fight with HIS strength. 1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.  Ephesians 6: 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. This year, instead of backing down when the resistence comes, let’s make war in the mighty power of God and with the team work of our brothers and sisters in Christ.