“And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully” (2Ti 2:5)
“And none can strive lawfully till that love fulfils the law be in their hearts” (“The Fountain of Life” William Huntington)
“And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:5)
That one small sentence above in bold truly pricked my heart because it says so much, at least to me. I read it in a current book I am reading and actually just stopped there and thought about what it said and started trying to write these thoughts down. So often we can hear a word in its intended meaning and sometimes a word may cause us to question, to question what exactly is meant by the use of it, especially when it is a word used in a spiritual context. Strive is one such word.
This word is used in scripture so what does it mean to strive biblically? How do we strive lawfully and what is striving unlawfully? What are we striving for, what is the goal? Some hear the word as a work of the flesh and say we are only to rest and that we don’t strive in any way, but I don’t think that is the way of Scripture. I think the problem comes when we think that ‘we’ do anything in and of ourselves, after all Jesus said “you can do nothing without me” and yet Paul said “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. I think we spend our lives here growing in the Truth of both.
Strive=To contend in opposition, battle or any conflict
To make strenuous efforts toward any goal
To struggle vigorously, as in opposition or resistance
To contend with an adversary
To endeavor to accomplish something
In reading this definition I was thinking spiritually, scripturally and several verses came instantly to mind that had like words and could be interchanged with these statements of definition. The book of Hebrews gives us a great example of striving when we are exhorted in the beginning of chapter 12 to lay aside every weight that so easily besets us and to run with patience the race.
“Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving (to struggle) against sin. (Hebrews 12:4)
“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called……”(1 Ti 6:12)
We do strive (struggle) against our sin, we resist, we war, we combat, we resent, we contend and we suffer in this life as we continue the battle. We recognize the battle, we fight the battle and we are involved, therefore we are exhorted to consider the great endurance of Jesus and understand that our strivings in this life are small in comparison and we look to Him and His constancy for encouragement so that we faint not in our minds. We haven’t yet suffered as Jesus did in his agony sweating great drops of blood (Luke 22:44).
We fight the fight of faith with spiritual weapons, not carnal ones, not the flesh, not the law. We fight with the full armor of God (Eph 6:11), it is a spiritual battle as we contend for the Truth of the Gospel and as we fight the old man who is still begging for dominion. We truly are engaged and active in the battle and the scripture is plain about that so we must be clear as to the weapons available to us and how it is that we strive lawfully.
to be continued...