Brothers & 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. — Philippians 3:13–14 (emphasis added, NIV2011)
What does it mean to press on together? …
I have been asking for quite some time now how do we press on together—especially in light of our month of prayer and fasting. I believe some wisdom can be garnered from Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 (NIV84):
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. — Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 (NIV84)
In the first passage, the Apostle Paul is pressing “on toward the goal to win the prize,” and it may appear he is doing this in isolation of others (i.e. by himself)—well, he is in prison, right? But this is a common missing interpretation, and definitely misapplication of this text. Throughout this letter, Paul mentions several saints who are working with him, who are pressing on together with him: Timothy (Phil. 2:19-24); Epaphroditus (Phil. 2:25-30); even Euodia and Syntyche are mentioned as “contended at my side in the cause of the gospel (cf. Phil. 4:2-3), not to mention the “loyal yokefellow” and Clement of vv. 2, 3.
The Point? It is clear that even the “great apostle” Paul knew Ecc. 4:9-12. He knew that if he fell, he needed someone to pick him up; he knew that “a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Just for fun, if we posit that the Lord Jesus is the “third strand,” then we still need another to keep us warm or help us up while we are still here on this planet, right?
In his book, Never Live by Lies, Rod Dreher identifies three “Families” that encourage people to press on even in very dark times: The Biological Family; The Church Family; and the Cultural Family. Here at Valley Bible Church, we are building biological families who strengthen the Church family and influence the cultural family. All this is through pursuing (pressing on towards) the Lord Jesus Christ and Living His Word.
Will you join me today to Build families who press on together to pursue the Lord Jesus and Live His Word?
Join me in the pursuit,