Sport Principle 25: See life as an opponent to beat

About the Sport Principle

Combat is a popular metaphor for describing any kind of conflict in life, whether physical or not. So, we may wrestle with our consciences as we get to grips with a problem. We often don’t realise we are borrowing grappling imagery as we try to gain the upper hand, and get on top of the situation. Persuasion can be arm-twisting until the awful truth suddenly hits us.

From wrestling to the boxing ring: we may have to take it on the chin, even though we can punch above our weight and box clever. In life, we might be dealt a severe blow or deem an unkind remark to be below the belt. We are on the ropes or even out for the count. We are floored by an awkward question or knocked out by a beautiful sunset. That same sunset may bring us to our knees. If we are not saved by the bell, we may be forced to throw in the towel

We may be thrown by an unexpected question, or caught on the back foot, and find ourselves fighting for our lives. We understand that young couples fall for each other, and if we don’t approve of the relationship, we may find ourselves saying things like: “she has a terrible hold on him.” So-and-so may be a scholarly heavyweight, but he is a social lightweight, and so on. 

As Mark Law rightly says in his brilliant judo book, ‘The Pyjama Game’: 

‘Sport may be a metaphor for the fight; the fight is a metaphor for life.’

Application to life

Life is a fight, until our dying day! But, as men of God, we are warriors, built for the fight. We know that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities and powers of this dark age. Sometimes, we just have to realise we are involved in a scrap, roll our sleeves up and get stuck in. Today, why not spend a few moments reflecting on how you can hit harder, move faster, think smarter than your opponent (remember he is unseen, but nonetheless real) in any given area – and beat that sucker into submission! Go toe to toe with him, look him in the eye and give him all you’ve got. Wrestle, grapple, kick, punch, throw, strangle, choke, use your elbow if necessary, or your head! He doesn’t play by the rules, so we need to be ready for anything and keep all our options open. Above all, know that you are not alone in this fight, all of heaven behind you, with all its resources at your disposal, and Jesus has already won the victory anyway – through his death on the Cross. We just get to be involved in the fight before the final victory at the end of time when Jesus wraps everything up. Now that’s a fight I want to be involved in!

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 

2 Timothy 4:7

Image Credit: Arisa Chattasa