Friday, September 14, 2012

Strive to enter the gate


 23 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them,
 24 ¶Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.  (Luke 13:23-24)
I stumbled across this verse in my study and I noticed there seemed to be a difference between “strive” and “seek.”  There has to be, otherwise a striver entering the gate would do no better than a seeker, who might not make it in.  To me, one who strives is a warrior, whereas one who seeks is only a searcher.  A searcher may be turned away by opposition, but a warrior will grapple with opposition to accomplish the objective.  The warrior is trained for that fight, but a searcher isn’t.  A searcher doesn’t necessarily know where to go, but a warrior knows where to go (having been previously instructed) and does what it takes to get there.

What is the strait gate?  When I think of the strait gate, I automatically think of baptism, but then I also remember that the gate is the way to eternal life, and Christ says He is the gate, so we have to follow His example, believe in Him, repent to become pure like Him, and do what He did (baptism and more).  Sure, we have to search out knowledge of how to do that and perfect our efforts, but mostly we will be battling to accomplish the objective of entering the strait gate.  We will battle every day against the world and against our natural man.  Sometimes the battle will be less obvious, and sometimes the battle will be just to maintain our consistent efforts.

I have to fight to show greater charity, to subdue my occasional rebellious impulses against duty, to squelch impatience that would lead to rudeness, to keep from wasting my time, to keep from getting frustrated at myself when I don’t progress as fast as I think I should, and more.  Sometimes I have to fight myself to do my calling and my visiting teaching.  (Yes, I love it when I’m in the middle of it, but occasionally I have to fight to get myself to plan and prepare for the calling or to make the calls to set up visiting appointments.)  I have to fight to humble myself to repent.  And I love variety so much that I have to fight to be consistent. 

The above verses almost have a tone of pessimism about the number of people who will make it, but the neat thing about these verses is that they show us that Christ knows it requires a fight to enter that strait gate and He’s not hiding that important knowledge from us.  He wants us to have the most realistic view of what is required so that we don’t get discouraged and give up when we discover striving and fighting is required so much, or think that there is something wrong with us because we have to fight.  He wants us to make it and He will help us.  We will be able to look back at all the times we fought to do what’s right and we will see how He helped.

In what ways are you striving to enter the strait gate?

5 comments:

Ramona Gordy said...

I struggle daily with believing "who God say's I am". In other words, I struggle to live up to the requirements set before me. I want it all, everything that the Lord has promised, everything and yet what can be so crippling to me is self doubt on my part. I have asked in prayer that I may be able to look at myself and see what the Lord see's. And when he says, do your best, then I want to be able to know that my best is absolutely what God wants, no matter how small the effort. Lately I have been impressed to be happy, no matter what the situation.

catania said...

I love this insight. I agree - striving implies fighting, and I also have to fight. A few years ago, I was struggling with a particular weakness, and I came across the following scripture:

"Verily I say unto you, there have been some few things in thine heart and with thee with which I, the Lord, was not well pleased.

Nevertheless, inasmuch as thou hast abased thyself thou shalt be exalted; therefore, all thy sins are forgiven thee.

Let thy heart be of good cheer before my face; and thou shalt bear record of my name, not only unto the Gentiles, but also unto the Jews; and thou shalt send forth my word unto the ends of the earth.

Contend thou, therefore, morning by morning; and day after day let thy warning voice go forth; and when the night cometh let not the inhabitants of the earth slumber, because of thy speech." - D&C 112:2-5

This is kind of how I'm trying to strive - even though I sin, and the Lord isn't pleased, I try to
1. truly repent - abase myself
2. cheer up
3. serve God
4. Fight morning by morning and day after day.

I often struggle with similar issues. What is so difficult about calling the sisters I visit teach? I like them! Thanks for the inspiration to keep striving.

Michaela Stephens said...

Ramona,I struggle with self-doubt too. I have to keep reminding myself to not fear and do my best too.

Catania, I love that thought of contending morning after morning and day after day.

Reid Litchfield said...

Great thoughts. I find the strait gate often tied conceptually to the straight and narrow path (which is also sometimes called strait).

In the NT, Jesus calls the gate strait and the path narrow (Matthew 7:14; Luke 13:24). In 2 Nephi 31:9 Nephi uses similar words but in different order: a strait path and a narrow gate. The B of M tends to refer to the path as both strait and straight (1 Nephi 8:20; 1 Nephi 10:8; 2 Nephi 9:41; 2 Nephi 31:9,18-19).

What is the difference between straight vs strait? Strait means narrow or confined (as in the Strait of Gibralter or a straitjacket). Straight means undeviating, a line that is not crooked or indirect.

This path can be thought of as narrow and confined, and on an undeviating course to God. One can therefore see why both terms are frequently used to describe a path that leads to God and the gate at the beginning of that path.

'For God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round.' (D&C 3:2).

Thanks for your blog!

Reid Litchfield said...

Great thoughts. I find the strait gate often tied conceptually to the straight and narrow path (which is also sometimes called strait).

In the NT, Jesus calls the gate strait and the path narrow (Matthew 7:14; Luke 13:24). In 2 Nephi 31:9 Nephi uses similar words but in different order: a strait path and a narrow gate. The B of M tends to refer to the path as both strait and straight (1 Nephi 8:20; 1 Nephi 10:8; 2 Nephi 9:41; 2 Nephi 31:9,18-19).

What is the difference between straight vs strait? Strait means narrow or confined (as in the Strait of Gibralter or a straitjacket). Straight means undeviating, a line that is not crooked or indirect.

This path can be thought of as narrow and confined, and on an undeviating course to God. One can therefore see why both terms are frequently used to describe a path that leads to God and the gate at the beginning of that path.

'For God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course is one eternal round.' (D&C 3:2).

Thanks for your blog!