Is Salvation Worth The Fight?
"For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world— our faith."
1 John 5:4
Why do we bother dealing with sinners?
I attended a boxing match the other night and it was by far the most action-packed evening I've experienced through the Floyd Patterson Boxing Club. This was my third match I've attended and every bout exciting from beginning to end. This recent one, however, buries the needle on intensity. Here's why I believe this is the case: The first two fights I attended had beautiful weather all day throughout the entire travel radius. Everyone who had a long drive didn't have to risk much on the way there or back. This most recent fight, however, had a full-blown blizzard going on in the middle of it. Fighters and their supporters were driving up to 5 hours to get there, then had to drive the same distance home in horrible driving conditions. That didn't stop a single person, every fighter who signed up showed up. The other two fights had a lot of people drop out for one reason or another, but not this time. This means everyone who showed up came there for one purpose: to win their fight, or to support their fighter. Was it worth it? Absolutely!
It would have been very easy for everyone to tell the host of the fight that he ought to postpone the event to a date with better weather. They hypothetically could have convinced him nobody in their right mind would be caught dead in that blizzard and he was just wasting his time. I'm sure there might have even been naysayers who in their mind accused him of putting people at risk. However, anyone who thought that would have been wrong! It worked out because everyone involved understood how important the fight was to them. The blizzard didn't even really start until the fight was almost over, so everyone had a chance to get out of there before things got bad. So what did anyone have to worry about?
Christians are found in this same boat very often. We see the challenge that lies ahead in sharing our faith with a sinner. We see how angry and ugly people are toward the things of God. We see the look on people's faces when they hear us talk about "religious" things. We hear the excuses, the taunting, the objections, the accusations and sometimes even the threats. It's very easy to convince ourselves it's not worth the trouble. We can just lift our hands and say, "Come quickly Lord Jesus..." then sit and wait while twiddling our thumbs. It's easy to make excuses about what the Bible says in the Great Commission, or to redefine what it means. However, are we doing anyone any favors? Are we being obedient in our excuses? Are people coming to know Christ through our sitting and waiting for His eminent return?
There were three major events that occurred that night:
First, there was an amazing display of boxing skills when a young man faced an opponent more than a foot taller than him and prevailed. Being taller is generally an advantage in boxing because they usually have longer arms, resulting in reaching their opponents first. This was truly a David and Goliath situation. The shorter man used his skills and training to out work his taller opponent, making it harder to hit him. We can learn a lot from him in the sense that we can make small targets of ourselves. How can we do that? We need to exercise self-control, particularly over our tongue. Start with being careful how you behave on social media. That stuff never goes away! How we respond to accusations, objections and insults to the faith is a witness in and of itself. If we handle things right, it wears out our enemies and disarms them.
"If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless."
"A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger."
Secondly, there was the best rallying I've ever seen in a fight. One of the fighters took a serious hit below the belt, which is actually illegal in boxing.