As some of you know, I am a huge fan of combat sports. Not only am I a fan, but I train boxing with a few other boxers – both amateur and professional. I generally go to the boxing gym on Saturdays for sparring and conditioning. Today there was no class due to a competition but another boxer & I met there to work on our conditioning.
I am exhausted.
If you ever visit our gym there is a phrase you will hear continually from Jerry James (our coach) – “If you can’t fight tired, you can’t win fights.”
Suffice it to say, after doing around six 3-minute rounds on the heavy bag and three 3-minute rounds in the ring, I did a conditioning drill which requires me to throw punches continually for 3 minutes while my opponent moves towards me the whole time. (For some perspective, if you have never boxed, I would be willing to bet money that you wouldn’t even last one 3-minute round in the ring… even if you think you are in good shape!)
There’s a few things I began to notice during this last drill as exhaustion set into my body. The first thing I began to lose was the power/snap to my punches. My punches began getting slower and less powerful as my body weakened. Second, I began to drop my hands far from guard. Keeping a good guard is vital in boxing (unless you enjoy getting hit in the face and dazed). Third, I became so exhausted that it seemed as if the floor was moving and I began getting dizzy – going off balance and losing my footing.
Why am I sharing all of this?
Well, what is true in boxing is also true of our spiritual lives. The Apostle Paul wrote the following instruction to a young leader named Timothy:
1 Timothy 6:11-12
11 But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses.
The Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, uses “fighting” as a metaphor for the faith. The truth is we will all go through seasons when we are absolutely exhausted: the birth of a new baby, conflict in our family/relationships, a diagnosis that is terminal, children rebelling against our authority, the loss of a job – among many other debilitating circumstances.
It’s in this exhaustion that we begin to lose power.
It’s in this exhaustion that we began to drop our guard.
It’s in this exhaustion that we begin to stumble.
It’s in this exhaustion that the enemy of our soul destroys us.
Anyone who has spent time boxing understands that there will always be a time in the fight that you are utterly exhausted. No amount of conditioning will prepare you for the intensity of a boxing match. Instead, you need to learn to fight through the exhaustion by remembering good technique.
Paul, in the passage above, reminds Timothy to “hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you…” One of the ways we do this in our exhaustion is through the spiritual disciplines. These are disciplines we practice in our lives through which the Holy Spirit can teach us and guide us more into God’s truth.
Are you tired today? Are you feeling defeated? The best thing you can do is NOT to try to overcome the exhaustion in your own strength, but rather carve out time to spend alone with God. Below are four suggestions on spiritual disciplines that you will find life-giving and will enable you to fight tired:
- Prayer/Bible Reading
- Fellowship with other believers
If you’re struggling right now and would like prayer or simply someone to talk to, please send me an e-mail. I’d love to connect with you – firstname.lastname@example.org