To strive is to make a great effort to achieve or obtain something.

The Bible says, “Flee the wrath to come…Make every effort to enter heaven” (Lk 3:7, 13:24). Be diligent to establish and maintain a relationship with Him whatever the price, as the only other alternative for eternity is to be avoided at all cost. We can’t get to heaven by manmade rules, false religions or through self-effort – it is only by accepting His gift of salvation (Jn 14:6; Act 4:12; Eph 2:8,9). The striving Jesus refers to is the struggle against our pride, our natural bias to sin, the multitude of reasons the flesh presents, the conflict of interests and the opposition of Satan, together with the world’s system that is in his control. Unsaved people do not seek God on their own initiative, yet Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He moves in the affairs of mankind with the desire they will seek, reach out for and find Him so He can redeem them (Lk 19:10; Act 17:26,27; Rom 3:11; Heb 11:6).

Once we have become Christians we are expected to “work out our salvation” obeying God with deep reverence, while refraining from what is not right (Phil 2:12). Till the day we enter heaven we will experience many situations that will challenge our commitment to Christ (Act 14:22). “A person is justified by what they do and not by faith alone” (Jas 2:24). This involves doing the good works we are

Am I striving for what is of                       eternal worth?

created to do (Eph 2:10). Do I have I the passion and dedication Paul had when he wrote, “I press on to take hold of that which Christ Jesus took hold of me…straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal…” (Phil 3:12-15)? Other verses encourage us to “pursue righteousness…Fight the good fight of faith…make every effort” (1 Tim 6:12; 2 Pet 1:3-11).

When God said, “Not by might, nor by power [human effort] but by my Spirit” He was not saying we are not to apply ourselves or to only make a little effort (Zech 4:6). Rather our striving should be coupled with His direction as we submit to His purposes, for often He limits Himself to our desires and partnership. “I being on the way [actively doing what I could] the Lord led me…The disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed His Word by the signs that accompanied it” (Gen 24:27; Mk 16:20). We are responsible to do what we can, and God will bless our puny efforts. This is why prayer is such a vital key. As we travail in prayer (and maybe fast too) we show to God that we are serious – “I will not let you go unless you bless me” (Gen 32:26)! We do not try to get God to bless our plans; rather He invites us to join Him with what He is doing and so our efforts come into line with His plans. Even then, we can’t fulfill His purposes by ourselves but God can, through us.

See also: effort, partnership, persevere, prayer, responsible/responsibility, struggle.

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