How does one "strive" like Saul of Tarsus?

I press toward the goal, for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”.  (Philippians 3:14 NASB)

 “...For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.(Colossians 1:23-29)



To  Press On, to Compete, to Serve God’s Purpose, to never give up :


First purpose - to believe on Him who the Father sent; To have the faith as the grain of a Mustard Seed.   What is striving then, what is power then, what is pressing on then?


“So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth."(Hosea 6:3) 

We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ.   For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.(Colossians 1:23-29)


 One and the same thing, His will, His purpose, His plan for our lives.. the first of which is to “press on” to the upward prize of being in submission of working overtly toward the goal of His purpose. Not a goal, right? The Journey, yes the journey. The path he has set our feet on… the holy highway.   A highway will be there, a roadway, And it will be called the Highway of Holiness.” “the redeemed will walk there“  (Isaiah 35:8 & 9)


How do I do this, press on that is, in the framework of my everyday un-extrodinary life?   Like many I expect, I'm overwhelmed by the enormity of God's Grace made manifest in my life through nothing I have done or deserve.  Do I strive to bear fruit, by humbly submitting myself, or more truthfully, trying to submit to our Lord?   Could the fruit I have had a hand in harvesting by witnessing another person whom I've supported in the faith bringing others to the Lord and/or to the water of baptism?  Or couldn't it be the friend who now freely admits that he “continuously talks with God", though he previously looked away from the possibility.


Even more so, could it be that you and I strive in small resemblance to Paul, in bringing God’s Grace to someone else’s consciousness? The guy having trouble at the coffee shop, and all I can say is that drugs & alcohol are not the answer. Those who “know” that there is something bigger, something more, do I tell them that He has led me to know that He is the bigger and He is the more. He is the I AM?


Yet and constantly, do I strive to overcome my own weaknesses, do I strive to overcome my propensity to sin, do I strive to overcome my belief in myself and my capabilities, do I strive to seek the Lord, Love the Lord with all my heart, all my mind, and all my strength?


Do I, as Paul, press on to the upward call of God out of my sin and into His Grace through Christ Jesus?


How do I press on? By tirelessly offering to others a hand up, an open door to salvation. All I can do is SERVE, I have no answers myself, but know who does. I can point. I can press on in playing a small part in winning even one soul, saving even one sinner by letting them know that there are answers, and I happen to know who has them. He has saved me despite myself and He can save others – you also, in the very same way because He is the I AM.


The upward Call, the seeking, the striving, the working, the believing, the knowing…The Upward Call that we respond to, being striped of everything else, with nothing to offer, save everything He has provided through His Grace. Striving to be rid of self and be filled with His Spirit – (Rauch haKodesh), the breath of God - His Holy Spirit.


How do you press on, when do you strive, where is the upward call leading you?

How far can we go on our own?

Do we rely on ourselves or Him?

Submitted by AJ Gross, Calvary Chapel Valley Springs 


Pastor Art Phinney. Committed his life to Jesus Christ at age 27. Grew in his faith through age 33. Served the Lord in pastoral ministry in an assisting capacity from age 33-35. Attended 2 years school of ministry Costa Mesa California. 1996-1998. Began as senior pastor CCVS 1999.
 Art Gross
Art Gross ("AJ") has been in the military, worked in law enforcement, Higher Ed, and I.T. He has been an "elder" at CCVS for about three years now and serves the Lord and is deeply involved with Men's ministry and Congregational Care at CCVS and in his day to day life. He has attended the School of Pastoral Ministry  through Calvary Chapel Manteca and is con-currently working as a Project Manager for a large financial institution.