I am not as big a fan as I used to be, but boxing is still one of my favorite sports. In fact, as strange as it may sound, I’ve learned a lot about life and human nature in general by the countless fights I’ve seen throughout the years. Recently, in a highly publicized championship fight, I was reminded of one objective I see often in many boxers. I am referring to those whose primary goal in the match is to keep from being knocked out. They may be beaten badly but if they can avoid a KO, it will be a personal triumph for them and one day they’ll be able to say they went 12 rounds with the champion of the world. Can you see what is wrong with this kind of thinking? They are fighting for the championship of the world but instead of striving to win, they are content with just surviving. To me, that is similar to a football or basketball team which concentrates almost entirely on playing defense. Bottom line: if they don’t score, they can’t win.
Sadly, that same mindset is demonstrated in the lives of many Christians in regards to sin. They are so focused on avoiding sin that they forget we have also been equipped to wage spiritual warfare. I John 3:9 says: “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.” With this bible verse in mind, many Christians make it their primary goal to avoid sinning at all cost. To them, to see sin in their lives make them wonder if they are really saved in the first place. In the original Greek text, this verse clearly spoke of those who continue to sin. In other words, they practice it. Those who practice sin on a regular basis are clearly not God’s children. Keep in mind that John also wrote: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) Of course God wants us to avoid sin. In no way do I want to minimize it’s importance. But because we fall into it from time to time, God also has made provision for our forgiveness, cleansing, and restoration.
What does this mean for you and me? In general terms, God wants our lives to be balanced. To use a sports term, He wants us to play both defense and offense. If you remember the process in Ephesians, Chapter 6, we have the spiritual armor of God as our defense, but we also have “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (vs. 17) for our offense. To avoid sin is very important, but equally important are God’s Word and the spiritual gifts He has bestowed upon us. Besides striving to live a life that honors and pleases our Heavenly Father, let’s use the Word, love, and the gifts God has given us to serve and benefit those around us.
God’s word for today: (Psalm 37:3) “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.”