Shadowboxing

So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. – 1 Corinthians 9:26

photo credit: kizette via photopin cc

photo credit: kizette via photopin cc

When I came across this verse last week, it really struck me.  What is shadowboxing?  The dictionary defines it asto make the motions of attack and defense, as in boxing, as a training or conditioning procedure” or “to go through boxing motions without an opponent”.  The thought intrigued me… am I just shadowboxing?  Or do I run with purpose in every step?

Our Christianity isn’t a “dry run”!  We only get one chance at this life, and we are told that it is indeed a fight that we are in!  I want to be certain that I am fighting my true opponent, and to do that I need to understand who or what that is.  So often I find myself fighting against my temporary frustrations and affliction. 

I jab at my failing eyesight, pivot and kick at my pain, send a mean right hook to my lost dreams.  But each motion hits only air.  I am shadowboxing when I focus on these temporary enemies. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18) They are actually just distractions sent in by the real enemy to wear me down for the actual battle.  (1 Peter 5:8)  The true enemy is not something of this world, and I cannot fight evil by shadowboxing with these distractions, because they are not my true opponent.  (Ephesians 6:12)

So what can I change to be sure that I am running with purpose in every step?  The first thing that I can do is to recognize that although these things I battle are intense, they are not eternal.  That will help to refocus my mind onto the things with which I should be concerned.  Then I can put on the whole armor of God:
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” – Ephesians 6:14-17
Now I am ready.  And I need to do these things each day, not once for all time.  The battle rages on, and it is much bigger than the things that go wrong inside or beside me. 

 

Father, help me to see the eternal picture each day.  In that way, help me to focus beyond myself and discover how to run with purpose.  I want to run toward you!  In Jesus’ Name, Amen…

 


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Shelly

Be Led, Not Driven

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. – Romans 8:14

photo credit: B4bees via photopin cc

photo credit: B4bees via photopin cc

For years I have heard the old anecdote, “I will be led, but I will not be driven.”  It always makes me smile, and reminds me of my strength and independence.  But today I was admiring that phrase through a different lens.  Let’s look at it from God’s perspective.  Why would it be better to be led and not driven?

To be driven implies a sense of urgency.  I picture driving cattle, or chasing chickens into a coop; the animals rush about.  There is a sense of panic about their actions. No thought is required, and the thought is absent because of fear.  And there’s always a wildness in the eyes of anything being driven.

When I think about being led, I picture a shepherd with his sheep, or an owner calling the pet in from the outside.  Unless the subject is running toward his master in joy, there is no rushing about.  Instead of panic we find calm, hushed voices and quiet obedience.  Being led involves not only thought, but a conscious and willing choice on the part of the follower.  Instead of wildness in the eyes, we find hope and trust. 

So often in our busy day to day lives, we can be driven by things without even realizing it!  Driven by worry, driven by the world’s demands, driven by a sense of “not enough time”, driven by our desire to overcome our weaknesses, we can feel frantic and helpless.  Jesus wants to lead us out of that terrible and confusing mindset.  He wants to lead us with his voice alone, to a place that gives us hope and a refreshed spirit.  Will we be driven today, or will we be led?

 

Lord, help us today to listen for Your voice through the driving forces around us.  Help us to resist the temptation to rush about wildly.  We know we can be led by you to much higher places.  Thank you for your care for us, your followers.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen…


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Shelly