I had the privilege of sitting with our senior pastor and his wife recently, to talk about a pretty big challenge I was
facing in my life. Among other good advice, they encouraged me to “press in” to Jesus, to lean in to what God was revealing to me about Himself in this situation.
And that little phrase “press in” stirred something in me, and I did some digging to find out more about what it might mean to press in to Jesus.
In Mark chapter 5, a guy named Jairus approaches Jesus and begs Him to come to his home and heal his daughter,
who is gravely ill. There’s a big crowd of people around them. Read verses 24-34 and picture the scene. Picture
with me this woman, trying desperately just to touch Jesus’ robe for a moment.
This woman was determined! She must have had to push her way through, enduring verbal abuse as she went
because she would have been considered unclean, the least welcome of anyone in the crowd that day. Many of
the images of this story in historical artwork show her actually crawling through the crowd’s legs and feet to get as close as she could- she was desperately pressing in toward Jesus, just to get close enough to brush her hand
against his hem. In her case, the healing she received was literal, but we can see in other places in the Bible that
drawing near to God is a need for every believer and can bring spiritual healing as well.
Hebrews 10:21-23 says, in the context of Jesus coming to do away with the old laws that separated people from
God’s presence, “ and since we have a great high priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts, fully trusting Him… let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm for God can be trusted to keep His promise.” And James 4:8 says it simply, draw near to God and He will draw near to you.
I think this idea of drawing near, pushing our way closer to God, is what we usually mean when we refer to
pressing in. For me personally, this is an image of a small child being wrapped in a tight hug by her daddy, with his
arms completely around her and her little face pressed right into his neck in complete love and trust. Our Father
God is not an aloof father… He invites us to call Him Abba, Daddy, and press in to His very being like beloved
I found a couple of other ways of looking at this pressing in as well, that are related but I think lend a slightly different
perspective. In Philippians 3:12-14 Paul says “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, [a] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking
forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God,
through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
We’ve all seen track meets at school or on tv, maybe watching the Olympics, and in these words, I am reminded of what successful runners have learned- you don’t watch the finish line, or you’ll start to pull up before you reach it.
But instead you lean in, you press in to that tape with everything you’ve got until you’re past the finish line. I
especially love how in the Special Olympics they have volunteers designated as “huggers” who wait beyond the
finish lines to catch and hold and congratulate the runners as they complete their races- and I am reminded that
we have Jesus waiting to catch us and cheering us on as well, as we run this crazy race through life.
And lastly, I want to suggest the image of clay being pressed into a mold, as if to create an imprint. My kids loved using cookie stamps with playdoh and peeling the clay out of the stamp to see the image it leaves behind. In
Hebrews 10:15-16 we find the Holy Spirit imprinting His word into our minds and hearts, pressing us into the
image of His holiness.
It’s my prayer for myself, and you, that we would be pressing into God continually, seeking to be closer, to be more in His likeness, and keeping our eyes beyond the finish line to where He’s waiting and encouraging us every step of the race we’re running.
This devotion was originally presented at one of our Saturday morning prayer times at Lakes. You can join us every Saturday at 9 am for time in God’s Word and time in private prayer. You won’t be asked to pray out loud- we put
worship music on and spend some quality time alone with God, to refocus our week on Him and prepare our
hearts for Sunday.
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and find reading plans, devotionals, and more.