A word from Dr. Robert Estes … I have a file of some old devotions, newsletter articles, sermons seeds, etc. Today, these would be on the web as blogs, Facebook articles, Tweets, or done up artistically for IG or Pinterest. Me, I have them as a simple document. So, I would like to have a new post that is done occasionally – Throw Back Thursday. These will be from several sources – but today it is from the late Dr. Robert Estes.
His newsletter was called ‘Estes Excogitations’. … yeah, I too had to look up that word when I first read it. So here is one from the 80s …
In This Corner, The Apostle Paul
The “sport” of professional boxing is in trouble. In early December media celebrity Howard Cossell, erstwhile touter of ring events, decried their brutality and the promoters’ sleaziness. Reforms better be in the wind.
Boxing has been with us for many rounds. “Pugilist,” “pugnacious” and similar words are from the ancient Bible term. The early Greek verb meant “to fight with the fists.” We would appropriately translate it “to box,” or “to fist fight.”
In the Septuagint translation we find the word used:
Exodus 21:18 – “And if men strive together, and one smite another… with the fist….”
Isaiah 58:4 – “Behold, you fast for strife…; and to smite with the fist…”
Boxing was popular in New Testament days. To find it used as an illustration of spiritual truth is not surprising. Paul fancied himself a boxer (in the spiritual realm). “So fight I, not as one that beateth the air” (1 Corinthians 9:26 – KJV). The New International Version renders: “I do not fight like a man shadow boxing.”
Several lessons can be drawn from the Apostle’s word picture:
1. Paul wanted his spiritual life to succeed. He was not a sloppy tank fighter consistently missing his opponent, winging into empty air. He hit his foe with stinging blows.
2. Neither did he want to be a boxer who never fought a real match. Spending all his time in the gym pounding a bag was not his desire. Training was important, but you did not win until you climbed into the ring and fought.
3. Paul was a serious fighter. Spirituality to him was not a matter of cute shuffling and jabbing the ozone. Serious confrontations developed and enemies had to be mastered.
4. The veteran missionary knew his targets. Life was not aimless arm swinging. First Corinthians 9:27 reveals that one target of his spiritual fists was his own body. The body had to be his slave. Spirit must rule matter in a Christian champion. Every area of his life was under control. Nothing could be allowed to master him but Jesus.
The bottom line is: strong personal discipline is necessary for spiritual victory.
How about it, fellow fighters? Are you landing stunning blows to your carnal nature, bringing self-centeredness under control? Put self down for a ten-count through Spirit-guided personal discipline.
The bottom line is:
strong personal discipline is necessary for spiritual victory.
Special thanks to Jill Christy Lengel who typed these from older newsletters.