In the Ring
The Warm up:
"But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.” ~ Luke 6:27-28 (NKJV)
Have you ever been picked on? Has anyone ever challenged you to a fight? Did your so-called friends just stand by and watch?
I was born and raised in the South, where I had experienced a great deal of racism. I was also a military dependent, and after my father retired from the Army, we relocated to Colorado until I graduated from high school. During my high school years, however, problems at home and in school led me astray. Full of insecurity, to the point of contemplating suicide, and burdened with a hatred for bigots at school, I turned to the martial arts for self-defense, instead of Christ. Nevertheless, God had bigger plans, and eventually used the martial arts to His own advantage.
A few years after high school, I joined the United States Air Force with plans to travel to the Far East, hoping to elevate my martial arts fighting skills to the next level. However, while serving in Okinawa, Japan, I became even more polluted, indulging in drunkenness, fornication, and even adultery. Miraculously, by the grace of God, the Lord sent another service-member to witness to me until I eventually rededicated my life to Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!
Over the years, I have fought many opponents, and what is common in every altercation is that each of them was really a battle in an invisible ring…the spiritual realm. We know this from the words written in Ephesians 6:12 (NKJV), stating, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Knowing this, we are equipped to exercise Luke 6:27-29 (NKJV) = “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.”
Daily, it is imperative that we learn to die more to self, to become more Christ-like, without religious and racially segregated barriers. Romans 12:21 (NKJV) says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” In putting these words into practice, we can learn to swallow our pride, so we can love our enemies…even in the ring.
The Holy Spirit of God is in our corner, serving as our personal trainer, teaching us how to defeat our opponents, using the word of God as our arsenal.
Psalm 27:1-3 (NKJV) =
“1 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.
3 Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident.”
Psalm 144:1(NKJV) = “Blessed be the LORD my Rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle.”
2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV) = “For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (NKJV) = “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God for pulling down strong holds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
Romans 8:31-39 (NKJV) =
“31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect?It is God who justifies.
34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written:
“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,
39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The Cool Down:
1. When your ego is challenged, or your pride is hurt, how do you respond?
2. Are you fighting the wrong opponent?
3. Remember Who is in your corner - your coach and trainer, Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5
Psalm 27:1-3; 144:1
2 Timothy 1:7