Beating the Air
“Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air” (1 Corinthians 9.26 NKJV).
When a fighter “beats the air,” she or he is merely warming up, practicing, working out and/or preparing for a fight. Anyone who has been in the ring before knows that shadowboxing is a lot different than engaging in an actual bout. There is no fear of being hurt, there is no fear of losing and there is no fear of humiliating oneself when simply beating the air. Shadowboxing alone has benefits, but it will never prepare a fighter for his or her fight if there isn’t an opponent. Fighters must have an adversary in the ring to learn, grow and win. As Christians, we are merely shadowboxing when we practice our Christian faith in the confines of our own comfort zone. In fact, if we don’t take our faith out into the world where we will receive blows, get knocked down and sometimes even knocked out, we will never grow as Christians. We might have great “spiritual form,” but we will be “spiritual wimps,” unable to withstand even the weakest of enemies. We have to get into the ring of faith, and take a stand for the Good News of Jesus Christ. Yes, we will get hurt. Yes, we may fall. But we will not stay down for long. Every bout we have along our spiritual walk makes us stronger and more victorious.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4.7 NIV).