Friday, November 20, 2009

Little Black Boxing Gloves

I have little black boxing gloves hanging in my bedroom as a reminder that on this side of glory, there is a fight we're to be engaged in, the fight of faith, the fight to run with endurance the race set before us when so many paths posing as easier, funner, safer, richer, etc. tempt us to turn away from the grace laden "Jerusalem" road that has a cross before a crown.  One glove has the reference 1 Corinthians 9:16-27 written on it...verse 26b says "Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air."

My question this morning as I found myself "doing my exercises" at a lazy pace, was:  Am I really fighting or am I just going through motions that make it appear that I am fighting?  How's that for a brutally honest question?

I'm reading the book of Job this week.  I love the book of Job!  I chewed on some of the imagery of chapter 28 and compared it to fighting while I was working out...Job talks about how men take risks and work hard in dangerous, creepy caves to find gold and other precious things

Questions came to my mind:
*  How many miners stop mining after they find a nugget or two?  How many fighters think the battle is over after they've poked at their opponent a few times?  Am I still digging and fighting?

* Don't miners work harder after finding one nugget with the hope of finding more nearby? Job moves on to talk about wisdom as fearing the Lord...a miner digs to find little pieces of creation which cannot compare with the infinitely more valuable worth of Wisdom...what kind of effort do I exert in growing in my knowledge of and devotion to God? 

*  Don't fighters "go for the kill" when they see that their attempts are having an impact on their enemy? Job also tells us "to depart from evil is understanding" often do I try to make peace with my flesh by gratifying it (thinking foolishly that it would be appeased, rather than believing the truth that what you nourish grows stronger)?  Does a fighter make peace with his opponent in the ring or does he give all his effort to knocking him down and keeping him down?

*  Based on the premise that we seek what we value, does the use of time and resources in my own life regularly demonstrate a hunger for God, a thirst for His righteousness, a desire to know Him and make much of Him in every area of life? 

This morning I was moved again to ask God for His mercy, and to thank Him for it in the same breath as I picked up the pace in my exercises by His grace.  Honestly, I think my beginning exercise pace reflects my "going through the motions is enough" mentality as of late. It is by God's grace alone that I am not a completely white-washed tomb or worse. 

Is a miner content to walk through caves without a desire to gain treasure?  NO!  But how often am I like such a miner who walks through a cave, maybe even swinging a pick, but without effort to work for what is valuable?

Here is a cursory look at the daily To Do List:
* Bible reading - check ( I may not be able to tell you what I read, but I took the time to scan my eyes over the black marks on the page)

* Exercise - check (the pace may have been so easy that there will be little or no benefit, but I took the time to do them, isn't that what counts?)

* Various labors - check (may have been cranky with the kids, disrespectful to my husband, but the dishes got done and the laundry is put away)

Ouch...There is none who do good, no not one...oh Lord, thank you for Your mercies which are new every morning.  Thank You for Your grace, which is sufficient every day.  It is time to put the gloves back on again.

Yes, we have a fight to fight and I want to beat more than air.  I want to become more and more like Jesus and put to death the deeds of my flesh.  I read recently on a blog that a 90 year old was encouraging someone with the truth that whatever we're dealing with right now, these are momentary afflictions...she said "the first 100 years are the hardest."  I liked that!  The road of faith may feel long, but truly this life is a vapor and eternity is stretched out before us with the promise from God that both now and then, He will be with us.  For now we have tears, we have to fight, we have to run, we have to be miners...but one day, we will see Jesus face to face and the tears will be dried and we'll have rest and joy which right now we cannot even fathom fully.

I've asked my family to bury me with those little black boxing gloves.  REALLY.  Not because I want to take them with me, as if I could or would want to, but because when God takes me home the battle ends and it's symbol can be buried right along with me.  The reference on the second glove is Hebrews 4...there is a day of rest coming!   A day when the fight ends!  At the end of the fight, I want to be the one still standing. 

All my hope is banked in the One who promised to complete the good work He has begun in me.


  1. Thank you sooo much for your post! I love the song going through the motions...but do not apply when needed - EVERYDAY!

  2. I, too, am looking with anticipation when this fight here is over and I can truly rest, and ironically, begin the work of everlasting praise, unhindered by this decaying flesh...