Good Sunday Morning!
Last night, the world (meh, not really the world. Let’s just say a lot of people) were on the edge of their seats. This was supposed to be the fight of the century – a world champion boxer taking on a world champion UFC fighter.
Mayweather vs. McGregor
The fight ended in the 10th round.
McGregor was bloodied, disoriented, and, according to one report, about to fall through the ropes and out of the ring when the referee stopped the fight.
Mayweather ended his career undefeated, 50-0.
Beating the Air
In the book of Corinthians, chapter 9, Paul talks about the sport of boxing.
You see, the Corinthians were near to Athens, where the Olympics were born. In fact, Corinth had it’s own version of the games, called the Isthmian games.
Greeks knew about sports. They loved sports.
So Paul uses these boxing to get the attention of the Corinthians, and to show them the correct way to approach living for God.
When a fighter trains to fight, he studies his opponent.
He works on his footwork.
He works on his endurance.
He works on his punching power and quickness.
He works on dodging punches.
Long story short, a boxer never climbs into the ring on accident. He never crawls through the ropes wondering who he is going to fight tonight.
A boxer never rolls of the couch, dusting the chip crumbs from his belly, and put on the boxing gloves to go fight.
He knows the fight. He has a strategy for the fight. And he is ready for the fight.
To the Corinthians, Paul draws a comparison between the fighter who trains for the mastery of his craft and to win his bouts, and the Christian who trains for the mastery of winning his contest. One is corruptible, and doesn’t last – the other determines our eternity.
Paul says, “so fight I, not as one who beateth the air.”
In other words, he isn’t in this for shadow boxing.
He doesn’t approach living for God like it’s a Nintendo game.
Boxing great Joe Frazier spoke of a boxer’s preparation, and he said,
“If you cheated on that in the dark of the morning, well, you’re going to get found out now, under the bright lights.””
I wonder how many Christians live their life like they have nothing to lose or gain. They just are.
They get up in the morning, stay awake for a while, and go back to bed at night.
They come to church on Sunday, and then go home afterward and take a nap.
They never give a thought to the hundreds of people that live within a mile of their home, people that may never hear the Gospel, may spend eternity in hell because we weren’t being Christians on purpose.
We pray, but we pray with disconnect – no passion that connects our prayer to a cause.
We give in the offering, with no thought as to the worship that action is supposed to be.
We live our life, but not on purpose.
We live for God, but with no intentions.
Is that you and me?
I have to admit, sometimes it is.
When things get mundane, we go into robot mode.
When things get hectic, we go into busy mode.
Do we talk to people in the coffee shop, never thinking of their eternal destination.
we pass people on the street, never considering their salvation.
we live with people in apartment complexes and never consider building a relationship with them.
Then we come to church and worship God, hoping to get “our” blessing, oblivious to the heartache and pain the one we worship is experiencing for those lost and dying around us.
We want our paycheck, God. But, don’t bother us with the details of your business. Just let us show up, put in our time, and get what you have for us.
How different would our lives be if we lived every day intentionally for God?
How would our city look if all of God’s people woke up every morning, determined to be about the Father’s business?
What if we became the kind of Christians that took eternity, salvation, and heaven as serious as Mayweather takes the boxing ring?
Yeah, it’ll cost a little more.
Yes, you will have to wake up in the morning and down some of those raw eggs.
Yeah, you may have to deal with a cantankerous manager pushing you to be better.
Yeah, you may have to run every morning until you feel like your legs are going to fall off.
You may have to spar a few lessers to get you ready for the big show.
But when it matters, you’ll have the stamina, the power, the endurance, the quickness, and the mental toughness to actually make a difference.
It’s time to stop being proud of how well we beat the air. It’s time to notice the other fella in the ring. We know his tricks. We know his methods.
McGregor lost, they will say, because he was playing Mayweather’s game by Mayweather’s rules.
Every day we get up and live for God in apathy, we’re playing by our opponents rules.
But when we live for God intentionally, we change the game.