Friday, November 9, 2012

Big Time Wrestling!

Yes, when I was young my family was greatly into "Big Time Wrestling."  I remember at seven and eight years old going to my grandmas and great grandmas and hearing them yelling at a black and white television screen to "pound their heads," "give it up," or the classic "1...2....3!"
My dad and I went to many "Big Time Wrestling" events while growing up in Dayton, Ohio.  Many times we went to Hara Arena or University of Dayton Arena to watch the likes of Rick Flair, Hulk Hogan, and the Legion of Doom.
I don't do the wrestling thing now.  After going to college and living apart from all these things for four  years, you will be amazed how wicked it "suddenly" got while you were gone. The nakedness, immorality, cursing, drinking, drugs, and such have become what "Big Time Wrestling" is all about.  We've come a long way from "To all my little Hulkamaniacs, say your prayers, take your vitamins and you will never go wrong."  Enough reminiscing....
I have however learned, that we are all engaged in some "Big Time Wrestling."  The Scriptures read:
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Eph. 6:13
When I became a pastor, one of the first things that I realized was the reality of a spiritual warfare going on all around me.  The Devil is fighting and fighting hard.  The Devil hates a Christian's life and testimony, the Gospel being preached, a Godly family, and God honoring churches.  He seeks to destroy them, and we are engaged in a big time wrestling match.   At least, we should be.

I fear that too many Christians are "George South" Christians.  George South was a wrestler 'back in the days' who was every heroes punching bag.  I remember groaning every time he was introduced as an opponent.  I think I personally saw Rick Flair put George South in the figure 4 100 times.  The script was for the hero to beat around on George South and then 'make that mistake.'  George South would then get the upper hand on Rick Flair for a moment.  Enough for the crowd to get mad at him.  He would do his patented "stick the tongue out" at the fans and miraculously just about then the hero would arise from defeat and defeat George South.
I see so many Christians today who just expect to lose.  Their mentality and attitude is one of defeat.  For a moment in their life, when all is going well, they make a lot of noise and get all excited about God, and even "stick their tongue out" at the Devil and as soon as that pride shows itself, they fall and fall hard.

We are to be engaged in this spiritual wrestling match, and the great part is, we are victorious.  Our victory is promised when we fight this battle through our Lord Jesus Christ.  At the moment, we may have to endure some afflictions. As I sit and write this, my heart is so heavy for so many.  It seems as if the last month has been filled with news of brothers and sisters in Christ, churches, and pastors and their families under oppression and attack.  Just this week, a pastor called to ask for prayer as his family is under attack and being divided.  How my heart aches for these I love.  Yet, we understand, that while on this earth we saints will experience “hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”  We will be at war and must be “a soldier.”  Peter speaks of these seasons of “heaviness through manifold temptations” we will face in his epistle.  So what are we to do?

The answer you will find in 2 Timothy two and 1 Peter one and throughout God’s Word is “endure.”  To endure means to hold fast, bare bravely and calmly on the shoulders.  Peter says that while enduring we can “greatly rejoice.”  How?  Because “the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”  Paul tells Timothy we endure because of “salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”  In other words, “It Will be Worth It All When We See Jesus!”

Paul uses in 2 Timothy the example of Christ in 2:8, as does Peter in 1:11.  To what are they referring?  Hebrews 12:2-3 gives us our example.   He “endured the cross, despising the shame…” for the “joy that was set before Him.”  The Lord may allow seasons of trials into our lives, but they are just that-seasons.  They will not last forever.  They are for our strengthening and sanctification.   We must recognize that enduring is required and when a man has made up his mind that there is nothing he cannot endure, his fear leaves him.

The Devil is seemingly pounding down on my family, our missionaries, so many in our church, and other good families in solid churches.  If we are not careful, we will start to think that the Devil is winning and is going to win.  But I feel like the old school Hulk Hogan.  Just when you thought he was down and out, he would raise that fist and begin to rise from the mat.  In just seconds, everything turned around and he soon was pinning his opponent to a cheer of "1...2....3!"  

I believe we are in the last days and not making light of things, but towards the end of the match, the wrestling gets much more intense.  We as children of God are going to need to show what we are made of.  We are going to have to endure, to fight, and keep on doing what is right.  This fight is not flesh and blood, but it is real, it's Big Time Wrestling!  Just an inside scoop though, it's all fixed.  The good guys always win.

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