My husband and I attended a marriage retreat this last weekend and the speaker told a story that hit me profoundly. He told of a time when he was sick, discouraged, mad, frustrated… and he purposefully turned all his angst and venom towards his wife. He knew his words would hurt her… he spoke them anyway, admittedly trying to hit as deeply as he could. Her response was to come in from the next room, take him in her arms, and hold him. “I don’t know what’s up with you right now. I know you’re trying to hurt me. I still here and I’m not going anywhere.” Stick around Christian groups, meetings, sermons, or books long enough and you’ll eventually hear this idea of ‘pressing into Jesus’. For those that might be new to the faith, often times we’re not great at giving real-life application to these church-y sayings. Yet, this man’s story gave me a visual of exactly what to ‘press in’ looks like.
This sweet wife, in the face of discouragement… even attack you could argue, pressed IN. She pressed towards her attacker. She shortened the ground between them. She moved closer to the fight. Even with the very real possibility of more harsh words, total rejection, perhaps physical wrath- she pressed in.
Just like Jesus.
When assaults come our way there’s usually two responses. At worst we attack back. Words are exchanged, sometimes blows are thrown; we match the assault- thought for thought, word for word, fist for fist. We FIGHT! At best, when we are confronted with criticism, ridicule, bullying, back-stabbing, anger, rage, attack… at best we step back and throw up all manner of defense. We COWER.
Self-preservation is an interesting thing- even spiritually. Fight or Flight.
Jesus did neither. He exemplified a third option. Jesus PRESSED IN! To attack, criticism, anger, frustration, deceit, betrayal, even to death… he pressed closer to his enemies. He didn’t run, he didn’t cower, he didn’t stab back, he didn’t mince words. He stepped towards, he moved forward, he wrapped arms around, he pressed in- and loved harder. He loved closer. He loved better.
There was no self-preservation about Jesus.
Even at the moment of his betrayal, by a trusted disciple no less, knowing this arrest would ultimately lead to his death, Jesus showed this kind of love. “…Jesus asked him, ‘Judas, are you betraying the Son of man with a kiss?’ When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, ‘Lord, should we strike with our swords?’ And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. But Jesus answered, ‘No more of this!’ And He touched the man’s ear and healed him.” Luke 22: 48-51 NIV
What an example! What a lovely picture of what pressing in really looks like. What or who in your life today dear one needs to be loved closer. Who has betrayed you? Press in. Are you under attack? Press in. What is beating you down? Press in. Don’t step back, don’t swing out, fight the instinct of self-preservation and take the third option… the Jesus option.
Pressing in to these situations, just as Christ did, enables you to press in to God more as well. Each step takes you closer to the nature of Jesus and isn’t that what this is all about?
PRESS IN today dear one!