Posted in christian

Submit and Resist

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

“They told me you asked that I wear everything. Aren’t we practicing today?” Joel asked as he stood before his coach.
Emmanuel continued cleaning his gloves, not bothering to turn around.
“Yes, I wanted you to wear the whole armor today and every day after that for practice.”
“Excuse me, sir, but what’s the use? Wouldn’t it be better for me to continue training without the extra load?”
Emmanuel smiled and turned to face his fighter, who looked ready for war in the get-up he was wearing.
“You are fighting against an enemy you don’t understand, my boy, and until you do, let’s do things my way. Is that clear?”
Joel looked nonplussed but nodded anyway.
“Get in the ring. Let’s start.”
Joel had been training to fight for six months, and due to all the encouragement his coach kept heaping on him, he knew he wasn’t bad at the sport. He entered the ring checking his breathing, working on his nerves, and keeping his head up as he warmed up as best as possible with the armor he was carrying.
“Today, you will be fighting a new enemy. There are no rules in this fight, so no fouls. This enemy will come at you from all sides and will do anything to bring you down, so stay alert!” Emmanuel said as he called out his instructions.
A fight without rules?
“But coach, where do they fight like that?”
Emmanuel climbed into the ring and stood, looking at Joel. “I’m preparing you for the fight of your life. If you win this, a crown awaits.”
“Wow, a crown, not a belt?”
Emmanuel shook his head, turned, and exited the ring. Once he touched the ground, he looked at his fighter and up at the hanging banana punching bags he had secured with ropes by the walls.
“Ready?” He asked Joel, looking back at him.
Joel nodded and assumed a fighting stance. Emmanuel walked to the walls and cut the rope holding the six punching bags in place, and all at once, they fell and flew towards Joel on the ring.
Joel heard them before he saw them, but by that time, it was too late. No matter how he tried, he couldn’t dodge the blows from the bags that hit his mid-section, his left, or his back. A few seconds after the fight began, he was lying on the ground.
He lay there, breathing hard and unmoving, watching the bags swinging on top of him.
“Stand up, fighter, and assume your position,” Emmanuel said, calling to him from outside the ring.
Joel stood, checking his body for any aches. He started to control his breathing again, closing his eyes.
“Do you know why you lost the fight?”
“Of course, coach. I wasn’t prepared for my enemy. I was taken by surprise, and it won’t happen again.” Joel said, with his eyes still closed.
Emmanuel held a ring rope as he jumped up into the ring’s side and slid in through the ropes. He strolled to stand in front of the fighter and waited for him to open his eyes.
“If this had been the fight of your life, you would have lost, and contrary to what you believe, you don’t know why you lost. I told you there were no rules. I explained how ruthless your enemy was and advised you to stay alert.
“This fight is not like the others; it’s different. This enemy will try banana bags today and iron rings flying at you tomorrow. He doesn’t do fair, and he doesn’t care. All he wants is to bring you down.”
“He sounds too strong, sir.”
“He is not, but sounds and seems strong. To fight him, you need to look within. You cannot depend on your skills, expertise, or strength. He’ll knock you out as the bags did.”
“How do I fight from within?”
“You have to submit to the one who can fight this battle for you and stand in His strength. Your senses will not help, so no matter how many times you try to listen or calm your breathing to pay attention to your externals, he’ll still knock you out.
“When you submit, you stand in the power of a greater being. You quiet yourself and listen to the Master’s instructions: to move, crouch, jab, slip, block, pull away, etc. Only in His strength can you find victory.
“In this fight, you lose, you die, and you don’t stop fighting until the end. It would be best if you were vigilant all the time because the enemy will come at you at will. He will come at you with all sorts: fear, anger, hurt, disease, loss, lack, anything he can get his hands on to beat you down and kill your spirit. Never crouch, stand up and oppose him at every turn, and keep doing so until the end.”
Joel shook his head at his coach and scratched his beard. “Wait, Coach, are we talking about the devil here? What does he have to do with professional fighting?”
Emmanuel smiled at Joel. “If you learn to battle the enemy and to win, you win every other battle you engage in because your source of strength would be the same, son. David defeated Goliath because of that truth. No matter your career and chosen path, once you learn to fight the battle of life, and to stand in God’s strength, then you can take on any enemy.”
Joel nodded. “So if all I need to do it is to learn to submit to God, when do I start my training?”
Emmanuel nodded in approval. “We can start right now.”

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