“PUT UP YOUR ‘DUKES’!”
“Get up, sleeper, and rise up from the dead and the Messiah will shine on you” (Ephesians 5:14)
People fight for a thousand things in this life: health, healing, work, success, recreation, entertainment, family. But when it comes to Jesus, eternal life, heaven or hell? Well, a gesture of presumption is about it: “No need to tell ME. I already know all about that”. Now, how will that statement sit with you… in hell? Please, I say this solely out of love for you my friend.
Presumption is a fatal blinding to the reality in your own life. Tormented inside, yet men insist, “Oh I’m fine”. This attitude is “boxing the air”. You never engage the very thing destroying your life. How does such a conundrum exist?
Please, I beg you, listen to me. Multitudes fall victim to a fraudulent teaching of “grace” ignorant to the effective fight with sin. Satan is real. He has “designed” this “speculation” to justify self-comfort and keep men from truth. So Christians wrongly presume salvation doesn’t require an all out fight. The Scriptures clearly warn otherwise: “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling….His grace was in vain…I worked more than any…yet not I but God’s grace..striving with His strength that works powerfully in me.” (Phil.2:12/1 Cor.15:10/Col.1:28).
It is understandable, when facing this world, to be afraid to get in “the boxing ring” and fight for Jesus. But the reward is boundless joy, both now, and for eternity. A man named Jacob received the immediate reward of finding God’s destiny. In his fight to know God, he changed into a new man: “Israel” (Gen.32:24). Individual fulfillment is not a sentimental pipe dream. It is the effectual experience of fighting to engage Jesus in the accomplishment of His salvation (Rm.6:6/ Phil.3:8/ Gal.2:20/2 Tim.2:11).
When a man decides to “fight” for Jesus he goes beyond himself; beyond obligation to heart desire. He is not looking for excuses but eternal identity in the living Christ (Eph.3:18-20). So, as your loving brother, I exhort you to put up your fists in a fighting position. Catch the vision of a life yet waiting to discover. There is something you don’t yet know. Fight for it. Can you say within yourself “I know nothing Lord. Help me.”? My precious brother or sister, you are under siege by a fierce unseen enemy ‘out for blood’. Humble yourself and He will exalt you (Mt.11:25/1 Pt.5:6). Satan can push you around, punish you, bust you in the mouth, break your jaw and knock out your teeth. This description is allegorical for some, but for many it is literal. It could be by an accident, situation or person. If you don’t fight, Satan will destroy you (Jnn.10:10).
It begins with mere thoughts, ignorant to the ways of sin. One thought leads to another and suddenly you do something, or find yourself in circumstances, out of your control. If you think I’m nuts, you may already be “down for the ten count’. Cuz like how often do you wake up in the morning with a deep sense of wanting to just give up? How often do you think “No one cares about ME. No one knows MY burden. I’m all alone. Does anything matter?” Do these thoughts come to you while by aliens while on some distant planet? No. They come in the ebb and flow of every day earthly life. They are common. Every human being on earth is tormented by these feelings of self-pity and deep alienation. Of course, they won’t admit it. I feel it every day. It is not weird. It is not our fault or personality. I would say it is not about losing your mind, but in reality, this is precisely about reclaiming your mind.
I know this sounds strange, but our body is reeling, every moment of every day, from the “hit” Adam took 10,000 years ago. He was “punch drunk” by sin. Man was created perfect but sin defiled every pore of our humanity, because, through procreation, Adam’s sin renders all mankind depraved. At any moment we become vexed in inexplicable sadness. We are lonely and afraid. Selfishness saturates every cell of our composition. It permeates our mind with crazy and bizarre thinking. We blame bad circumstances but the truth is all problems derive from our body of human nature being separated from our Creator. This world says it is a ‘personality disorder’ and turn to prescription or illegal drugs, booze, ‘therapy’ and, of course, religion. No one identifies sin because no one understands it.
Ego was born when Eve ate from the tree. The “I am” in man defied the great “I AM THAT I AM”. We went from living in eternity to a 70 yr. span. Bam. Our inner core is frazzled. Adam’s sin diminished our composition from being God-consciousness to self-consciousness. We suppress and deny the inner despair and misery sin implanted in the center of our human existence. No surgery can remove it. No medicine can treat it. No prayer or ritual can stop our vulnerability to the lying voices Satan channels in our mind through sin.
