by David Ferguson | article – April 21 Magazine
When a boxer enters the ring, there is only one goal he is focused on: Winning the fight! He knows that winning each fight prompts him in the rankings. The scriptures reinforce promotion through victory. In Gen. 32:22 – 31, we read about Jacob wrestling with ‘a man’ in the night and winning. In verse 28 (NIV) it reads, “Then the man said, ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.’”
His name (character and identity) was changed from thief or supplanter to Israel which means, prevailer or overcomer.
Lessons from Boxing
There are lessons from boxing that could help us to win the spiritual conflicts that we are involved in. Before boxers enter the ring, they go through a rigorous training regimen, to ensure that their body has the strength and stamina to endure the fight and win it. They watch their diet (what is consumes), ensure that they get enough rest and do targeted exercise and strength training. Paul, the apostle writes about the lifestyle of an athlete in 1 Cor. 9:24 – 27 (NASB) which says, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. So, they do it to obtain a perishable wreath, but we are imperishable. Therefore, I run in such a way as not to run aimlessly; I box in such a way, as to avoid hitting air; but I strictly discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”
Let’s recap the things to ensure that we aren’t disqualified:
Compete in such a way that will win the prize.
Exercise discipline and self-control in all things.
Be focused and deliberate- “Therefore, I run in such a way as not to run aimlessly; I box in such a way, as to avoid hitting air.” They were not running aimlessly nor wasting their punches, each punch hit its target.
Never allow the body to dictate your motives and actions; it is the slave and you are its master.
The other crucial thing that a boxer or any athlete should have is a game plan or strategy to win. One boxer that I highly admire as a master in his sport is Muhammed Ali.
He employed the following strategies in order to win: –
- He would beat his opponents psychologically.
He would never allow his opponent to see any signs of weakness or fear in him; he was jovial and positive all the way through the promotional stages coming up to the fight.
- He never showed weakness.
Even when hurt he never showed signs of weakness or gave away that he may have been hurt. This made the opponent feel that their punches had no impact.
- He would then beat them with a flight plan that included: –
- Frustrating his opponent by immobilizing their arms throughout the fight.
- During the rounds, he would rest his body by leaning against the ropes and deflecting the blows.
- When his opponent was tired and frustrated, he would then release a tirade of punches to end the fight. The fights would then be won by a knockout or a convincing decision from the judges.
Muhammed Ali had his strategies that worked for him and we too have been given a game plan in the Bible that assures us good success.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
We are in it to win it!
Settle this in your mind, God wants you to win and the Bible, therefore, gives us strategies for victory in conflicts against the kingdom of darkness.
1 Cor. 15:57 (NASB) tells us, “but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Satan cannot read your mind, but he can hear your words and interpret your actions. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Therefore, you need to say what God says about your situation. Romans 12:2
Know your abilities/resources in a conflict and use them wisely. “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.” 2 Cor 10:4-6
Finally, while we train our bodies like boxers to make every punch against the enemy count, remember that “… bodily exercise is of some benefit, but godliness is fruitful in all things, having promises for the life that is now and for the life to come.” 1 Timothy 4:8 (NMB)