Christian Living

Spiritual Life

In the Ring

Sometimes life just kicks us in the gut. Sometimes we deserve it, sometimes we don't, but regardless, it still hurts.

Lately, the air around me surges thick with spiritual warfare. I get through one thing, and then BAM, something else hits. One moment I seem down for the count, but then Jesus whispers in my ear, "Get up, don't quit, come on Rocky, give 'em the ole one-two."

Okay, well maybe He doesn't say it exactly like that. What He does say is, "Be strong and of good courage. Don't give up, I'm in your corner, get back up and brush yourself off because I've trained you to be a winner, not a loser."

It isn't easy to roll onto my skinned knees, crawl to a stand on weak and wobbly legs, and hold my bruised and bloodied fists in varying modes of defense and offense as the enemy and I square off yet again. Every day the bell rings, and we come out fighting.

With determination, I swing until it's time to go to my corner. I get brief opportunities to catch my breath, swish my mouth, and let my Trainer blanket the cuts with binding salve. Once I’m revived, He sends me into the ring with renewed energy, and a go get 'em pep talk. I fight again. It’s been this way from the start.

When I first accepted God's call, I said, "Lord, put me on the front line, and I'll battle for you." I was so enthusiastic, and I meant every word. I still do.

A lot has happened since then. My faith has been tested through trial, tribulation, wilderness temptations, and persecution. If Satan can’t get a direct hit, he punches me in the kidney or blindsides me from behind. How does he do it? He hits family and friends, anyone I care deeply for. He’s a wily opponent and knows exactly where my weak spots are.

His strategy is simple; study my life to pinpoint the most effective attacks in advance. With stealth, tactical decisions, and methodical plans, he pushes me into corners. Gloves up, I bare the blows and cry out in pain. But his plan has a fatal flaw. He miscalculates the power of faith in Jesus Christ.

In weakened desperation I rasp, “Lord, how will you get me through this one?” His strong, steady voice reminds me, “I’ve never left you. I am here, and I won’t leave you. You cannot lose, because I cannot lose. The battle belongs to me.”

Like Nehemiah 8:10 I say, "The joy of the Lord is my strength,” and I push myself off the ropes.

WHAM, another blow to my cheek. SPLAT, our fists clash in sword-like combat. WHOOSH, my uppercut connects with his mid-section. Blood splatters cover the floor. On and on we go, round after round. I am tired, but I am not sorry for this battle. I am honored, I am humble, and I am victorious; not because of anything I do, for the war surely belongs to my Lord.

Sometimes life hurts. I will praise Him, even when it does. I will not give up. His joy is my strength. This is life in the ring, I live to fight every day.

For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world — our faith. 1 John 5:4 (NASB)

Copyright Anita Agers-Brooks, used with permission.

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