Problems are not resolved by changing outward stuff, but changing the way we deal with our inner state. The debilitating effects of sin can shake you to your core, ruin and linger in your life, until you deal with it. As I’ve said a thousand times, sin is not a mere act. It is what WE ARE in our human nature; sin…ners. It never goes away. I am more aware of sin today, than I ever was 50 yrs. ago before I received the light of Jesus. It requires an attitude of humility not a sinners prayer or confessional.
I will spend my life fighting to explain, to anyone who will listen, how to effectively win the fight with this enemy within, inherited from our forefather Adam. Pride leads every man’s ship into the fierce storms of our own darkness. Christians, today, think that Bible knowledge somehow spiritualizes their body into a Christian state. As if a “sinners prayer” zaps their wicked flesh into a “better” state than other human beings. So they are perplexed when the complexities of sin invade their lives.
“SPECULATIONS” – THE DEEP SPACE OF DARKNESS-(2 Cor.10:3-5)
Jesus says “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Mt. 6:22-23).
Just think about. If what you identify as “light” is actually the presumption of light, then everything you identify as truth, is deception. The seriousness of such reality demands the fight for repentance. True repentance results in accurate discernment between light and darkness and eliminates the conundrum of presumption. The Bible defines sin as foolishness, lawlessness, unbelief and unrighteousness (Rm.14:23/1 Jn.5:17.Pr.24:9/Jn.16:9). But how is it that God gives us a specific and detailed picture of sin and darkness? The witness and discernment of the Holy Spirit defines sin. Jesus says “I will give you…the Spirit of truth…and He will convict (expose) us…concerning sin” (Read: John 14:17,26,16:8,13).
Repentance is metanoia- change of mind. When the Holy Spirit “cuts and divides” our heart we must change our attitude and motives (Heb.4:12/Ps.51:17). Repentance involves the fight to “cast down speculations (imaginations) raised up against” the knowledge of God Who reveals Himself to us in 3 ways to which we are accountable: 1) creation(John 14:9/Rom.1:20/2 Cor.10:3-5), 2 )Scriptures and 3) and the revelation of the living Jesus. Speculations and imaginations are packages of lies. They are our opponent in “the boxing ring” of our mind. We must directly identify, engage and counter the “punches” of lies with truths in God’s Word.
Our mental capacity was designed to process and establish perfect peace. So it will do its part, if we do ours. It is a mechanism divinely created into “hemispheres” designed to regulate, filter and define the light from the darkness. Sin is imbedded in our mind and draws us into darkness, evil, self-obsession, self-pity and rebellion. Repentance is the conscious fight to receive Light and gain control. This is the process by which we recover our mind from darkness (Rm.12:2).
The idea of “space” (i.e.open unoccupied area or room) helps us understand that sin is not merely a one time action but a conscious existence in our daily perception that emanates from within. Our eye sees life out of whatever occupies our deep space. Is it darkness or is it light? This space determines the standard of our intelligence, creativity, will power, love, humor, depth of experience, memory recall and all related operations of our human capacity. Into what is our mind immersed? The scope of our individual choice is an outcome of our desire. The source of our space, sin or Jesus, determines how we function as a person. Simply put, a self-centered obsession exposes the dominance of sin and consciousness of darkness. To destroy the stronghold of sin is dependent on your desire for Jesus.
The term “Deep Space” is a speculation by scientists of an hypothesis that unknown galaxies exist beyond our skies. They speak of it as an eerie darkness, void of time and oxygen. It is freezing cold. It is an utter vacuum. Yet so heavy it will crush you. Sin is like this darkness. It is a realm of the unknown and undefined space so deep it can swallow us into a warp of misery so that we lose track of all time. Suddenly years have gone by and such dread can be a “knockout”.
Self-pity can consume your consciousness to the extent that you have no other awareness but “Poor me”. It is the reverberation of Adam so long ago vexed in his “new” state of sin. Sin is dark “space” where despair, regret, loneliness and unexplainable sadness pull us into unknown corridors of darkness. Scientists say a “black hole” pulls everything around it into a vortex with a power and speed beyond measure. Fear, anger and pain can be like this. We feel we can do nothing to stop it. But this is just another lie. Sin causes insurmountable damage to each person on earth yet remains hidden and undefined by this world. Never hear about it on the news or in a government report. It hides as the culprit of massive destruction. It gets away with murder.
