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September 23, 2019, 11:52 AM

Answering the Bell


 

Mike Tyson began his professional boxing career in 1985. At just 20 years old he became the youngest man to be crowned the undisputed heavyweight boxing champion of the world. While in his prime, and still considered by some, he was known as the baddest man on the planet. He fought with such a ferocity that even before his opponents stepped into the ring, many of them were scared to death as the fear and intimidation of Tyson showed in their behavior. The overwhelming majority of Tyson’s victories were by brutal knockout and came in the early rounds of the fight. (I like to joke that I have more knockouts than Tyson because I put people to sleep every Sunday.) One of the keys to being a successful boxer is not only being able to throw a good punch but also being able to endure the onslaught of punches that are taken. The most vulnerable time for a boxer is when he gets tired, overconfident, or complacent and drops his guard. That’s when he can get completely blindsided and knocked to the canvas. It happens to all of us in life from time to time. We get some sort of unexpected news, a bad report from the doctor, a child goes on a wayward tangent, or someone secretly devises a plan of attack that you never saw coming and hits you with it when you have your guard down. There are times when we all get knocked down, and as some of Tyson’s opponents, we’re afraid to get back up even if we’re able. If you can understand what I’m talking about, then let me encourage you a little bit. First of all, never forget that there is an enemy that wars against God and every follower of Christ. It’s not the person throwing the metaphorical punches at you, they are simply acting under the influence of him. Secondly, if the enemy is attacking you, it just might be because he feels threated by you and is trying to take you out. Thirdly, don’t try to fight this battle in your own strength. If the enemy we face is spiritual, of the principalities of evil and darkness, then do your fighting in the spiritual realm. Cast your cares on Christ because He cares for you. As you lay on the canvas of life feeling like the 10 count is just about up, remember that the power to answer the bell is found in the victory of Jesus Christ that has overcome this world and that our faith in Him makes us overcomers as well. Habakkuk in 2:4 says that the righteous shall live by faith. More literally the verse states that the righteous will live by faithfulness. The faithfulness that comes by faith in God through Jesus Christ. Faith that is called by Paul in Ephesians 6:16, the shield by which we are able to extinguish all the fiery arrows of the enemy. Note that Paul doesn’t just say that the shield of faith can simply block the arrows of the enemy. He says that the faith of the believer living faithfully to God can extinguish the arrows and rend them powerless. Because when we live in faithfulness to God, He is our defender, our rock, our refuge, our ever-present help in times of need, our cleft, our peace, our provider, our hope, our victory, and the strength we need to continue answering the bell. We realize that it’s not about us, but about a battle taking place on a grander scale in the spiritual realm. That’s why it is so important to not only pick up the shield of faith but every piece of the armor of God. Paul concludes the section about armor with a command to continue in prayer throughout the course of standing by faith. Part of that is calling out to God by name those people that the enemy is utilizing. Nehemiah 6:14 is a perfect example of offering up people by name for God to intervene in their life in order to accomplish His purpose. In the mean-time, just keep answering the bell.

Robert


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