"Strive" is the English translation of the Greek word "agónizomai", which means, "I am struggling, striving (as in an athletic contest or warfare); I contend, as with an adversary."
Cognate: 75 agōnízomai (from 73 /agṓn, "conflict/struggle," the root of the English term, "agonize") – properly, to struggle, like engaged in an intense athletic contest or warfare (Souter). See 73 (agōn).
Paul uses this same word 6 times. All in reference to him working in the gospel field, serving Christ. He says he did it, and he exhorts US to do it. He WARNS US to do it. Just like Jesus did. See here:
"Everyone who competes (agōnízomai ) in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then [do it] to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable." 1 Corinthians 9:25 (NASB http://biblehub.com/nas/1_corinthians/9.htm)
"For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me." (Colossians 1:29)
He continues, "Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified." 1 Corinthians 9:26, 27
Paul connects this "striving" with faith and God's grace in Colossians. He says, "For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me." (Col 1:29)
He exhorts us in 1 Timothy 6:12, "Fight (agōnízomai) the good fight of faith;..."
And in 2 Timothy 4:7 he tells us he fought (agōnízomai) that good fight. He did it right to the end of his life, by God's grace. The thing is, he told US we could do the same. That God's power is there for us to lay hold on. That each of us who are Spirit filled born again believers are given a measure of faith to work for God in a similar manner. And we won't know exactly what that is unless we ourselves agōnízomai to enter into the strait gate and the narrow way. Jesus said we have to do this. Paul said we have to do this. And Jesus told us His yoke is easy (pleasant) and His burden is light. All we have to do is come to Him, take His yoke upon us and learn of Him and strive according to His working in us. With all our heart, mind, soul and strength.
Jesus said it's the first and greatest commandment (Matthew 22:36-40). Do not be deceived. Do not listen to that voice that spoke to Eve in the Garden. Listen to the Lord's voice and follow Him into Glory. In Yeshua's Name!
"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." Luke 12:32
Yours in Christ, Thomas Richards
Check out Part II of this message: Striving Together
You can be saved!
God loves the people in the world so much that He came down to die for us. If God is opening your heart to His message and you feel convicted for your sins which have separated you from a holy God and you feel the need to be forgiven, then say this prayer. This is how I was powerfully converted to the Christ in 1997!
Say, "My Lord and my God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I believe Jesus the Christ died on the cross and shed His precious blood for the forgiveness of all my sins. I believe Jesus raised from the dead and ascended into heaven and is now on the right-hand side of God listening to this prayer. I open up the door of my heart and I invite You in, Lord Jesus. Thank you, God, for saving my soul and I vow to serve you with all my heart which is the first and greatest commandment. Amen."