Everybody gets knocked down, but it’s how fast we get back up that counts! Just don’t stay down for too long; it’s harder to get back up when you’ve gotten comfortable down in the pit! And you can even forget how to stand if you’ve been down too long!
2 Cor 4:8-9: “We may be troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.
I want us to think about: “cast down, but not destroyed.” Phillips is excellent here: “We may be knocked down but we are never knocked out.” The Living Bible has it: “We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.” Now those words express the exact thought and meaning of what the Apostle Paul is trying to get across to us. Paul was knocked to the ground many tymes, but he was never permanently grounded. Through all the trials, struggles and failures God always through Christ gave him the strength to get up and get back in the race.
It is interesting to note the contrast between Paul’s OUTWARD CIRCUMSTANCES and INWARD COMFORT. Outwardly “troubled on every side,” inwardly “not distressed.” Outwardly “perplexed,” but inwardly “not in despair.” Outwardly “persecuted,” but inwardly “not forsaken.” Outwardly “cast down,” but inwardly “not destroyed.” As with Paul so with us. When faced with defeat, we too can have the inner strength through Christ to turn failure into victory.
In the sport of boxing a boxer can be considered technically knocked out, if a boxer is knocked down, and unable to get up to his feet and gain his balance and composure before the referee counts to 10. If and when he gets to his feet, he’s given a standing 8 count. If the referee feels that although the fighter is on his feet but he’s in no condition to continue the fight, the referee will stop the fight, and the boxer is considered technically knocked out. Then there’s the three knock down rule.
The book of Proverbs says a righteous man falls seven tymes and rises up again. It is good to know that no matter how many tymes we get knocked down, we can get back up again. And the good thing is we may not have our full balance and composure, but just the mere effort of us trying to get up, grabs God immediate attention. The Bible teaches us that it’s in our weakest state that God’s strength is made perfect. And because of this promise, God always shows up in our weakest moments. Every tyme we’re knocked down in life by some tribulation, some disappointment, some heart break, or by trials, and even the storms of life, we are not distressed.
Through Christ you can get up again and go on. As someone has put it: “Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.” When we are at our worst, God is at His best. When we are down, God is up. When we can’t, God can. When we are at rock bottom, God begins to work. It’s true! Look at the record. Adam was down, but God lifted him. Jacob was down, but God lifted him. Joseph was down, but God lifted him. Moses was down, but God lifted him. David was down, but God lifted him. Samson was down, but God lifted him. Peter was down, but God lifted him. The whole history of mankind testifies to the fact that God is the great LIFTER. He is the great FIXER. He fixes broken hearts, broken hopes, broken homes and broken health.
We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our corner; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. We may feel hedged in on every side and troubles and oppressions may be present in every way, but we are not crushed. God knows how much we can bear. Perhaps today you might be feeling perplexed which simply means confused bewildered and cannot seem to find a way out. Despair means to be hopeless. Or maybe you are being persecuted; harassed in a way that causes suffering because of principles or religious beliefs. There are many who are forsaken or forgotten about.
God never promised us a life free from troubles. Like a good boxing match we are going to take some punches. We must also learn to defend ourselves by arming ourselves with the Word of God. Not just quoting the word but having faith in God and his promises. Paul reminded us in our scripture today that though we may be at the end of our rope, we are never at the end of hope. Our perishable bodies are subject to sin and suffering. But God never abandons us. Because Christ won victory over death, we have eternal life. All our risks, humiliations and trials are opportunities for Christ to demonstrate his power and presence through us.
When life knocks you down, remember you are more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus, so get back up again. If God be for us who can be against us? Yes, I may get knocked down, but thank God I am not knocked out. *reprint