Triumphant Victorious Reminders
Inspired by the Holy Spirit
Written By: Teresa Criswell
"Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me." ~ Paul
~ Philippians 3:12 ~
My husband was telling me the story this morning of Dan Gable, an olympian gold medalist wrestler who won his olympic gold medal in the 1972 Munich, Germany Olympics. The very night he attained the amazing honor for which he worked beyond hard for, received his gold medal at the olympics defeating the Russian favorite who had never been beaten; Dan went onto defeat him for the gold medal. Not only did he accomplish the victory over the Russian olympian, but he went through the entire olympics with not one point being scored on him.
After the medals were awarded to the medal winners, that very evening was a celebration at the hotel for the wrestlers and other olympian medal winners. By the time the festivities had ended at around six o'clock in the morning, two olympian wrestlers were coming back to their room. By their own eyewitness account they saw a man with a hooded sweatshirt running down the hall towards them. Not sure who the person was, they waited until he ran closer and saw when the hood came down, that it was none other than, Dan Gable. They asked him, "Why weren't you at the festivities tonight? Where have you been?" With beads of sweat running down his face, he responded, "Getting ready for the next olympics."
My husband was choked up when he shared with me Dan's response. The amazing part also is that Dan remained focused on maintaining and preparing for that which he had a goal to obtain. He obtained it and now possessed it. Yet even in that possession of what he had obtained, he didn't just settle and say, "I have arrived", instead, he saw the gold medal he received as part of his journey, not his destination.
In hearing this amazing story, I was not only moved with emotion but also reminded of Paul who wrote, "I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:14). Paul had attained so much on this temporal earth. He possessed great knowledge, knew many different languages, he at one time was a highly esteemed religious leader which even in these modern times he could be compared to that of a very prestigious gentleman with more than one Ph.D. under his 'belt'...yet, even Paul who had credentials out the 'wahzoo' didn't stop or slow down in pursuing His relationship with God through Christ Jesus. He kept going, seeking after God, drawing near to Him in ways that he could never imagine that God would draw near to him no matter his circumstances. He was getting ready for the next season!
Just as Dan did in the physical, temporal realm, Paul did both in the physical and spiritual realms. He not only preached and taught how to be a champion, but lived the life of a champion in Christ Jesus. The lifestyle was focused, pressing on, persevearing to the goal set before him. What was the goal? The upward call of Christ Jesus. What is the upward call of Christ? That when he preached the gospel, he would present the gospel of Christ without charge, that he would not abuse his authority in the gospel (I Corinthians 9). It was keeping his mind and heart focused on God through Christ Jesus, not keeping his mind and heart on himself. Paul truly checked his motives regularly. "Are my motives and agendas driven by the heart of God? Or are they my own motives and agendas driven by my heart?
Paul was imprisoned in conditions that would cause many of us in the western world to faint. He was beaten multiple times while in chains for preaching the gospel of Christ Jesus. His focus had to be continually on the upward call of God. If he was imprisoned and beaten multiple times for preaching the gospel of Christ for his own glory, his focus would have been revealed and made manifest, and finally would have grown weary and given up.
I am reminded today that when I have attained something of the Lord to keep pressing on in Him, not backing off. I truly want to desire more of Him!
I don't want to be found guilty of thinking I'm good and content with my relationship with the Lord, because I'm 'busy' with the 'church' stuff and doing good things. It's great to desire to see things grow in our churches, outreaches, but I also must remember that the the building of where we gather is another tool to see the things of God be made manifest on this earth, but it's not the 'everything' of our personal time growing in Him. The light of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, is meant to shine through each of us as individuals, so when we come together collectively the light of Christ shines brighter than a million suns upon the world we live in!
Today, I am reminded that the rewards we receive when pressing into God, is another beautiful milestone in the journey, the rewards are part of the journey in God, but the full reward is our God, the King of Glory!
May we get to fully press into Him on the journey. When we think we can't press through anymore, is when we keep pressing on even more. We don't keep pressing on in our own strength, but we allow the Lord to guide us in His eternal strength that never runs out and never grows weak or weary!