I like boxing; even more, I love mixed martial arts. As a matter of fact, sometimes when I get to choose between listening to some preachers on T.V and watching the Ultimate Fighter Championship, I go for the later. That’s because I love to observe fighters and relate every fight to every believer’s spiritual warfare. Don’t blame me, Paul the Apostle was also a huge sports fan. His favorite sport was athletics. In fact, I believe it was after watching one of those sprint races that the Holy Spirit inspired him to write in 1 Corinthians 9:24-26. “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win…” (continue reading)
Following in the same spirit, I like to share with you some important lessons I have learned by divine inspiration, about spiritual warfare, taking a cue from a typical boxing or kickboxing fight. I pray God ministers to you through this piece.
- Spiritual warfare is a personal warfare. Your coach may be with you all through your training and media Interviews; he could even escort you to the ring, but he would NEVER enter the ring with you. The same way God blesses individuals, and not in groups, is the same way God expects every man to commit himself/herself to fight as a soldier of Christ. Your pastor, like a boxer’s coach may show you the weapons available in your arsenal for the fight, he may even reveal to you your enemies’ weaknesses, but he cannot fight for you. You have to take spiritual responsibility so as not to become a spiritual liability. No matter how tough the battle may seem, nobody can fight for you. They can only at best be sorry you’re being badly beaten, or excited you are knocking the demons out of your opponent.
- Spiritual warfare requires a great deal of focus: I can’t remember now which boxer it was, who turned for a few seconds towards his coach during a fight. He lost that fight instantly! His opponent dealt him with a blow I’m sure he won’t forget up till date. Friends, we can’t afford to lose focus on the real adversary. Since we gave our lives to Christ, the fight started, and if you’re reading this, the battle is still on! Like my friend, Apostle Paul admonishes “Let us lay aside every weight and the sins that doth easily beset us…” Hebrews 12:1. When your defenses are down and you live like there is no enemy or danger in sight, you are sleeping, thus vulnerable to all sorts of attacks (E.A Adeboye, Open heavens 2011, Nov 10, 2011). We have to stay focused as we fight, we have laid our hands on the plow, and we must not look back to be worthy of God’s kingdom (Luke 9:62).
- Sometimes, one punch is not enough to bring down the opposition: Many times as believers we encounter situations where we seem to have exhausted the weapons in our armory, yet the challenges(s) still linger. I mean, you have fasted, prayed, engaged the blood of Jesus, put your angels to work, searched for the word, spoken by faith, done series of Olympic-style praise etc. yet, there seems to be no results. I have good news for you: don’t stop punching; don’t stop trying, and don’t stop engaging those spiritual weapons. They work, and will work for you. Have you watched one of those boxing matches where the opponent looked ok at the end of the second round, but he never resumed the third round? That means the blows his opponents repeatedly dealt him have started to make sense! They have started to take a toll on him. Well, that’s the same with spiritual warfare. Sometimes, there are killer punches (like the one punch David gave Goliath in 1 Samuel 17), other times; it’s a combination of punches that brings down the opposition. Remember, if we fail in the time of adversity, our strength is little (Proverbs 24:10).
- Don’t lose your guard! This one is also very important. If you are not well guarded for this fight, you are in danger. If you lose your guard, no excuse, you’re also in danger. What are these guards I’m talking about? Well I spied into my friend’s letter to the church in Ephesus, in it, I saw my friend asking the church to put on the whole armor of God with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace, In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one, And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:14-17).
- The primary target of any boxer on his opponent is his head, and if your head is not guarded with the helmet of salvation, you are very vulnerable. I therefore implore you if you are not saved and you are reading this note, to give your life to Jesus Christ today because without him guarding your head in this battle, you stand a huge risk. If you have confessed Jesus Christ as your lord and personal savior and you are living in sin, please come back to him today, and ask him to cover your chest with the breastplate of righteousness. Every of these weapons need to be in place at all times during the fight. If your opponent notices that you don’t have one of them, then he goes after you in that area of your life. This is what leads to yielding to temptation. May the Lord help us.
- You may be knocked down, but not knocked out. So, get up! Jesus understood this when he said, “In this world, you will experience tribulations…” (John 16:33). Friends, you may have lost something, or fallen into a great sin, or even feeling discouraged to move on. Things may not be working as planned, or you feel heavy burdened. You may not even be able to explain the happenings around you, but one truth remains and this is it: God is not responsible for your challenges. In fact, he is the solution; the only solution. So, shake up yourself, and go to him. He can fix everything, (including a broken heart) if you give him all the pieces you have. Like in boxing, any championship/title fight could go up to 12 rounds. The tougher you get, the enviable the crown and title. Boxers that can stand on their feet all through these rounds are much respected. When the devil knows that despite all what you’re going through, or been through, you still stand strong in your walk with God, he learns to respect you. So, get up! It’s not over until you win.
- God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13) There is no way a boxer in the lightweight class will be matched with a boxer in a heavyweight class. That’s a recipe for destroying the lightweight fighter’s career. Every boxer is matched for a fight according to his or her weight classes. Once you understand that God will NEVER allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear, then hope arises in you to see your glorious triumph in sight. This scripture should always paint you a picture of you victorious in the end. There is no glory without a story; there is no victory without a fight, and there is no crowning (rulership) without a town. If you will sit with Christ on the throne after rapture, you must overcome, and to overcome, you must fight. So, hold on. You (actually) can get through this and you will actually get through this.
“For whosoever is born of God overcomes the world, and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith..” (1 John 5:4) … no boxer is guaranteed this one, but you and I are. For them it’s a game of strength, skills, and speed. But for you and me, it’s a game of grace! For them it’s a matter of knocking out the opponent before a decision is announced, but for us, we’ve won even before we fight! For them, their title belts may be taken away, but ours is forever! For them, it’s a corruptible crown, but for us, it’s for an incorruptible crown.
God bless you. Remain rapturable
E. A. Adeleke
Author of Come up on Jesus wings – An invitation to soar with Christ above the storms of life.