Did you watch the Poirier / McGregor fight a couple of Saturdays ago? Unfortunately, I didn’t have the money to order the fight because I work on a pastor's wage but I heard it was exciting! ;)
All joking aside, I would have ordered the fights if I didn’t have a prior engagement. Luckily, we live in an era where anything exciting gets caught on video and will eventually end up in our faces.
I’ll give you a summary: trash-talking, big personalities, and even bigger head Conner McGregor. McGregor suffered a catastrophic injury in the first round which eventually led to a doctor calling the fight and declaring Dustin Poirier the champion.
I’m a fan of mixed martial arts. I’m drawn to the spirit of fighters. Even though some fighters, like McGregor, can have a big ego and exude arrogance, you have to respect his willingness to lay his physical safety on the line to achieve greatness.
What I specifically noticed about this fight was Conner McGregor's unwillingness to accept defeat as he lay there broken. Literally, minutes after breaking his leg in half, the man begins promoting a rematch! As I’m watching it, I’m thinking to myself, “What an idiot! Just take the “L” and accept your future in this sport.”
But on the other hand, I’m once again brought to a place of respect for McGregor’s unwillingness to yield in the middle of a defeat.
The fighter spirit says don’t give up even if you are outnumbered, broken, and losing; fight until you can’t fight anymore. I admire the tenacity and grit.
This should be a reflection of our faith - not the big-headed arrogance part, but the standing strong in the face of all odds. I’m tired of seeing Christians get hit with devastating life blows and not hit back.
Romans 8 calls Christians “more than conquerors”. God has built us and equipped us to face hard things. Even more than that, hard things is the avenue where we build stronger faith. Just as a weightlifter needs resistance to build strength, Christians need resistance to build faith.
The book of James puts it this way, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” -James 1:2-4
Our perseverance through challenges creates maturity. Do you feel the burn in your faith muscles?
It’s natural to run away from pain, but pain is one of the best teachers we have. Let's be clear, because sometimes God gets blamed for the pain He doesn’t create. The book of James actually addresses this by saying don’t blame God when you are being tempted because God doesn’t tempt us. All good and perfect things come from the Father.
Let’s be honest, most of the pain we face is self-inflicted pain from bad habits or choices we have made. And God shouldn’t get blamed for that. He is actually leading us away from those things and calling us to obedience.
The beautiful part is that no matter where the pain comes from - self-infliction, other people's choices, sudden tragedy, or even the pain of being obedient - He uses it all. God doesn’t create all pain but He knows how to use all of it. That’s why James says “trials of MANY kinds”. Whatever it is, God has your answer.
Let’s go back to the Romans 8 statement of “more than conquerors”. God has built us to overcome and the way we do that is being spirit led. If you are being beaten up, I’d encourage you to take some time and pray to God and ask Him for the strategy to face it. And KEEP ASKING until you get it.
Don’t shrink back and become a victim. Wrestle in prayer and the promises of God. Allow it to build maturity inside of you, even while it seems like you are losing. God is working even if you don’t see it. God is working even if you don’t feel it.
Romans 8:31-32 says, “What, then, shall we say in response to these things (trials)? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
Keep swinging, hold on, and endure to the very end. You will see the fulfillment of God’s promises.
Chad Fagundes is Men and Outreach Pastor at Koinonia Church.