Satan channels lie-formulas of speculations, proven effective throughout generations; thought patterns, that subtly permeate the human mind with dark space. There is no physical or practical way to identify sin. It can not be caught like an animal. It can not be shown on a screen or subject to scientific observation. The 10 Commandments expose it but do not supply the power over it. The law merely defines our lack, so if it is eliminated, so too is the obligation to fulfill it (Romans 4:15). The Holy Spirit offers the space of freedom (2 Cor.4:17). It is like the wind (Jn.3:8). He provides the sight in which to “see” sin and understand what happened on the cross so as to live free in the access to His power (Rm.8:1-4, 3:20/Gal.2:16,21). This is sacred space (Ps.91:2/2 Cor.19:13-15).
REPLACING DARK SPACE
WITH SACRED SPACE
loneliness into solitude (Jn.14:23).
The power of individual choice can not be overstated. What do you see when you stand in a field? There are the trees, grass, sky and maybe a hill. Can you be there? What is your consciousness? Do you see depression, grief, regret and a dim future that occupies your presence?
To defeat an adversary it is up to you to drive the fight. Can you, will you, identify what you see and engage any unseen obstacles that block your line of sight? The power of the fight is determined by your desire to engage reality and win.
When I ran Cross-Country in High School I had absolutely no desire to do so because I had no hope of ever winning. I ran “aimlessly”. The only reason I ran cross-country was because I had been shot in the eye with a B-B gun the previous year and could have gone blind if I continued to play football. I had to wait a year to see if my eye healed. So I ran only as an athletic outlet.
I loved football so much that the next year I defied my eye doctor and went back to playing football. I was driven by desire. Desire comes when you see that your fight has reward. When you engage reality, all cylinders fire. When you do what you thought you couldn’t do, you want to do more. You want to be what God shows you you can be. For this reason Pauls said;
“I discipline (Greek- bruise-buffet-beat black and blue) my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified” (1 Cor.9:26-27).
When I first read this, I saw the pride in my disdain; “Oh Paul, don’t say that! You are a man of God”. But the greatness of Paul was not seen in his travels or miracles but in the profound humility of his transparency over sin. Paul feared presumption. He did not fight based on his accomplishments but the accomplishments of Jesus.
“I have been crucified” Paul said, and I “buffet” my sinful body to make it my slave. Obviously, he wasn’t speaking in physical terms but explaining the depth of his fight against sin. He was fighting himself, not the air. Who admits such stuff? One who is intimately aware that sin and hell are real. He was not stupid and presumptious.
After he said “I do the very thing I hate” he defies human logic by concluding it with “yet it is not I but sin which dwells in me” (Rm.7:19ff). In other words, Paul was “crucified with Christ” and could “see”, by the Spirit, that sin no longer was his essential identity (Gal.2:20). The cross is not feel-good notion. It literally kills the subjectivity of sin (ego) and renders it an objective non-issue (1 Cor.1:18).
Jesus didn’t die for ten trillion individual acts of evil because, when He died in the very flesh of man, as a Substitute for man, he bore God’s “hit” of wrath upon the nature of Adam. By death, Jesus KILLED sin, for all time. One perfect Man for all sinful men. The 2nd Adam of the resurrection race replaced the 1st Adam of the sinful race (Rm.5:10). When you are born again into His new world, the domain of light floods the dark space with the sacred space of His Presence. Light will open your eyes to sin (Jn.3:3-8, 8:23-24,32-26/1 Jn.3:9).
LIGHT AND DARKNESS MEET IN THE PERSON OF JESUS. The cross was the ultimate depiction of reality. The darkness killed Him but the light raised Him from the dead. So we can go to Him in any moment of stillness and find compassion. He can expose and bare any darkness and release the power of His light (Luke 22:53). As the Lion of Judah, Jesus devoured darkness as the nothingness it is to such great Light.
I inhabit a body of sin but but when light invaded my world, I could “SEE” the kingdom (Jn.3:6,18:36). Beyond darkness. The grass and Notre Dame stadium was the same but I became a spirit-man into the domain of eternal light (1 Cor.15:45). The Holy Spirit is like the oxygen of God. He clears up our “brain fog”. He inhabits our void. He is the escape from the darkness within us. The darkness doesn’t disappear but the Light makes all things clear. One problem. One answer.
