Adonis Creed, the son of Apollo Creed, who was the biggest nemesis of famed fictional boxer, Rocky Balboa, came on the scene last year in the movie, Creed, and sought to solidify his own legacy in the boxing arena. I have to say Creed was one of my favorite films for 2015 – probably because I have yet to see the Star Wars movie. Whether you were apart of Team Creed or Team Rocky back in the 70s, as if I were even alive, is irrelevant. That’s not what this post is about; it’s not even about boxing. The topic at hand is, however, about one of the most important fights of your life, and mine. Our fight for joy.
So what does yet another sequel to the Rocky movie empire have to do with joy and the gospel? While watching the new movie, Creed (2015), Rocky Balboa is giving the son of his old friend a few pointers and recites some remarkable words of advice to the young boxer,
“You see this guy staring back at you? That’s your toughest opponent. I believe that’s true in the ring and I think that’s true in life.” – Rocky Balboa
The power behind this quote struck something inside of me. Many times we like to blame our sin, failures or inconveniences on outside circumstances – “if only I made a little more money”, “if only I were married”, “if only I were single”, “if only I had children”, “if only I didn’t have children”, “if only I hadn’t been raised in this home”, “if only my church had the ministries I like”, “if only the music was better”, “if only we had earlier church services”, “if only I had a house of my own” (might be getting a little personal there!).
If only, if only, if only….the list goes on and on.
But what about “if only” we chose joy?
In reality, one of our greatest enemies and roadblocks, is ourselves. The passions of our flesh are deep desires that seek to be fulfilled outside of God’s design. We chase things, hoping they will bring us meaning, but in reality they destroy us.
We can assume that our life would be of more value “if only [insert desire]”, but nothing outside of the gospel will fix our identity crisis, bring us biblical joy, or complete satisfaction.
“Dissatisfaction is a created state” – Tracy Timberlake
I’m not advocating that we choose joy, because I’ve mastered it for myself and corroborated 10 easy steps to help you along the way [insert cheesy infomercial smile here], but I have tasted and seen the results of choosing joy in the midst of uncomfortable circumstances. The result? An ever-growing love to proclaim the excellencies of Christ, no matter the season.
It’s easy to become desensitized and numb, but there’s a joy to be had from overcoming sin. Every time we say ‘yes’ to our passions and selfish desires, we are sacrificing joy. We must fight our own desires and strive to keep our identity rooted in the cross.
We do not choose joy, because it makes us feel good about ourselves, we choose joy because by doing so, we are imitating what Christ did, and therefore walking in our intended purpose.
“fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2)
The fight for joy won’t get easier and you may not win every fight, but I encourage you to cling to the Gospel; it is what guards and fuels our joy.
So, back to this movie! Adonis, spends most of the plot seeking to run away from the legacy his father left behind in order to create his own, instead of embracing it. This is the same thing we do when we seek the security of everything but the cross for our joy and security. Y’all, the fight has already been won. You can rest assured in that truth. Choose joy.
“One step at a time. One punch at a time. One round at a time.” – Rocky
❤ LySaundra Janeé