by Jeff Strite

This content is part of a series.

Rocky - Preparing for the Fight (1 of 4)
Series: Rocky
Jeff Strite
Matthew 16:13-28

OPEN: I read once the story of a young black man in the ghettos. He was fortunate in that he had both of his parents, and they struggled to make ends meet. But for his birthday that year they had scraped together enough money to pay for a brand new bicycle. A few days later someone stole it. Enraged, the boy went looking for the thief and in the process of his search he encountered a policeman. The policeman asked him what he was going to do if he caught the boy who stole it and the boy said that he didn't know.

It was obvious to the cop that if this boy ever did find the person who stole his bike, he might not only lose the bike but be beaten terribly in any fight that ensued, so he asked the boy if he would like to go the gym with him. The boy agreed and they went together to a nearby sports center where the policeman began teaching the boy how to box.

That boy was named Cassius Clay. Later he changed his name to Mohammed Ali and became one of the greatest fighters to ever enter the ring. But while Mohammed Ali was similar to many of the fighters of that time - he worked out just like they did, he boxed, and sparred and ran for miles in preparation for every fight - he had one distinguishing difference that gave him the edge whenever he put on his gloves.

Ali said, ''To this day I never found my bike, but every time I got in the ring, I'd look across at my opponent and say to myself, that's the guy who stole my bike!''

APPLY: What Ali was saying was this: He was prepared long before he stepped into the ring. He (like other prize fighters) had always prepared for the fight physically for weeks ahead of time, but what gave him his cutting edge was this: he had prepared himself mentally long before he stepped into the ring.

I. As we read Matthew 16 today, it helps to realize that (for the last couple of years) Jesus has been training His disciples for a fight t ...

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