ThoughtShades FrameWork

Essays, Themes, Opinions

Constructs, Practical Ideas, Applications

Poetry, Impression Writing

Sermons, Devotions

Personal Revelations, Illustrations

Viewpoint: Politics, Contemporary Issues, Editorials


Choice Offerings by Others

Powered by Squarespace
« The Unexpected Consequences of Righteousness | Main | Twenty-five Ways To Have Even Better Church Services! »

Make It Count

boxing gloves.jpg“… I do not fight like a man beating the air.” I Corinthians 9:26 (NIV)

Shadow-boxers who flail against the air score points with every punch. They breathe hard and break out in a sweat with flurries of activity. They swing at nothing and succeed in hitting it every time. Measured in form and style, dips and jabs, fades and rolls, they put on an impressive show. But, imaginary targets always produce imaginary triumphs. If you measure actual results, they fail miserably. After all, it is only air.

We live in a world of air beaters. Political sparring, poll-driven campaigns, demagoguery, symbolic fights, spin games, negative ads and slashing rhetoric dominate the cultural scene today. Wooden-handled placards that display dire messages, protest marches, cream pies in faces, shouted epithets and shocking one-liners attract as much, if not more attention than legitimate news stories. Media manipulation such as trial balloons, test messages and focus group opinions pass for substance. In fact, none of these tactics have much to do with substance at all. They deal in words, noises and creating of perceptions.

Not only does modern man tolerate such fluffy creations, he clamors for it. Opportunists have answered with huge special effects movies, gigantic slight of hand (magic) shows and pro-wrestling shams where people not only pay big money to be deceived, they get involved in the fakery themselves with stupefying sincerity. Journalists write the stories they want you to believe. Scientists massage statistics so as to shape your opinions. Historians revise the past until it conforms to their political philosophy. Imagination has blurred together with reality until many people don’t know and don’t care about the difference.

The Apostle Paul insisted that his ministry bear no resemblance to an air beater. He was not high stepping through meaningless motions calculated to impress his superiors, peers or followers. In fact, he deliberately shunned “enticing words of man’s wisdom” so he could emphasize the “demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” Air-beating Christianity is fruitless—-and maybe even fraudulent. Why? Three things make the Christian shadow-boxer a pitiful spectacle.

First, he only imagines his target. Don’t conjure up imaginary targets for your spiritual focus. Don’t be more concerned about Satan, a defeated enemy, than with the flesh, a living menace. When you look around the obvious enemies in your life, like anger, jealousy, or carnality, and go after shadows, you indulge in self-deceit. Moreover, your most dangerous enemies may not be antagonists on the job, Satanists or purveyors of false doctrines. Most likely, you should look to your own lack of discipline, fleshly indulgences or pride.

Second, he expends much energy in doing essentially nothing. Genuine Christians should use their store of energy to score real victories and make real spiritual progress. Some people yield to fits of holy fervor that leave them essentially where they started with the same old unresolved issues and knotty problems. Prayer meetings should not be measured in noise, but faith and results. Spiritual demonstrations that don’t translate into solid gains become fanaticism.

Third, he is quite convinced that he has won a major victory. A false sense of victory actually means grave danger. The scriptures teach that the person who thinks he stands should be careful because he may fall. His attitude sets him up for a blind-sided attack. Until he sees metered progress in his thinking and living, he has only spun his wheels. “Let this mind be in you as was also in Christ Jesus…”

Inflated rhetoric, religious hype, and sound and light shows cannot define a genuine experience with God. Jesus Christ did not come to the world as a first century Madison Avenue ad-man who dealt in splashy colors, catchy slogans or artful logos. No illusions, no empty promises, no blind alleys. Jesus spoke true words, performed real miracles and committed himself to a complete mission.

As a child of God, you must make your spiritual life and work count. Focus on real, not imaginary targets. Measure your goals by the Word of God, not by fancied thoughts or dark impressions. Gauge your walk with God by how you think and behave after you leave a Sunday night service, not just how you feel during the service. When you do, those around you will see real truth in action.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>