Military Salute from iStockThe LORD has encouraged me to ask each one of you, “Are you striving?” And so, I am asking. Consider this passage:

And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. Luke 13:22-24

It occurs to me that Jesus said, “Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened for you.” Notice that finding and having the door opened does not equate to entering through the door (or gate). We must respond to the open door by striving to enter into it. I hope this is as sobering for you as it has been for me; particularly considering the storm that is coming.

The Greek word that has been translated as “strive” is agōnizomai. We get our word agonize from it. It is also translated to “fight” and “labor fervently”. Here is Thayer’s definition:

Agōnizomai: To enter a contest: contend in the gymnastic games; to contend with adversaries, fight; metaphorically, to contend or struggle with difficulties and dangers; to endeavor with strenuous zeal, strive: to obtain something.

Does this describe your pursuit of the kingdom of God? It may sound a bit different than what you have been taught. It may be challenging the way you think. Don’t get discouraged. We all need our minds renewed.

Please note that Jesus is talking about salvation here – as we can see from the opening verse, and those that follow:

When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, “Lord, Lord, open for us,” and He will answer and say to you, “I do not know you, where you are from,” then you will begin to say, “We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets.” But He will say, “I tell you I do not know you, where you are from. Depart from Me, all you workers of iniquity.” Luke 13:25-27

It seems to me that many will be surprised. With all my heart, I do not want that to be you.

So, what does this striving look like? The first thing we must recognize is that it is not a works based salvation plan. Salvation is by grace, through faith. The striving that Jesus is talking about here must be something else. But, what?

Here are a few passages that will help your understanding: 1Corinthians 9:25-27; Colossians 1:28-29; 4:12-13; 1Timothy 6:11-12; 2Timothy 4:6-8; 2Peter 1:5-11.

Looking these up, reading them prayerfully, and meditating on them may just be your first step of striving to enter through the narrow gate.

Humbly yours and forever His,