A good coach doesn’t let his prize fighter compete in a major bout without preparation. The fighter is trained in many different techniques, initially practising on various punching bags. But punching bags don’t punch back and so the coach has to arrange sparring partners so his fighter can apply and test learned skills before the big tournament.
As Christians, we are God’s prize fighters. Inevitably, we will face a ‘Goliath-challenge’, be it a person, an unpleasant circumstance or maybe the greatest test of all – prosperity. God, like any good coach, will do all in His power to prepare us. However, it is up to us whether or not we listen or turn up for training.
Learning and applying God’s Word (Biblical Truths) is our ‘punching bag’ stage of training. As we progress, God has to bring sparring partners into our lives so we can put into practice the spiritual techniques we have learnt. At times God allows bullies to enter our life at school, in the workplace, in the neighbourhood and even from the family for the purpose of spiritual sparring. Each is an opportunity sent from Heaven so we can strengthen our spiritual skills to overcome even greater challenges ahead of us.
King David dealt with bears and lions before he was ready to face Goliath. To each of us, God has sent unpleasant people and circumstances. If we cannot take on these sparring partners, we surely will be knocked-out when we stand face to face with the many powerful people and nasty circumstances of this world. We must remember, God has allowed every person and situation (especially unpleasant ones) to come into our lives for a very special purpose – spiritual growth and His eternal Glory. Keep in mind: The problem before us is never as great as the Power behind us. (1 Samuel 17:37)