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The Highest Stakes
Theme of the week: A Matter of Life and Death
Wednesday, February 27, 2013

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Key Bible Verses: Someone asked him, "Lord, will only a few be saved?" He replied, "Work hard to enter the narrow door to God's Kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail." (Luke 13:23-24) Dig Deeper: Luke 13:22-29

A question about salvation is a question about the four final things—life or death, heaven or hell, forever. That's why Jesus said what he said [in today's passage] when he was asked if very many were going to be saved.

The Greek word agon, translated "work hard" [in today's passage], was the word used for vigorous athletic competition. Using this athletic metaphor, Jesus said to attack the all-important question of salvation the way a runner runs a race, or a fighter fights a fight. "Work hard to enter the narrow door to God's kingdom, for many will try to enter but will fail."

Athletes instinctively understand the total attention required by agon because they understand judgment. The two, agon and judgment, go together, because every contest, every competition, has a definite beginning and end, with a conclusion, a denouement, a judgment; a winner and a loser, or losers. It is the anticipated judgment—the stakes, the numbers on the scoreboard—that marvelously focus the athlete's mind.

The stakes are the highest. They are a matter of life and death, forever. So engage in agon, fight the good fight, run the race, seize each passing moment with vigor and passion—go after life, go after God, with everything in you.

—Ben Patterson in Muscular Faith

My Response: What does it mean to "attack the all-important question of salvation"?

Thought to Apply: Time is short. Eternity is long. It is only reasonable that this short life be lived in the light of eternity.—Charles Spurgeon (British preacher)

Adapted from Muscular Faith (Tyndale, 2011) by permission. All rights reserved by the copyright holder and/or the publisher. May not be reproduced.

Prayer for the Week
Dear heavenly Father, help me to keep focused on what really matters—on what will last long after my life on earth is finished.

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