I can not cage the monster of sin. I had to die to “see” it. The reward is my destiny as a son in the fellowship in His divine love. I escape the vortex of dark space, not by striving, but by my “seeing” the light of Jesus. I desire to fight in the light. I love my plight. My desire is love from Him to give to you. It is the love God manifested 2000 yrs ago (Rm.5:8).
My friend, if you do nothing, nothing will happen. If you don’t change your mind, nothing will happen. The fight of repentance is always the gateway to new revelation. At first thought, these things may sound complicated. They are not. You are fully aware that the basic step to truth starts in your innermost being. It is “where” Jesus promises to meet you (inner space)(Ps.51:6-10). It is the step of opening your mouth to Jesus, not in a passive lame “prayer”, but in the fight of your heart. Jesus said His power to face the cross came out of His desire to please the Father (Heb. 10:7). He promises to put this heart in us (Heb.10:15-22).
Faith working through love is the voyage that takes you beyond the limitations of selfish-obsession. My bald head will never again grow its once blonde hair. Rats! But my born again spirit is growing in His multi-dimensional eternal expanding love.Jesus says to tell everyone the answer is “Repentance (change of mind) for forgiveness” (Lk.24:47/Acts 3:19). There was an adulterous lady who met Jesus and her consciousness was altered by simply being in the Presence of His light. Her space became His (John 8:14)
When you fight for heartfelt repentance, you will discover His sacred place of solitude is always LEARNING (Jn.14:23). Jesus says “learn from Me” (Mt.11:27ff/Eph.5:10). The greatness of Paul was not all the letters he wrote but the letter of his character for all to read displayed in the treasures of a humility so as to write:
“I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air” (1 Cor. 9:26).
Jesus came to earth, conquered every tendency of Adam-nature, and promises to enlighten us with HIS DIVINE FIGHT. No, it is not easy, but it is within our mental capacity to become more than we are. No one is exempt from the barrage of sin. Everyone suffers. Everyone, at some time, wants to hide. We all know the human curl of the fetal position. But the Spirit of truth neutralizes all speculations with truth; that we are NOT all alone; that we are NOT destined for misery and gloom, etc.
My friend, you ARE in “the ring” whether you want to be or not. Defeat is not a mere possibility. It is inevitable if you box “like one beating the air”. You must fight.
Paul feared the tragic consequences of hypocrisy so much he developed this visual description; “boxing the air”. It is making the motions of boxing without hitting the enemy. It is appearing to do something while doing nothing. It is pretending to be a Christian in the pride of sinful flesh. It is christian words and smile with no heart for Jesus. It is self-righteousness. You can see it if you want to. You can change if you desire to. Boxing the air has no value. No correlation to reality. No triumph over the enemy. It is religion.
The proof of “boxing the air” is the dark space of aimlessness. It is the consistency of hypocrisy. It is floating in deep space with no tether to reality. It is the lack of fellowship with the living Jesus. It is the lack of fulfillment promised in the living waters of Jesus (John 7:37). Salvation is the outcome of our FIGHT FOR THE LIGHT to be in Jesus. Paul says “I have fought the good fight of faith” (2 Tim . 4:7).
Paul says “…everyone exercises control in everything…but we do it to win a crown that will never fade…” (1 Cor. 9:26).
Please my friend. You made it all the way to the end of this, so you have more than a little fight. Receive God’s “light”. Increase the personal fight. Understand Scriptures such as John 9:39-41 and Romans 4 (esp. v15,17-18). Learn how to learn. Counter the speculations he puts in your mind (Eph. 6:12). Be a warrior. You can plant seeds of light into the dark space of a desperate man.
Over a hundred thousand people overdosed on drugs last year. Suicide became a viable alternative to existence. Do you care? 17 veterans kill themselves each day. Why? Will you fight for someone else? Venture out of your comfort zone to plant a garden in dark space? They are blinded by the darkness.
My family and I have fought our way through the darkness in countless cities throughout the world. We have joyfully beheld the Endeavor of our salvation. He is the living Jesus. If I can help you it would be my privilege. If you’d like to help us we sure would appreciate it. We work with all our heart to reach countless lost men and women in the love of the living Jesus. We have PayPal account with the Email address of: firstname.lastname@example.org