Monday, January 13
Scripture: Genesis 31-33, Luke 13
Luke 13:23–24 Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?”
He replied, 24 “Work hard to enter the narrow door to God’s Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail.”
This question, “Will only a few be saved?” was widely debated in Jesus’ day, so it is no surprise that someone asked Him this question. Answers varied widely. Jesus answers by emphasizing our effort rather than God’s. The words “work hard” translate the Greek word, agonizomai, (we get the English word “agonize” from it) which means “to fight or struggle.” It was used of athletic competition and of warfare. It meant “to strive to do something with great intensity and effort, to do everything possible.” Athletes often say that they “left everything on the field,” meaning that they gave it their best, their all. That’s the idea.
Jesus pictures entering the Kingdom as squeezing through a narrow door, something that will require effort.
How does this square with the gospel of grace, that God has done everything to save us and we can add nothing ourselves?
One possible answer is that grace is not an excuse for lack of effort or intent, but is the motivation to give our best. Understanding God’s grace should move us to “work hard” or “make every effort.” Complacency and half-hearted effort only shows that we really don’t understand or appreciate God’s grace.
What does it look like for me today to work hard to enter God’s Kingdom? I want to be like an athlete who leaves it all on the field, or a warrior who gives his all in the battle. I don’t want to be complacent, a coaster. I want to give my best!
Prayer: Lord, thanks for making a way for us into God’s Kingdom. Now help me out of gratitude and love to do my best today for You.