Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Power of Focus

Read: 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

Manny Pacquiao was a very focused man. The pride of Filipinos everywhere, Manny’s boxing success has made him a hero. I watched as he was waiting to be introduced. He continued to practice appropriate maneuvers, focused on his nearby opponent. He danced about, throwing punches, ducking blows, doing everything he could to sharpen his senses and moves for the real bout to come.

Once the boxing match started, Manny became the challenger. His opponent had lots of experience and successes in the past. But, this bout was different. Manny soon gained the upper hand and eventually defeated Miguel Cotto. Manny looked much quicker and better prepared. This became very evident by the fourth round. His promoter, Bob Arum considers Manny the best fighter that he has ever seen. Mark Kriegel of FoxSports.com says that “There’s never been a bigger little man!”

Like Manny Pacquiao, followers of Jesus need to be prepared for a battle. This is a spiritual battle involving an enemy that aims for the knockout blow! Sounding like a boxer, the Apostle Paul tells disciples of Jesus at the Greek city of Corinth:

“…I do not fight like a man beating the air.

No, I beat (discipline) my body and make it my slave so that

After I have preached to others,

I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” (1 Corinthians 9:26b-27)

Let us examine our hearts and discern our own motives. Let us beware of carelessness and laziness. Self-control of your thought life, feelings and actions is essential to live in victory over an enemy – Satan and his forces – whom you cannot physically see. Paul’s words of warning to Jesus’ followers at Ephesus are so relevant to us today:

“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against

the devil’s schemes.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but …

against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:11-12)

Practice your boxing skills by regular meditation on God’s word, fervent praying, continual praise of God, and active engagement with others in communicating God’s gift of eternal life. In all of this, live by faith and seek deeper intimacy with God as you grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus, our coming victorious King!

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