Ron Oertli tells the story: “During college, I took a physical education course in boxing. The instructor matched each student with someone with approximately the same height, weight, and reach. But my assigned partner kept missing class. So, I frequently ended up boxing a fellow twenty pounds heavier. (I had loose teeth the whole quarter!)
Three one-minute rounds seemed to take forever, especial when the opponent danced around the ring and I connected only once every several punches. Fatigue set in quickly.
I learned a lesson that quarter that has stuck with me ever since: you’re drained of more energy by swinging and missing than by landing a solid punch.”
When I read that story, it occurred to me Ron’s experience is probably repeated every week by millions of church members around the world who, unintentionally are merely “beating the air” rather than delivering a knock-out punch when it comes to living out their faith.
Paul, the apostle, used boxing analogies to illustrate the discipline, determination and intensity needed to effectively and successfully live out our faith. (1 Corinthians 9:26-27; 2 Timothy 4:7-8)
How can you and I avoid the mistake of merely “beating the air” and instead, deliver a solid punch to the devil, every day, by the way we live?
Here are some suggestions:
• Get connected to God and to other fully-devoted followers of Christ in a great Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church (Mark 12:30-31).
• Have a quiet time every day with the Lord, spending time in His Word and in prayer (Jeremiah 29:13).
• Live your faith, every day, by applying what you learn to the way you live (Romans 12:1-2).
• Make worship a priority every weekend of every year (Hebrews 10:24-25).
• Give generously to God through your local church. The tithe is a great place to start, giving 10% of your income back to God (Malachi 3:8-10; Matthew 23:23; 1 Corinthians 16:2).
• Get involved in a Connect Group where you can develop significant relationships that will change your life forever (1 Corinthians 12:12; Romans 12:4-5).
• Find a ministry that fits your passion and personality, and begin serving (1 Peter 4:10-11; Ephesians 4:11-16).
Ron Oertli is right: “you’re drained of more energy by swinging and missing than by landing a solid punch.” However, holy heavyweights, who’ve trained, prepared and learned how to effectively deliver a punch, put all of Hell back on their heels in holy fear.
That’s what Paul did. In his letter to Timothy, he said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).
Shadow-boxing saints have never been a threat to Satan.
© 2014. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.