November 16, 2017
Volume 21, Number 39
You might say that Charlie Fry is a lucky fellow. He was surfing this past Monday in Australia when he was attacked by a shark. But more than luck was involved; he fought back. He aimed a punch on the nose of the shark, and that was enough to fend it off.
Fry, who is a physician, gives credit to professional surfer Mick Fanning for his escape. Fanning survived a similar shark attack in 2015 by punching the attacker. When Fry saw the shark aiming for him he quickly thought, “Just do what Fanning did.” It was a good thing that the amateur surfer had studied the techniques of the pro.
There are Americans who today will attempt to land a punch on their enemy’s nose. Today is the annual Great American Smokeout, a time for smokers to pull their last drag and free themselves from a leading cause of deaths in our nation. It will take courage, but we wish these folks the best as they get ready to punch their sharks.
What about those of us who don’t smoke? We each have a dangerous foe we need to fight off. Here’s how the apostle Paul described our situation: “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” (Romans 6:16). Sin, the apostle affirmed, is man’s greatest foe.
But how do we “punch” sin? It often blindsides us, catching us unaware. It also comes in the form of things we find pleasurable or exciting. How can we fight off something we want to do?
Let’s learn a lesson from Charlie Fry: study how the Master fought off sin. We have a vivid description of that battle in Matthew 4. Three times the ultimate shark circled Jesus and aimed directly at His heart. All three times Jesus fought back until finally the devil slithered away.
How exactly did Jesus land a punch on Satan? Look at the words repeated in Matthew 4:4,7, and 10: “It is written …” Jesus knew Scripture because He had devoted Himself to studying it (see Luke 2:49). He put His confidence in the words of Psalm 119:11: “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”
We live in shark-infested waters: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). But we have help in our fight: “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21).
Study the Master. Learn how to land a convincing punch on Satan’s nose!
Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.
Copyright, 2017, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).
“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “Tim@GraceMine.org” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.
Permission to reproduce and/or use the messages for noncommercial purposes is freely granted provided the messages are not altered.