To press ahead means to push with force despite the force or the oppositions coming at you. This could be false religion and beliefs, persecution, affliction, hardship and trials, but despite all you that is coming against you continue to press ahead. You may feel weary at times, feel like throwing in the towel or you may fall down by sinning against God at times but you never stay down, you brush yourself off and keep moving, keep pressing ahead.
No retreat means you are pressing ahead without showing any sign of retreating or turning back or surrender or give into the enemy no matter how you feel. You have a mind-set that says you have started this journey and even if you feel like you want to stop, even if you are persecuted, afflicted, even when trials comes, hardship you made up in your mind that you will not retreat, but forward still is God’s will, you have made up in your mind that for God you will live and for God you will die.
When you have given your life to God, don’t think that the enemy will leave you alone so you can serve God undisturbed, no, this is the time he will come at you with great force to get you back into his service. Satan will come and try to show you the Red Sea and he will show you the army coming behind, telling you that you will never make it, you will never be transform but you will continue being the person you have always been. Your Red Sea represents your problems, the cares of life, people coming against you. Your Egyptian army represents your past. At times the enemy will use people to come and remind you of your past, and he himself will come and whisper in your ears reminding you of your sins so that he can keep you from going forward as your too focus on your mistakes, and who you were before you came to Christ, it doesn’t make any sense you serve God as you will never change. He will come and tell you with all the things you are facing that it is hopeless, don’t make any sense you come to church, you seek after God because you will never make it.
But what did Moses told the Children of Israel, go forward, God doesn’t want us to go back into our mess or to give up because of what we may be facing but he wants us to go forward because victory is up ahead. For a season you will have things coming against you, but continue to go forward because your victory is secured. You have to fully make up your mind that you will not surrender. The Apostle Paul gave some thoughts to what may separate us from God (Romans 8:37-39). He gave it some thoughts and looks around and he said nothing. When he compared what we have or what God has given us and what he will give us he said I am persuaded that if death should come and I have to give up my life for the gospel I will, nor life- if it means I have to give up material things and comfort then I will, I rather to suffer with God than to enjoy the pleasures of life for a season. He went further and said not even angels, nor principalities, nor powers no matter what ranks of demons the enemy will send to stop us, no matter if it’s the demons of sickness, poverty, demons of death they are not going to stop me, the demons of weariness and complacency will come at me at times but I am going to pick myself up and continue because God will not allow me get stuck, no one in authority neither things that I am going through right now or what I will go through for this gospel because I know that the enemy will intensify the heat to get us to throw in the towel, no matter how threatening situations may get. And yet he took it a little bit further and said neither height, depths, nor anything else in creation shall be able to separate us from God. In other words anything the enemy sends it cannot separate us; it cannot cause us to backslide, if we stand firm. Paul had this conviction that he was not going to throw in the towel no matter what but he will keep pressing until victory is his. When he looked back on where he was and where God has taken him from and where he is taking him he said I am going to press, because there is a mark I must reach, there is a crown that is laid up in heaven for me and I need that crown.
Press Towards The Mark
The Apostle Paul was a man that persecuted the Church of God heavily before God picked him out of sin and placed in the Church as an Apostle. But this was not a bed or rose for Paul as he faced a lot of persecution within the church and outside of the Church there were people who wanted Paul out of the picture, so they persecuted and tried to kill him many times. But despite of all Paul went through he did not allow this to stop him but he pressed towards the mark.
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He said “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, 1I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.“- Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV).
Paul looked on all he did and said all I did was out of ignorance, therefore I will forget about the pass, I will not live feeling guilty, but I will press towards the life God has for me. Instead of allowing his past, how people treated him, despite his hardship, trials, afflictions and persecution he pressed towards the mark so that he may finish the course God has prepared for him. Paul worked for God more than all the other apostles, instead cud have lived defeated but he didn’t. Satan at times tried to reminded Paul of his past, mistakes he had made but every time Satan comes with his past he shook him off and continue running. Paul knew that he was redeem as God have already forgiven him of his sins. Not only was Paul battling with his past, but he had forces coming against him: false brethren, affliction, trials, persecution, running for his life, being beaten many times, not knowing when he will die or being thrown into prison, but despite all of this he did not allow anything he faced to weigh him down spiritually but he pressed.
