I have been involved in sports all of my life. My first love was baseball, then hockey. I tried my hand at football in High School and then switched to the soccer team. However, one of the sports that I was involved in confuses some people. It is a sport that I believe is one of the most difficult and takes the most physical endurance. Many of the sports that I pursued relied on other people and taught teamwork. This sport, however, reveals more about individuals and a person’s heart and will. Every year in High School we had to wrestle, Olympic Style or also called Roman-Greco style. Wrestling is a sport of extreme discipline. It is all about leverage and also technique. The physical demands extreme, its manno el manno. One on one warfare is what the practices and matches feel like. However, unless you understand wrestling it could be a little confusing. So here is a crash course in wrestling.
If you can put both shoulder blades on the mat you have scored a pin and the match is over.
There are 2 other main scoring options that take place once a person has been taken down.
With that short and simple explanation of how wrestling is scored, if you will allow me this morning I want to set up a backdrop against which we will move forward over the coming weeks. Today I just want to give you some thoughts before we dig into some accounts over the next two weeks from which we can learn some powerful truths!
You’re taken down. Shoulders on the mat. No way of escape seems available. Could it be that God is setting up reverse instead?
1. Everyone will suffer a takedown.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that there are more scoring opportunities when you are offensively minded. But what I learned in wrestling is that at some point everyone is going to suffer a takedown. It didn’t matter how strong or dominate a guy was at some point someone would come along who would take him off his feet. EVERYONE WILL SUFFER A TAKEDOWN
Some of us walk around acting like we are super Christians and that nothing can faze us. We never let anyone see us cry. We play like we are tough. But I came to tell you that everyone suffers a takedown at some point in their life. You might as well take off the mask and the tough guy act and own up to the fact that something in your life seems to always get the upper hand on you. Something seems to knock you off your feet every time. Something dominates you more times than not. Takedowns are part of life. They hurt. They are embarrassing. They are unsettling. They require recovery!
Some of you have endured some brutal takedowns. Some of you have gone through some things that have knocked you off your feet, but have also knocked the wind out of you. You are dazed, bewildered, and the room is spinning.
For some of you the doctor’s diagnosis sent you to the mat.
Maybe it has been the domination of an addiction that has put you face down wondering if you can ever recover.
However, what I want you to know is that that a reverse isn’t possible until there has first been a takedown! The takedown doesn’t have to be the last word in the matter. The takedown doesn’t have to be the final blow struck in the match.
There are 3 options after a takedown.
You can quit, lay there, give up and throw in the towel. I have seen that done before. In wrestling I have seen such a severe takedown that a person just lays there and refuses to try anything.
My fastest pin took place in under 20 seconds because I guy I took down gave up, it happened so quick.
Some people are great quitters. Every time there is any adversity or any pain they just cave in and give up. They are easy victims. They don’t fight back. They don’t do anything but roll over! I came to tell you to quit quitting! You can never win the battle or pass the test if you quit! The old statement that quitters never win is true in sports and true in your Christian walk.
Matthew 24:13 The Message
13 “Staying with it—that’s what God requires. Stay with it to the end. You won’t be sorry, and you’ll be saved.”
Don’t quit! Well my relationship is over . . . Don’t quit, keep fighting.
Well I guess I will always be sick… Don’t quit! Get up and keep trying.
I guess I will always make a “C”... Don’t quit! Study harder.
I guess I will never find a job... Don’t quit. Clean up and go to another interview.
You can try to get up and begin to look for an escape. One of the greatest promises in Scripture can be found in Corinthians.
1 Corinthians 10:13 which says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it.”
God never fails to provide an out. Even as devastating as the takedown may have been there is a way out. Sometimes we have to work to find it. No one ever escapes just lying there.
You can’t whine your way into an escape. You can’t cry your way into an escape.
You have to work your way into an opening to get out!
Rest assured God will provide a way of escape. We are assured that before there is ever a takedown a way of escape will accompany that shot. But sometimes I wonder if we have missed something. Some of us have such an escapist mentality that when we get in tough situation and have experienced something that has taken us off of our spiritual feet we just try to escape and run the other direction. Escape is great, but for the escape we only score 1 point!
But, there is a 3rd option! Again, I want to state loud and proud that I am thankful for a way of escape! But I am also glad that isn’t the only option! Perhaps God, while providing a way of escape, may also be positioning you to score a higher score of 2 points.
Could it be if you would just stay in the fight just a moment longer?
Could it be if you would just endure the pain and the misery in your relationship just one week longer?
Could it be if you were diligent in your work for one month longer?
Could it be that if you believed for help and leading one more day?
Could it be that God is trying to set you up for a reverse?
Perhaps your determination to escape is causing you to lose opportunities to score a reverse. Maybe, just maybe, God has wanted to give you the upper hand in the fight. Maybe you are close to dominating what has dominated you, but you escape instead.
God wants to turn it around. He wants to turn the table on what has been keeping you down! Don’t escape when a reverse is available! I am glad that we are guaranteed a way of escape!
How many of you know there are times when just getting out with your life is good enough?
I am even more thankful that we also have a God who can give us reversals too.
I am glad that there are times when God helps us to dominate what has dominated us!
I am glad that there are times when we get to destroy what destroys us.
I am thankful there are times we can turn the tables on the enemy and what was meant for harm is turned for our good.
I am thankful that we serve a God that can turn things around!
Anyone today ever experience a turn around?
Anyone ever witnessed God reversing the curse?
Anyone have a testimony of how something that was defeating you suddenly ends up under your feet?
A drug addiction that was crushing is now crushed.
An attitude that was defeating is now defeated.
God turns things around.
Don’t just look for an escape today. Look for a reverse! Let God turn the tables on the enemy. Listen to the promise of a reversing God!
Isaiah 54:17. . . KJV
No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.
Whether you can quote it from The Message or only know it from the KJV as “No weapon formed against me shall prosper . . . it won’t work!”
It means that we can come to the place where we think like Dan Gable. Dan Gable is a hall of fame wrestler and wrestling coach. In college his record was 181-1. He won an Olympic Gold Medal. Hear his mindset and make it your spiritual mantra
today . . . “I shoot, I score. He shoots, I score.”
If I get offensive with the devil I will score. If he gets offensive with me, I still score! I am looking for a reverse! Some of you need to get your mind right. Quit thinking about quitting. Stop running and looking for an escape! Begin to look for a reverse! It is time to beat up what’s been beating you up!
Everyone shout, “I need a reverse!” AMEN.