The reward of pressing. There's an interesting title. I'm not talking about pressing your pants, or pressing your nose against a glass window! The pressing I'm talking about involves your relationship with Jesus. This kind of pressing involves "pressing forward, or onward". It also involves "pressing in" to the Spirit's presence. "Pressing in" to His presence is the one I want to talk about.
To "press" means: To move by weight or force in a certain direction or into a certain position. As far as direction goes, our only concern should be moving toward or into God's presence. And as far as position goes...closer to Him.
Pressing in doesn't happen without effort. It takes force. There are times in which we won't move deeper into His presence unless we "press in" to His presence. And some of these times must be designated (by you and me) for such purpose...pressing in. In times when you feel dry in your walk, even stagnated, press in deeper to the presence of God. The reward is that His incredible presence changes you and me! The world will cause you to acquiesce in your walk, and become apathetic toward Him. If that is you today, press in...to His presence. That's where the fire is!
But pressing in also will not happen without our pressing deeper into our relationship with Him. James (from the Bible) tells us to "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." This is a powerful promise to us. However, this promise comes with conditions. If we're truly serious about pressing in (drawing near to Him), we must be serious about the conditions James lays before us. He continues, "Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you." (James 4: 8 - 10)
All of the above are vital keys to pressing deeper into the things of God in your personal walk with Jesus. It begins with submitting ourselves to God, and resisting the devil. (James 4:7) But then we must stop sinning! That's how we cleanse OUR hands. We must also purify OUR hearts. We do that by determining we will be single-minded toward Jesus, and serving only Him! James also said that friendship with the world is hostility toward our God. (Verse 4) And for many of us, we must be miserable, and weep over the current status of our relationship with Jesus. This is pressing in. It's also called repenting! How does all of the above happen? By humbling ourselves in the presence of the Lord. The lifting up is His job...and He will!
Pressing in to the presence of God is a heart thing. When we press in, we are truly seeking God. We are dissatisfied with the status of our relationship with Jesus. So we do something about it. We press to go deeper. It's one thing to conform to a regimen of daily prayer. It is quite another to press in. Pressing in occurs when the heart cries out to God. It is when we yearn for God's presence from deep within, with a determination that we won't stop until we break through into His presence. ""As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God." (Psalm 42:1) Let me tell you my friend...this will change your life! Circumstances are not as impacting when your life is changed from being in His presence!
I've learned (especially from experience) over the years that a short time in the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit does more for me than months of counseling. Don't misunderstand me. We need Godly counseling. But what we need more is time in the life-changing presence of God's Holy Spirit. That's what we are created for. You cannot hang out with Him long without being drastically changed! And because we live in a world that pulls us in multiple different directions, and demands ALL of our time...pressing in must be made our priority.
The "reward of pressing" is that it brings us closer to Jesus. And the closer to Jesus we become, the more like Him we become.