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Extremely violent sports, such as MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) and UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) are greatly increasing in popularity. Many people, Christians and non-Christians alike, struggle ...
Absolutely these sports can be done by Christians with a good spirit. Do not fight as if boxing the air. If you are glorifying God whether you win or lose, if nothing else you are provided a platform during each fight, from which to thank the Lord for getting you there. There is absolutely nothing wrong with such sport. Let's not forget Genesis 32:22-32 where God and Jacob wrestle for fun. Violence is not anti-Christian in and of itself. Men being masculine and befitting traits of a warrior is a good thing. Christ said live by the sword die by the sword, in a situation where certainly the apostles would have been hunted down had they fought. Just verses before that Christ also said, "If you don't have sword, sell your cloak and buy one." When filled with zeal, Christ drove merchants from the temple using a scourge of cords, which is quite painful btw. More brutal than MMA I'd say. We should not dishonor the warriors from the Hebrew tribes by pretending we are SO civil today that we no longer relate. Christ is not a hippie, he promotes making good choices. There is a time for all things, and fighting is certainly appropriate in the setting of sport.
I would like to focus on one thing S. Michael Houdmann said, "Gridiron football, for example, can be very violent." When in high school, Scottsdale High School, I played football all 4 years, 3 on the Varsity Squad, and in my senior year was defense squad captain as I loved tackling people hard. Before I was saved, I kicked off ("the most dangerous play of the game", according to some) and loved being the first man downfield at full speed to try to ram helmets with the first opponent who tried to stop me. My goal was to knock him out and out of the game so we'd have a better chance of winning! Not the best attitude. But after I got saved, I loved the true story of the Christian football player who offered his hand to help lift up any "enemy player"/opponent" he knocked over! Of course, it helps immensely to be disciplined—to do the very best I could in both practices and real games—and to be faithful to attend all practices and games. And until salvation, all I lived for was sports, girls, and grades. After salvation, I tried/try to live for the Savior. The last Dr. Warren Wiersbe said Athletics are symbols of Discipline in the Christian life (1 Tim. 4:7-8; 1 Cor. 9:25-27; Heb. 5:14) in his good book, Index of Biblical Images. Also Faithfulness is the meaning in the reference to Athletics in 2 Tim. 4:7-8. GAMES Foot races, 1 Cor. 9:24, 26; Gal. 2:2; Phil. 2:16; Heb. 12:1. Gladiatorial, 1 Cor. 4:9; 9:26; 15:32; 2 Tim. 4:7. Figurative Of the Christian life, 1 Cor. 9:24, 26; Gal. 5:7; Phil. 2:16; 3:14; Heb. 12:1. The judge was selected for his spotless integrity; (2 Timothy 4:8) his office was to decide any disputes, (Colossians 3:15 rule<—literally, "sit as umpire"; the same Greek verb simple, as appears compounded (Col 2:18). The false teacher, as a self-constituted umpire, defrauds you of your prize; but if the peace of Christ be your umpire ruling in your hearts, your reward is sure. "Let the peace of Christ act as umpire when anger, envy, and such passions arise; and restrain them." Let not those passions give the award, so that you should be swayed by them, but let Christ's peace be the decider of everything. --) and to give the prize, (1 Corinthians 9:24; Philippians 3:14) consisting of a crown, (2 Timothy 2:6; 4:8) of leaves of wild olive at the Olympic games, and of pine, or at one period ivy, at the Isthmian games. St. Paul alludes to two only out of the five contests, boxing and running, more frequently to the latter. The Course. Foot-races and other contests took place in an enclosure 606 feet 9 inches in length, called a stadium. This is once referred to in a passage in the context of that just mentioned, which almost seems based on observation: "They that run in a race-course (RVm, Greek stadion) run all" (1 Cor 9:24). The Foot-race. The words for "run" and "race" (Greek trecho -- τρέχω and dromos -- δρόμος) sometimes clearly, and in other cases probably, allude to foot-races at the games. For obvious references compare 1 Cor 9:24; Heb 12:1; 2 Tim 4:7; for possible references see Acts 13:25; 20:24; Rom 9:16; Gal 2:2; 5:7; Phil 2:16; 2 Thess 3:1. The second of these passages (Heb 12:1) alludes to the necessity for the greatest possible reduction of weight, and for steady concentration of effort. All the passages would remind the first readers of the single-course and double-course foot-races of the games.
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