09.22.15 – Prize Fighting

boxing-gloves

Being a Prize Fighter for the Glory of Christ

“Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air.” – 1 Corinthians 9:26

The apostle Paul described the Christian life by using various athletic metaphors. He compares the Christian life to a race (1 Corinthians 9:24), a wrestling match (Ephesians 6:12) and even gladiator games (I Corinthians 4:9). But one of Paul’s most intriguing comparisons to the Christian life is his reference to the sport of boxing.  In our passage above, Paul writes to the church at Corinth and warns them to not swing and beat the air in their service to God. It was Olympic verbiage that the average Corinthian citizen would understand; for Corinth was home to a series of athletic contests known as the Isthmian Games.

Specifically, Paul urges the church to not box the air. To put it into today’s terms, he is saying that Christians are not called to be “shadow boxers.” Shadow boxing refers to punching at something imaginary in front of you. You are not to simply cast shadows in the arena of life, but rather punch and fight your adversary the devil with impact. The reason why God has not called His children to be shadow boxers is because the devil is not imaginary. Instead, he is active and living, and on a mission to personally destroy you (1 Peter 5:8). So it is vital that you strike your enemy with force. You might not be a professional boxer, but if you are a believer, then the Bible makes it clear that you are to be a boxer in the ring of life.  This means you are called to fight the good fight (1 Timothy 6:12) and finish the course (2 Timothy 4:7). You are called to put on your boxing gloves and box in ring of life for the glory of God. So what are some life truths that we can glean from this great metaphor?

To begin with, when you get knocked down by the devil, you need to immediately get back up. Notice I said “when” and not “if.” You can be rest assured that as long as you are this side of eternity, the devil will use you as his personal punching bag. This means that there will be times when you get knocked down. He knows exactly what type of blows to hurl your way. He knows your weak spots. He knows the type of left hook to swing your way in order to beat you up as much as possible. He is driven with determination to knock you out with his sucker punch.

I am sure that we have all seen the movie scenes where a boxer hits the mat and never gets back up. The referee will count to ten, giving the wounded boxer the opportunity to get up, but to no avail. Unfortunately, many times we allow that to be our story. We allow the devil to knock us out with the blows of this world. Yet in those vulnerable moments of attack, we must get back up in the strength of our Lord. There is a difference between getting “knocked down” and getting “knocked out.”

Also, there are no time-outs to rest while in the boxing ring of life. In a boxing match, each boxer will periodically go to his corner of the ring for a moment of rest. Yet that is not the case in the boxing ring of life. There is not a moment in fighting the good fight of faith that you can passively sit back with a cool towel around your neck and take a breather. For in the moment you drop your guard, the enemy will pulverize you.

Furthermore, you must remember that you are boxing for an audience of only one. We all have seen the Las Vegas sports arenas packed with eager fans in anticipation for a good boxing match. But unlike our sports crazed culture today, you are not boxing to entertain the crowd in some feverish attempt to people please. You are boxing to only please God. The old adage is true; if you please God, it does not matter who you displease; if you displease God, it does not matter who you please.

Finally, you need to be standing at the final bell. Paul makes it clear that only those who stay in the ring and stay the course in fighting the good fight qualify for the imperishable wreath of eternal life (1 Corinthians 9:25; 1 Timothy 6:12). I pray that will be your testimony when it is all said and done! Determine today that you are going to be a prize fighter for the glory of Christ.

– Pastor Eric

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18 thoughts on “09.22.15 – Prize Fighting

  1. We all struggle with the devil’s negative thoughts that he puts in our minds. We can pray to God and ask for Him to get rid of those negative thoughts in our mind. We can also take captive those thoughts when we are thinking about those things.

  2. I have struggled with something like this for a long time and I stayed down for a long time doubting myself to take action with my problems and it wasn’t until not too long ago I decided that I was going to get back up and fight back against my problems and now I look back and my only regret is that I didn’t face them sooner and if I did things could have been different. My advice now is that when you get knocked down don’t stay down and let something eat away at you get back up face it.

  3. The worst thing to have happen in boxing is to be trapped in the corner. If we put our guard down, the devil will take advantage of us. He will keep punching us as we just stand there with arms up because we haven’t studied God’s Word like we should and don’t have the ability to fight back. If we stay in the word and deal a quick strike, we can avoid being trapped by Satan.

  4. A big part of boxing is the mental aspect. Controlling your emotions is a must if you want to stay collected and win the match. It’s easy for us to get discouraged and frustrated in life which drags us down. In these times we must turn to God in order to put us back on the right track.

  5. The devil tries to knock us down and when he does we have to be strong and have courage to jump back up and get going . The fight on this earth is continually going we have no time outs or anything so we have to keep fighting and going. Then in the end when it is all said and done we will have the “the wreath of eternal life “.

  6. The devil tries to get inside my head and knock me down daily. Whether it’s something massive or just simply a thought of jealousy, it’s very discouraging. When this happens, we need to look to God for comfort and rely on Him to lead us the right way.

  7. i like that u said when not if because we all get knocked down. but its abbout how take that punch and analyze it and get ready for the next punch he throws your way.

  8. It’s very encouraging that we get “knocked down” not necessarily “knocked out”. Thai gives me personally so much hope. But I often forget I can’t get back up without God. I try to do it all on my own but I can’t succeed in anything without totally relying on Him.

  9. The beauty of our “match” is that unlike real boxing, we know how it ends. God has already won the battle for our soul and that should be our constant encouragement and hope for the rest of this fight. God is on our side and if we do not lose heart, we can not lose.

  10. The devil definitely knows what kind of punches to throw at us and sometimes we fall to those punches. We have to pray to God to strengthen us in those week places so when we get back up and the devil throws them at us we can stand firm and not be shaken.

  11. We face a real threat with real consequences if we are knocked out. So why just half way fight? We need to always stand for God, and not get discouraged when we are knocked down.

  12. I have been knocked out by the devil many times. Often times it is hard to get back up, but with God it is possible. It is true that in real life we don’t get time-outs and sometimes it feels like the devil will never give you a break. I know that all of our struggles and “fights” will be worth it in the end when we have eternal life.

  13. I think that it is important to remember that when we do get knocked down, we can still get back up and keep fighting. I think that sometimes people might mistake being knocked down as getting knocked out and don’t even try to get back up. We need to keep fighting and when the devil knocks us down ask God to help us back up.

  14. To know that God is there to help us is encouraging but also having the example set by other Christians helps me. Seeing others example is a good way to find the strength continue fighting. Also knowing that God will welcome us with open arms at the end the fight helps to encourage me.

  15. Sometimes in life we hit at empty things in life. We concentrate on lesser things yet we try to uphold them as though they are the best thing ever. We must look rather to God and His goodness and if we do that then we will have a happy life.

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