The leather gave only slightly to the blow, as the weighted bag bobbled under her best uppercut. Pummeling with all her might, she drove her glove into the bag, groaning a little with each jab. Stabbing and striking, ducking and dodging — her every move exhausted her, but also strengthened her for the next fight.
Every morning, she met her trainer. Every morning, she honed her skill. Sometimes, her instructor stood nearby and sometimes he coached while steadying the bag. He challenged her, pushed her, angered her — but somehow always encouraged her.
She learned to pour her passion into every punch. Every disappointment, frustration, and humiliation propelled her glove deeper and further into the Everlast bag. When her anger drained and her head cleared, she stepped into the shower, ready once again to face her world.
I’d seen this movie before, but this time my mind raced with the similarities. “This is a depiction of that Greek word I just discovered,” I mused aloud. “This is hypōpiazō – ‘to disable an antagonist as a boxer. To beat black and blue.’” Yes, I could see it now. A boxer standing firm and hard against her opponent.
I turned back to Luke 18. There in the Scripture reference, the fighter was (surprisingly enough) a wiry, little widow lady. She had no money, no prestige, and no prominence. But she. Was. Feisty. She knew her legal rights and she demanded they be given to her.
Unfortunately, her deciding judge couldn’t care less. You know the type. He took bribes. He grew rich. His only concern was himself. Yet, morning by morning, she kept on knocking — standing persistently with her incessant and unending demand. She just wouldn’t take no for an answer.
So in time, the big bully caved in to the spirited little boxer. “Good grief!” he said. “Give her that protection, before she beats me black and blue (hypōpiazō)” (Luke 18:5).
And then Jesus spoke directly to me: “Hear what the unrighteous judge said” (Luke 18:6).
But had I heard? Had I caught the significance?
He wants me as a pugilist in prayer. Despite the sweat, determination and perseverance, I’m called to get in the ring. My Great Trainer awaits, desiring to build my confidence and guide me through the next round.
But how often to I show up for the fight? How often do I lay into my enemy of passivity to stay at him despite my exhaustion and fatigue? How often do I stick to the training when the desperate passes and the mundane routinely takes over? Do I target my passion onto my true dark opponent or am I angrily punching at my own family and co-workers?
“Lord, make me a pugilist in prayer. Strengthen me with Your power in my inner man that I may be able to fight the good fight of faith (Ephesians 3:16; 1 Timothy 6:12). Make me alert to see my true enemy, the one trying to devour both me and the ones I love (1 Peter 5:8). May I spend my passionate energy knocking out the works of the evil one, so I build up Your family. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
Did you know you are sought after?
There are at least two individuals who are daily and actively searching for you. They both care about what happens to you and what you do.
(And I’m not including your mother as either of the two).
One seeks to support you. The other to destroy you.
One seeks with His eyes upon you. The other with his feet padding after you.
You are being followed.
Shhhh. Stop and listen.
“The devil prowls about….seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
“The eyes of the Lord move to and from throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
Both Ultimate Good and ultimate evil are nearby. And before you turn to run, remember just how often those Eyes have already protected you from those feet.
Yes, satan roams “about the earth..walking around on it’” (Job 1:7), but what comfort to know that even when I feel that I have been attacked, the Father is seeking to “bring back the scattered, bind up the broken, and strengthen the sick” (Ezekiel 34:16).
Use some time to meditate today on the power of His gracious care for you. Allow Him, the Logos Word, to pour faith into your feeble soul through His Hope.
“The Lord is with you when you are with Him. And if you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you” (2 Chronicles 15:2).
“Seek the Lord while He yet may be found, call upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6).
“No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him” (John 6:44).
“The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous And His ears are open to their cry” (Psalm 34:15).
“For thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out’” (Ezekiel 34:11).
“He, your Teacher, will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher. Your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or the left” (Isaiah 30:20-21).
I want to be easy for the Lord to find. How about you?