When I was a teenager I fell in love with the first Rocky movie. I cannot recall how many times I saw the film at a local one dollar cinema. The story for those who have not seen it, follows a down and out boxer who finds love and a personal sense of redemption while being chosen to box the heavyweight champion of the world. Before the big fight Rocky realizes that there is no way that he can beat the champ, Apollo Creed. His hopes boil down to one simple thought-if I can just survive, if I can just go the distance, if I can simply be standing at the end of the fight, then I will know that I am not just another bum from the neighborhood. No one had ever gone the distance with Creed, and if he can, then he will view it as a victory.
A couple of years later, Rocky was back with Rocky II. The story continued with Rocky in retirement from fighting, getting married, having his wife become pregnant, etc. Rocky finds out that the money he made fighting is quickly gone and hopes of making it in commercials do not pan out. The opportunity comes for a rematch with the champ. While bypassing some of the plot elements, let me instead focus on a shift in Rocky’s thinking. While the theme of the first film was survive, the theme of the second film is win! His wife tells him, I want you to win! He wears a shirt with the words, Win Rocky Win! This change of heart and thinking changes the way that he fights and he is ultimately rewarded with a victory.
Now, what in the world does this have to do with us and with a Reformed Baptist blog? Simply this, we need to go from one to two. In recent years we have seen far too many of our ranks fall away. We have seen pastors and laymen caught in terrible crimes and gross sins. We have been humbled. At times this has produced in us a mentality that says, I just hope we make it. I simply want to survive. I want to go the distance and still be standing when the bell rings! If I can hold on while the world, the flesh, and the devil rages against me, if I can just stumble over the finish line, then that will be victory.
Dear friends, God calls us to do more than that. God has given us His armor, not only to stand in the evil day, but to advance. Our goal is not simply to hold our own and ensure that no territory is lost, it is rather to press on, to tear down strongholds, and to advance into enemy territory. The odds against us seem great, we seem to be so small and so frail! We have heaven on our side, a victorious King upon His throne, and His Spirit with us-Win, Christian, Win!