A boxer that gets knocked down during a fight has not lost. A boxer that finds himself face down on the mat has not lost. A boxer that hears the referee begin his count to ten has not lost. A boxer loses the match only when he refuses to get back up after being knocked down.
Paul wrote concerning the preaching of the gospel, “We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8, 9). Throughout the ministry of Paul he endured many persecutions (2 Corinthians 11:22-28). Despite all the trouble he went through, he would never stop preaching and teaching Jesus as the Christ. Even after being stoned and left for dead in Lystra, Paul got back up, dusted himself off, and went right back to preaching (Acts 14:19, 20).
The question we must ask ourselves, “What stops us from living the Christian life?” Satan will throw many different obstacles in our path to try and discourage us from remaining steadfast to Christ. Too often, Christians become discouraged by obstacles much smaller than what the apostle Paul and the early disciples ever faced.
A large part of the problem is that Christians think that getting knocked down means they have lost, therefore they become discouraged and quit. The truth is all Christians either stumble or have time in their lives when they are knocked down. Just like the boxer, getting knocked down, being faced down on the mat, or hearing the referee begin to count does not make one lose the spiritual battle. The Christian only loses when he fails to get up, dust himself off and go again.
The important key to remember is that we are not in the Christian life by ourselves. Paul endured amazing odds. He later wrote, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). This still remains true for us today. Jesus has not left us in life to fend for ourselves, but He continues to give us the strength we need to endure. As we continue down the road to eternal salvation, let us remember the words of Paul, “Therefore my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
God bless each of you,
Berryville church of Christ