Unbelievable! He went down again! All eyes were riveted to the man on the mat. Impervious to the hush over the crowd, his concentration was elsewhere. What could be more important than the count to determine the winner of the bout? For him, all that mattered was his count and how long it would take him to get back up again.
Floyd Patterson brought home the gold for the 1952 World Olympics. He went on to become a World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, holding the title from 1956-1959 and 1959-1960. His biography and life works are extensive. One would think he had multiple occasions to celebrate yet, he was more famous for his defeats than his victories.
Who can be considered a contender? It is the person that possesses the tenacity to consistently fight, even when insurmountable odds are stacked against them. By all accounts, Floyd Patterson was a contender. As believers, we are contenders too.
Let us earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints. (Jude 3)
Jude references a different kind of contender. This marquee reads, “The Contender (You) vs. the Opposer of the Faith (Satan).” We are in the ring for a spiritual battle. In less than thirty verses, Jude packs a powerful punch! He gives the enemy a right cross, an, uppercut and a body shot as he warns us against:
- False teachers; rejecters of the lordship of Christ.
- Those who undermine the faith of others.
- Drifting away from a faithful commitment to Christ.
As believers, our goal should be to stay in the ring. However, there are some commonalities when conditioning for a bout or for us, the fight of our lives.
The Contender’s Discipline
You’ve got to train relentlessly to be prepared for this battle.
According to Mental Training for Boxers, “staying disciplined and overcoming fear are necessary abilities…the mental aspect is exhausting…fear comes from the possibility pain and defeat.” As contenders, we are acclimated to this knowledge regarding fear: we are not bound or tormented by it when our love for Him is matured.
The Contender’s Focus
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)
The Contender’s Ability to Take a Blow
Samuel Ha offers some advice for taking a punch:
- Build a Solid Foundation: We go to the rock and stand upon His promises.
- Positioning: We remain steadfast in the faith.
- Roll with the Punches: We learn to recover, renew, and refocus.
- Know your Opponent: We are not uneducated or misinformed regarding the enemy.
- Be in Top Condition: We are in top condition when we study the word of God and learn how to apply His Word to our lives.
Down for the Count
Okay. You took a hit that knocked the wind out of you. All eyes are on you and you’re wondering if you can get back up. The spectators predict this will end you. You can hear the crowd chanting, “He’s down! It’s over. He’s done.” But they don’t know Second Corinthians 4:8-11 or Romans 8:35, 37-39.
2 I look up and see God…
3 The Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit have been here with me from the beginning.
4, 5, 6, 7
A hush falls over the crowd as you make it up onto your knees.
8 This is not my end, but my beginning. I will write a new history of victory, not a past of defeat.
9 I’m back from a nasty fall.
Your discipline, focus, and ability to absorb life’s blows allow you to rise before the enemy can count you out.
Ready for Another Round
Floyd Patterson got knocked out in the first round twice by Sonny Liston. Humiliated, He still got back in the ring; ready for another round.
They said I was the fighter who got knocked down the most, but I also got up the most. (Floyd Patterson)
Like Floyd, refuse to be defined by failure. When you get knocked down, rewrite your history too and rise in the power of God.