It’s amazing to see Olympic athletes compete. It’s breathtaking to watch them perform in their events. But how did those athletes get to that point? By eating Twinkies and Cool Ranch Doritos (the best Dorito flavor there is)? No. They took advantage of every effort they had to train and to get stronger, mentally and physically.
“Make every effort to enter through the narrow door” (Luke 13:24). When Jesus told a crowd of listeners to “make every effort,” he was saying the same thing. The original Greek word ἀγωνίζομαι (anonidzomai) speaks of working hard, as if you’re in a competition. So is Jesus advocating we go out and work on our balance beam routines? No. He’s letting us know that we’re in competition with the devil, the world, and our own sinful self. There are voices that whisper to us that God’s Word is outdated; do what feels right; you don’t need to listen to parents, boss, or pastor. We need to make every effort to be in the Word so we can ignore those whispered temptations.
The fact that you’re reading this now shows you’re making an effort. After you finish, start thinking of what your next option to grow in the Word will be. Small group? Women’s Bible study? Family devotion? Let’s be clear; we’re not “earning” our way to heaven. That’s only through Jesus.
Our goal is to be strong in his Word, and that will give us the balance needed in the competition of life.