Don’t Get Weary
Sometimes we give up too easily when little spiritual breeze blows we start thinking about leaving church or we get fed up and just want to roll over and die physically or spiritually. That’s what happened to Elijah in the prime of his ministry. He wanted to die because Jezebel wanted to kill him so he was ran for his life. On top of that he felt alone because he thought that Jezebel had killed all the prophets of God. Spiritual fatigue will make you want to throw in the towel in the prime of your ministry and that’s why the enemy will send hardship and trials in our lives so that we will get weary.
To run you have to dig your heels in and stand firm. Satan will cause the wind of false doctrine to blow so that we will believe a lie, he will send the wind of neighbors being like a thorn in your side, the wind of persecution because the enemy is determined to stop you, to see you not finish the race. Despite the apostles of Jesus being beaten, persecuted, had to be running for their life’s, hiding to keep services, arrested many times, mocked, afflicted, had nothing to eat, shipwrecked, talked about but they were determined to press ahead.
Do Not Sell Out God
Some people because they do not want to wait upon God, sell out God for job or a career, some for material things, some for a boyfriend or girlfriend, some for party and having fun, some exchange him for riches or to have good time, while still others sell him out for other reasons. They are like Esau who had the birth right and sold it for little soup; he had everything but gave it away in the heat of the moment. The birth right guaranteed him riches, prosperity, being head of household, kings would come from him and not Jacob, but he gave it all up. He knew that God had promised him and his descendants the Promise Land of Canaan but it wasn’t enticing enough for him, so he gave it all up.
How many of us are at the brink of exchanging God or our relationship with him for money, financial security, job, to meet influential people and so forth? Our affliction may be long, but don’t sell out, it may seem as if our season of financial issues, health problems, trials or other forms of breakthrough will not come, but don’t sell out, don’t give up, stand your ground. Esau in the end regretted that he sold his birth right when he found out that it was already too late, what was done could not be undone. Many started strong, serving the Lord faithfully, been used by God but they soon fall away, they are like the seeds that fell on rocky ground. When the Word of God fell on rocky ground (or a rocky heart), they abided for a while because there was little moisture or substance that was keeping them, but as the enemy turn up the heat they soon fall away because they didn’t have enough substance in them too keep them, they burn out quickly. They fall away because they didn’t want to wait upon God’s timing, while others weren’t strong enough to abide because they weren’t fasting, praying and studying the Word of God as they should and so as trials comes, afflictions, persecution, as people start slandering their names, talking about them they soon backslide, as a man or a girl comes along they soon fall away, get trap, as hungry comes, maybe little embarrassment, because they didn’t have the strength to stand they soon fall away.
Treasure in earthly vessel
What God has given us or entrusted us with is very costly, money cannot buy it and so we have this pearl that we have to guard very carefully else the enemy will come and snatch us out of church. If you’re not rooted in God it will be difficult for you to stand firm. He knows what you want, what strings to pull so he uses that to draw you away, he doesn’t try to do it one day, but he sows a seed, and he continues to sow seeds of doubt or he just continue to water the seed he have already sowed hoping it will bring forth fruit someday. If it is that you love pants and want to wear it he will try to get you hook to a church that does that, if its hair, money, connections etc., whatever you want except for what you really need. He feeds you with what you want, not what you really need and so you will find people leave the truth to go to a different church that allows them to do what they want to do, or they will leave the church completely to go back into the world as the world or things in the world appeals to them, maybe It is to have a boyfriend they can’t wait so they come out of church to have the fun they want to have, if its music he has that also.
It will be rough at times, but God promises us that he will never leave us nor forsake us. He promises us victory. Whatever you are waiting on God for, maybe it is a spouse, maybe you have been jobless for a long time and you are tempted to take up a job you know God will not like to see you doing, or you feel like the trials of life is getting too much for you now, do not give up. No retreat, no surrender. Your situation may be long, but God will come through for you. When you get weary ask God for some more strength, when you feel like slowing down get on your knees and ask God for the strength to continue running this race.