Ever watched a boxing-match and wondered how the competitors were able to continue fighting for such a long time? What perseverance it must to take to continually take blows to your face, gut, and limbs. I cannot fathom the incredible amount of pain that one would be in, attempting to attain just a few moments glory as champion. Let’s escalate things a bit more…the “friendly” match of boxing becomes a war among nations. Your nation has declared war upon another and YOU are being sent off to battle; to defend your nation’s honor, glory, and beliefs with every last ounce of strength and life that you have beating within your heart. Suddenly, the fight is far less glorious. Lives will be taken. Livelihoods will be ruined. Homes shaken. Families rattled. Towns obliterated.
The moment that one decides to follow Jesus Christ as the LORD and Savior, they are enlisting in war. Life almost never becomes easier for the Believer. It’s always a joyous occasion when a friend decides to repent from their sins and to live out their lives, pursuing God with every ounce of their being. The young believer has finally found freedom from the bondage of sin; their yolk is no longer burdensome as they are embraced by the Father. He holds them closely and they adore their Father…praising Him. It’s a beautiful thing…truly glorious. However, in my experience as a Christian, these young Christians soon become smacked in the face by the darkening realities of this fallen world. Sin is certainly still present; always seeking to destroy the very lives of God’s children. Temptations cloak themselves under the guise of “acceptable”, or perhaps politically-correct “guilty-pleasures”, which are OKAY, because they are not the “deadly-sins”. And once again they find themselves fighting for their very lives…
Perhaps this is why Paul makes such declarations that Christians must finish the race! You see, anyone can start a race, taking off from starting-line at break-neck speed, accelerating toward the end goal, ready for success. Then the hurdles come…uneven jumps, followed by unexpected turns that require adjustment to our speed and increased ability to balance. Then the smooth track becomes a rocky, uneven, gravel road, full of bumps…tripping up the runner. The inevitable happens….we fall.
Remember the scene from Batman Begins? The young Bruce Wayne has fallen into a cave near the entrance to his parents’ mansion, his father comes to the rescue, and asks, “Why do we fall Bruce?…So we can learn to pick ourselves up.” Inspirational, right? It certainly can inspire a wide-range of responses. Many of us will take this to mean that we must try harder: “I must read my Bible daily in order to earn God’s love”, “Scripture memory is a must”, or “If I go on a mission’s trip yearly, then surely I will shine brightly for the Kingdom of God.”
What if I were to tell you that the LORD didn’t need you to pick yourself up? What if…His grace was sufficient? What if our King were far more powerful than we’d allowed ourselves to imagine? What if a simply, humble, cry for His redeeming hand and an open heart to life-giving correction were all that was needed for Him to personally lift us up from the pit of our filth, to wash our clean in His Son’s blood, and to call us His beloved? What if these rhetorical questions were followed up by the absolute truth that God indeed loves you, constantly seeking after your heart’s attention, awaiting your childlike embrace.
Soldiers (Christians), I know that you are weary…Every victory is quickly followed by another battle. Another friend’s spiritual life is at stake, another family-member is experiencing crisis, another media-source informs you of imminent danger. The world around us is quickly falling apart. People are turning away from morality and toward immorality faster than McDonald’s can sell you their french-fries.
Stand firm, brothers and sisters. DO NOT give up! I made a declaration to myself this evening, stating, “Sin will not be my master. For one cannot have two masters and I have made Jesus LORD of my life. I shall serve Him. My sins shall die.” Will you make such a declaration alongside me? Will you awaken from your slumber, O Christian and walk back to the front-lines of battle?
Our generation desperately needs men and women who will gladly lay down their lives for the Gospel of Christ. Pray for the awakening your fellow countrymen’s hearts. Prayerful is far more powerful than we allow ourselves to believe it is. Finally, pray that the LORD would open your eyes to anything that you’ve placed above Him. I assure you that whatever it is has become a hindrance from your ability to fight.
“What I’ve learned is that God will strip away everything that is necessary from us in order to win our heart’s full attention.” (Joey Van Kirk)
Give the LORD your heart’s full attention. In the end, you will receive the greatest amount of joy, satisfaction, fulfillment, purpose, and gratitude from SERVING the King. I assure you, nothing else will every measure up to what God is capable of providing you with, leading you to, and using His Spirit to help you overcome absolutely any obstacle that dares to stand in your way.
May the LORD bless you, shall you consider His call upon your life…You are not alone, brethren.
Attempting to fight the good-fight,