Get Back in the Fight
by Tim Clinton & Max Davis
When Roberto Duran stepped into the ring for a highly anticipated rematch against Sugar Ray Leonard on November 25, 1980, he was the World Welterweight Champion. Known as one of the most dedicated, intense warriors in the ring, Duran had defeated Leonard by a razor-thin margin to capture the world title just six months earlier.
The fight lived up to all the hype with both boxers coming out aggressively, with great confidence. Popular and funny, Sugar Ray was overwhelmingly the crowd’s favorite. With arguably the fastest hands in boxing, his smooth style and psychological tactics continued in the ring with a lot of dancing, taunting, and laughing at his opponent in a continued effort to unravel him. Even though Sugar Ray had been able to land consistent jabs and uppercuts, at the end of the 7th round he was only leading by a small margin of 68-66, 68-66, and 67-66 on the judge’s scorecards. Duran was behind but was certainly not out. Then, in the 8th round, Duran stunned the boxing world. After taking a right uppercut from Sugar Ray, he turned to the referee and said, “No más,” meaning “no more” in Spanish. Duran went to his corner and ended the fight. It was the first time in nearly twenty years that a reigning champion had voluntarily surrendered his title. Apparently, Sugar Ray’s strategy had paid off. Duran’s trainer, Ray Arcel was so upset he yelled, “That’s it! I’ve had it. This is terrible. I’ve handled thousands of fighters and never had anyone quit on me!” Freddie Brown, Duran’s co-trainer said, “I was shocked!”
Just like a champion boxer, if you’re a Christ follower, you’re engaged in the fight of your life against a very real opponent, one who would love to knock you out. Yet this enemy knows that with God’s Spirit inside of you he can’t knock you out, so instead, he attempts to defy and disengage you so you will lose heart and give up the fight. But here’s the deal—the stakes in your fight aren’t for a multimillion dollar purse and a championship belt. No. They’re much higher. It’s a fight for your soul, your life, your family, and for everything you hold dear.
After eight rounds of punches and jeers from Sugar Ray Leonard, the champion inside Roberto Duran died. He lost his vision of himself and quit the fight even when it meant forfeiting the title. But guess what? After disengaging from the fight for some nine years, in the face of heavy criticism and doubt, Duran made an astonishing comeback to win the World Boxing Council world title! He chose to get back into the fight! Duran became one the few boxers who continued to fight with great success into his fifties.
You may be a wounded warrior. You’re still in the fight, but staggering. If that’s you, it’s time to get your feet planted, your eyes refocused, and attack. If you’re disengaged from the fight and are on the verge of giving up, then it’s time to climb back into the ring! God wants to empower you for your comeback. But you must be intentional. Anything in life with lasting value you’ll have to fight for. Nehemiah 4:14 urges us to “…Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your houses.”
God wants to IGNITE your faith! And that’s what the Ignite Your Faith devotional is all about. As long as you’re still breathing, it’s not too late to win! So get back in the fight and finish strong!
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