Devotional- Romans Chapter 12- AJ Iovino

Posted: May 3, 2012 in Devotionals & Bible Studies
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Anthony Iovino September 2005

When I was a young boy, I often accompanied my father to a boxing gym where he trained and where many other men trained as prize fighters.  At this particular time there were several young fighters training for the Olympic Trials.  The gym was buzzing with sounds of jump ropes hitting the floor, speed bags smacking back and forth, heavy bags absorbing endless punches, boxers moving back and forth in front of mirrors, boxers sparring in the ring.  The smell of canvass and leather were very noticeable.  There were trainers shouting instructions to their fighters.  There was a seriousness in this place and my young eyes and ears were picking all this up.  It was totally amazing to me how these men were paying attention to every detail of their training regime.  As I sat down to watch the workouts, I noticed a banner on the wall above the ring that stated these words:




I remember just starring at this sign, absorbing everything it stated and then looking at those boxers in the gym applying each principle.  Working on their bodies by sparring, rope jumping, hitting the heavy bag and speed bags, practicing the timing of their punches against another bag suspended from the floor and the ceiling.  Each man listening carefully to their trainer.  Each man I now realize was trying to bring about a transformation by working his body in a methodical way.  I observed a strong sense of dedication of each fighter as they went through their respective training routines.  You could see the dedication on their faces and in their eyes.  The next thing that was evident was each fighters sacrifice.  Each man was giving up everything for a shot at the Olympics, a milestone that only a few will reach.  I was able to see these words on the wall being lived out before my eyes and it had an incredible impact on every sport or endeavor I have set out to accomplish

Today, years later I can still see that banner on the wall and the fighters applying the words to their lives through diligent training.  As a Born-Again Christian, I can see how these words I saw long ago on the wall of a boxing gym can be applied to the life of a believer in Jesus Christ.  If we look at Romans Chapter 12, we can see how these principles are applied to the life a believer.  In the very first verse The Apostle Paul tells us to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.  Paul instructs us not to conform to the pattern of this world, but to renew our minds.  This takes a tremendous amount of work on the part of the believer.  Just as the fighter in the gym was working hard at transforming his body and mind to become a contender for the Olympics, we as believers must work incredibly hard at renewing our minds and fill them with God’s Word.  This will enable us to transform ourselves to the likeness of Christ.  Yes, by becoming like Christ, (John 15:5), we train ourselves to walk as He walked and see the world as He did.

Looking at Romans 12:3-8, we can see that dedication to God’s Word brings about consistency and the ability to look deep within our hearts and see the great truths and promises of our savior.  Each of us will recognize how to best use the talents and gifts God has given us to best serve His Kingdom.  This enables us to say – “God, here I am, use me and the gifts you have given me to assist in building your kingdom”.  Just like each fighter diligently listening to the instructions of their trainer used his talents to put into action the words he was hearing.  Following these instructions to the letter would enable each fighter to develop the skills needed to win.

Now we come to sacrifice.  Paul instructs us to hate what is evil and love others above ourselves (Romans 12:9-10).  This sacrifice is helped along by the Holy Spirit living in us.  W are told to bless those who persecute us, live in harmony with one another and to be willing to associate with people of low position,  not to take revenge on others, but to leave room for God’s wrath.  Overcome evil with good.  Just like the fighter who sacrifices each day in the gym, not relying on his own abilities, but relying on his instinct, he will learn how to overcome any and all obstacles that stand in the way of him receiving a victory.  Though at the time all the pressures of training, working, devoting time to family and all the stresses of the world, he is still able to maintain his focus on the final victory.

We can see in the words which were hung upon the wall in that boxing gym many years ago- Work, Dedication and Sacrifice.  These words, put into action were able develop champions.  These same words can be seen in this important passage of scripture.  By applying these words to our daily walk with the Lord, we will be victorious no matter the situation, trials and struggles we face.

Romans 12

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