Wally Wonders Why

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Agōnizomai

I am pleased that my two of my popular posts, The meek shall inherit the earth and Does a pre-birth baby feel pain? Should you care? are on subjects that are important to me; God and family. Most often people arrive at these posts from searching the web and I find it a hopeful note that people are searching the web for God’s words. While I am glad they arrived here, I pray their search for His words takes them further than my small blog.

Another prayer is for Christians to understand that Jesus was meek before God and strong in his faith and actions before man. In fact when facing Pilate’s questioning He used the word fight to describe a potential, but not required course of action by his followers.

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
(John 18:36 KJV)

The word fight in this case is derived from agōnizomai which oddly enough was recently brought up by my pastor so it was fresh in my mind as our word agony or agonize. Another interesting word in that passage, and possibly a post for another day, was the word now; as in now his kingdom is not on this earth but in the future it will be. But for today the word is agōnizomai.

ἀγωνίζομαι
agōnizomai
ag-o-nid’-zom-ahee
From G73; to struggle, literally (to compete for a prize), figuratively (to contend with an adversary), or generally (to endeavor to accomplish something): – fight, labor fervently, strive.

A wonderful bonus to writing this quick post was finding a blog titled Agōnizomai. The author has a detailed and quite interesting look at the word agōnizomai as well as other Christian topics. I think it will be a site that I will enjoy exploring.

The origin of the word is found in the culture of the citizen state of Sparta. Those infant males who were permitted to live after birth were separated from their families at the age of 7 and put into warrior training in the wilderness under an experienced mentor. One of the exercises pitted two boys against each other in a contest called the “agon”. They were stripped bare, slathered with oil and required to wrestle to the point of utter exhaustion in the broiling Mediterranean sun. We derive our word “agony” from the name of this ritual.

Christ was obviously willing to accept agony. After all He was the man who was willingly surrendering himself for crucification. But He also said that his servants were willing to accept agony for the cause of Christ. Was that just His servants then? What about now?

Will you be agonizing for God’s kingdom today?

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