Rocky Balboa – the Italian Stallion – is a fictional movie character created by Sylvester Stallone who has inspired audiences for over forty years. Nancy and I saw the first Rocky movie in 1977. We watched it pay-per-view in our hotel room at
Seeing that movie impacted me in a profound way. Years later, in the 2006 film “Rocky Balboa,” Stallone’s character shares something with his son that is true both inside and outside the boxing ring: “It ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”
In James 1:3 we are told that trials and the testing of our faith produce perseverance. The Greek word used for perseverance (hupomone) means to stay under, to endure. It carries with it the idea of standing up under pressure and choosing to not run away. It sounds a little like Rocky Balboa’s advice to his son, doesn’t it?
While Rocky is an inspiration to many, the ultimate example of endurance didn’t come from a boxer in a ring but from a man in a garden whose sweat appeared like drops of blood – a man who chose to hold fast and not run from the suffering he knew was coming, a man who said to His Father, “Not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
Are you feeling under pressure today? Perhaps your finances are a mess. Or, maybe an important relationship is in serious trouble. Has the doctor given you some disturbing news? Is your spiritual life on life-support? Whatever it is, you feel like you’ve been knocked down again and again. Well, I have great news! Christ, through his Spirit, can give you the strength to stand up and get back in the fight. Persevere! “That’s how winning is done!”
Let’s hear and heed the wisdom of Solomon who tells us, “For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes” (Proverbs 24:16).
Hang tough, my friends! That’s how winning is done.