How To Win The Ultimate Fight
High quality martial arts training can produce a tremendous level of confidence, satisfaction, and physical fitness – probably more so than any other athletic endeavor. Character can be developed through rigorous training, and one big test is to put it all on the line, step into the cage, and face an opponent who is “looking to take your head off” or dislocate your joints. Before taking this challenge, you need to get into the best shape of your life. You need to develop a high level of offensive and defensive skills in muay thai, boxing, takedowns, submissions, and ground and pound. You need to have all these “arrows in your quiver” so you can pull them out at precisely the right moment in order to dominate your opponent and win the fight.
As daunting as this may sound, we all face other types of fights that are much more significant. When questioned about fighting, Renzo Gracie once said “life is a fight ….believe me, even getting out of bed in the morning…,” but in all seriousness - we face a multitude of challenges during our time on this planet. Perhaps you’ve lost your job or fear losing it, and have all kinds of bills to pay. Problems with your mate can tear you down to the ground and rip your guts inside out, or maybe you or someone you love just got terrible news from the doctor. Drugs or alcohol can threaten to disrupt your life, or perhaps your kids are getting out of control and leaving you at your wits end. The list is endless, and people all around you are leading lives of quiet (or maybe not so quiet) desperation while contending with their struggles. Our struggles and fights don’t end. As soon as one may be resolving another seems to take its place until eventually, the ultimate struggle against death is finally lost. While I can’t personally help you deal your struggles and fights, I’d like refer you to someone who can. His name is Jesus.
You see, God created mankind in His own image because He wanted to have real fellowship with us. He gave us a free will because He didn’t want us to be programmed robots. It’s incredible to think that the creator of the universe wants to have an intimate relationship with us. Perhaps you don’t believe in God – thinking it’s too far fetched. Well, one way or the other you have to believe in something that is “way out there.” For example, it takes some crazy kind of faith to believe that the entire universe and its perfect order came about by chance and a huge explosion. That some little cell evolved on planet earth and developed into millions of species, and that man, with his vast intelligence evolved out of apes – which are still here today. Consider the miracle of how the human brain works, how the heart and internal organs do their jobs, how children are produced and born. How about the ecological balance of nature? The deeper you look, the more far fetched it is to fathom any possibility other than a supreme being who created all this.
One way that God chose to have fellowship with us, so we can know Him, was by giving us mankind’s ownership manual – The Bible. If God could create the entire universe, He can certainly see to it that His instructions for mankind are precisely written down by carefully selected men over time, and assembled into His word - The Bible. In it, He shows us that He is a Holy God, and that He wants us to become His children, and be united with Him forever. In order to become His children and fulfill His plan for us, we need to be holy as well, and He defined “Holy” by giving us the 10 commandments as a measuring stick. You see, although God loves us and wants to have eternal fellowship with us - our sin separates us from Him. If you’ve ever broken one of the 10 commandments you are guilty – regardless of how “good” a person you are. The Bible tells us that although our mortal bodies are temporary, our spirits are eternal, and when we die we will either spend eternity with God in heaven or in hell – a place that wasn’t designed for mankind, and is more terrible than words can describe. The big problem is that our sin separates us from God.
However, God did something amazing for us – which became the turning point in world history, from which time is still measured to this day. God – the all powerful creator of the universe decided to come to planet earth in the form of a human being – His son: Jesus, the Christ. Jesus was the only perfect man who never sinned (because He is God), and came to this world for the sole purpose of providing a way for us to become permanently united with God. Jesus revealed to us who God is, and He chose to pay the penalty for the sins of all mankind Himself by suffering and dying on the cross – although He was completely innocent. (Watch Mel Gibson’s "The Passion of the Christ" to get an understanding of what Jesus went through for you.) Jesus died on the cross and was raised to life again after three days – just as the Bible predicted that He would.
The Bible tells us that “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9 NIV.) This is a gift from God, and all you have to do is ask for it. Religion can’t do it, being a “good person” won’t work either. Only receiving Jesus as Lord will bring you into fellowship with God - forever. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or how bad you may feel about yourself. Jesus loves you and wants you to know Him. As a matter of fact, when Jesus was here on earth the only people he condemned in public were the “religious” leaders of the day. He spent his time with common folks, prostitutes, sinners, and the infirm. He healed and had compassion on everyone who came to him asking for help, and the Bible tells us that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
In addition to all this, after Jesus went back to heaven He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell inside of all who receive Him as Lord until He returns again. The Holy Spirit – the same power that raised Jesus from the dead – will counsel you, empower you, and guide you through life. Once you receive Jesus as Lord you will have a direct connection to God. You don’t need a priest or anyone else. The Bible tells us that Jesus alone intercedes for you, and that “if you acknowledge Him in all your ways He will direct your paths.” This means that regardless of life’s problems and seeming impossibilities, you can always count on the creator of the universe to love you, and do what is best for you. There is nothing else on earth that will give you this type of confidence, peace, and fulfillment – not MMA prowess, good looks, money, or fame.
If you want to receive the “peace of God that transcends all understanding,” then you need to take the following steps:
1.) Come before God with a simple prayer - something like this: “Jesus, I believe that you are the son of God, that you died on the cross for my sins, and that you rose again. Please come into my life. I want to receive you as my Lord and savior. I ask you to forgive me of my sins (specifically name things you’ve done wrong), and I thank you for accepting me just as I am right now. Please help me to know you better, and I want you to direct my life from this moment forward. I ask you this in the name of Jesus. Amen.
2.) Get a Bible (if you don’t already have one) and make time to read from it every day. There are many translations available that are easier to read such as the New Living Bible, New International Version, New King James, The Message, etc. Start by reading the book of John, as well as the other four gospels that give different accounts of Jesus’ ministry.
3.) Attend a local church, but only one that believes that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God from cover to cover. It’s important that your church leaders don’t only “talk the talk” but “walk the walk.” God will reveal Himself more fully to you through His word – the Bible, through the Holy Spirit, and through other pastors and teachers. There are also many good television ministries that can be found on networks such as TBN, Daystar, Angel, and many others. I highly recommend watching Bible teachers such as Charles Stanley, Joyce Meyer, John Hagee, Ron Carpenter, The 700 Club (Pat Robertson), Jentezen Franklin, and there are many others.
Once you’ve taken these important steps, you can expect to see God do incredible things in your life. It’s no coincidence that there is a big Christian movement in Mixed Martial Arts. Once you’ve committed yourself to the Lord, He will keep His covenant with you, and He is the only one you can completely count on – no matter what. Here are some examples of His promises to you:
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
“…in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” Malachi 3:6
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only gotten son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
These are just the tip of the iceberg. I can tell you from my own personal experience that these promises are true. Once you commit to the Lord, He will prove Himself to you. You just have to take the first step toward Him in faith. My wish is that you give God the opportunity to bless you beyond anything your mind can comprehend. You have nothing to lose but everything to gain.