“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 ESV
I was in a Burger King recently and saw a young guy sitting with his girlfriend. My kids pointed to the back of his t-shirt and I noticed that it read “Jesus didn’t tap out”. I just thought those words were so profound. So as I thought about this statement, I realized how true it was. If you are not a sport fan, let me catch you up to speed.
As I have mentioned in the past, I grew up with three brothers, so I was a bit of a tom boy. There was always some kind of sport on, whether it was on the television or in the middle of my living room. Among the household favorites was WWF a.k.a. big time wrestling. One of my brothers actually put a whole in the wall while sparing with another. Don’t worry Tony, I won’t tell them it was you. Anyway, it seems that interest in this sport has been replaced by an actual contact sport called MMA, or Mixed Martial Arts. MMA is a full contact sport that allows the use of both striking and grappling techniques, both standing and on the ground, including boxing, wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, muay Thai, kickboxing, karate, judo and other styles. A far cry from The Junkyard Dog or Rick Flair, can I get a whoooooooooo?
In the sport of wrestling or MMA, the term tap out is when a wrestler is in a hold that he cannot escape or is in too much pain to persevere, he has the option to submit. He would tap three times either on his opponent or on the mat. This gives the other fighter the signal that you see no way of getting out of this hold and that you give up. When the fighter does this, the match is over and he has lost.
The bible tells us that we too are in a wrestling match, and much like MMA, this match is not fake. We don’t win the match because “Stone Cold said so”. In this match the enemy uses all kinds of strategies to get us to submit. He will use any area of sin in your life to beat you down, and when you are down; he will use his karate skills and kick you over and over again. He has no mercy; there is nothing in him that is capable of it. Unlike Stipe Miocic, who is a local UFC fighter, we cannot see our opponent so our battle is tough. To receive a blow that you do not even see coming seems to hurt twice as much. Our enemy uses things from our past, he uses things that we struggle with. He uses our addictions to drugs and alcohol. He will use our families and the ones we love, he uses our reputation. He uses drastic thoughts of hopelessness, such as suicide. He uses a mixed variety of ammunition to defeat us.
So as we lie in near defeat, in what seems to be a choke hold on our lives, we have a choice to make. Do we submit or do we persevere? My prayer is that you continue to fight, but with any fight, you will need training. God’s word says that spiritual training can be more beneficial than physical training (1Timothy 4:8). So get your butt to the spiritual gym, which is in the word of God, and begin training. Once you grow some spiritual muscles, you will find the fight to be easier to bear. Our battle has one thing in common with WWF, which is the ending is already written. So stop living your Christian life in defeat and persevere my friends. Keep fighting for what is right, keep looking to God, and no matter how bad the battle looks, don’t tap out, Jesus didn’t!