The Fight

The Fight

Northern Ireland has a new world champion. Last night Belfast born Carl Frampton outpointed Spain’s Kiko Martinez in front of a sell out crowd of 16,000 in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter. For many the fight will have brought back memories from the mid 1980s when Barry McGuigan (Frampton’s manager) secured his own world title to the unforgettable strains of ‘Danny Boy’. The fact that Carl is a former pupil of Glengormley High School has heightened local interest in his victory, with the Newtownabbey Times having given full coverage to the fight build up in last week’s paper.

Boxing is big business, but boxing is also an extremely tough sport. The focus, the hours of training,  the discipline and sheer guts required to succeed in this sport are immense.

With all this in mind it’s fascinating to think that when the Bible writers were looking for a metaphor (a picture image) to describe the Christian life one of the images they laid hold of was that of ‘a fight’. In 1 Timothy 6 vs 12 the apostle Paul writing to a younger Christian leader (Timothy) encourages him to ‘Fight the good fight’. What Paul had in mind wasn’t a literal fight (no gloves required!) rather he is talking about what verse 12 goes on to describe as the ‘fight of faith’.

‘Faith’ in the Christian context is an active word, used to describe what it is to live with daily confidence in Jesus Christ. To have, and to hold, a conviction that Jesus Christ not only died upon a cross but that he rose again. It is a word that urges us on to love God, to love our neighbours, to love our enemies, to be people of service and peace in the communities in which we live.

Watching a champion fighter succeed in the ring reminds us that pressing on to the end is not easy, but it will (one day) be worth it. Paul himself looked forward to such a day, a day when it could be said of him ‘I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.’ (2 Timothy 4 vs 7).