Daily Success
Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 19 : Choose the Narrow Way | Day 133

Strive to Enter!

After writing the previous six e-mails, I sensed that there was an important key to understanding this command that needed to be included. I believe Luke reveals it in his Gospel when he quotes Jesus as saying, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate” (Luke 13:24).

This puts an important new perspective on the command. We do not just open up the strait gate and walk in unopposed. There is a battle that goes on within our souls, because our enemy does not want us to find the way of life. Paul stated, “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).

In Scripture the gate is used as a symbol of decision making and of managing internal affairs.

One Greek word translated strive is agonizomai. From it we get the English word agonize. The word entails contending for victory in public games, fighting, or making warfare. It involves pain in the struggle for a public prize. To strive is to make every effort to achieve the goal, as Paul described in Colossians 1:29: "Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily."

The word strive implies that there are hindrances in the development of a walk of faith and that there is a need for intense determination on our part to win the prize. Paul explained this: “Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible" (I Corinthians 9:25).

Paul goes on to explain, “I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (I Corinthians 9:26-27).

In the Christian life, "striving" is not our performance of God's will, but it is our surrender to God so that He can carry out His will in us.

One of the disciples asked, "Lord, are there few that [will] be saved?" Jesus' answer was that few would find the way of life. (See Luke 13:23-28.) When I first heard this as a boy, I was motivated not only to enter the strait gate myself, but also to make whatever personal sacrifices were necessary to help others do the same.

In your journal this week, write out the personal disciplines that you have established or purpose to establish, in order to walk on the narrow path that leads to life. Let's ask ourselves what attractions or distractions on the broad road are hindrances that we need to overcome through God's strength. Then, let's picture ourselves in a literal wrestling match such as Jacob experienced. He became a prince with God and was greatly blessed, because in his striving he said, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me” (Genesis 32:26). Let's follow his example, because our greatest asset is the blessing of the Lord.

“Enter ye in at the strait gate ... Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard