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There is no media that anyone participates in or observes that is neutral. Everything must be filtered through God’s Word. Hold onto what is good and hate what is evil (Phil. 4:8-9, 2 Cor. 10:5). So, how does a Christian watch Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) unto the glory of God?
Don’t sin by…
1. Enjoying the violence. The Lord is who you should love, not the sin of violence. Whenever a fighter says that they want to break their opponent’s arm or “kill them,” we should not hope for the same things. Wanting bad things to happen to anyone in an unjust manner is evil.
2. Enjoying the physical pain of other human beings, for they are God’s image bearers. Michael Bisping drives me crazy! Whenever he was knocked out by Dan Henderson after running his mouth, it was tempting to rejoice over his pain. Although, it is not wicked to want one to win and one to lose, it is wicked to hope for the pain of another human being.
3. Thinking about putting your “enemies” or “boss” in an arm bar, triangle, or guillotine; or knocking them out with one punch. When you watch something that is violent, and you think “I want to do this to so and so…” you should repent and probably stop watching violent things! However, it must be noted that the problem is within you, not outside of you. Run to the cross!
4. Thinking that seeing a good fight is better than being with Christ. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying sports; however, whenever we had rather enjoy sports than go to heaven to be with Christ at this moment, sports are an idol in our lives. We must believe with Paul that to live is Christ, and to die is gain (Phil. 1:21).
Do enjoy the Lord through…
1. The physical giftedness of the athletes. All of these athletes were endowed by God with the gifts, abilities, etc. in order to participate in MMA with excellence. Their performances silently scream God’s existence and reveal His glory whether they verbally admit it or not.
2. The intellectual giftedness of the athletes. Frankie Edgar for example beat a bigger, stronger, more experienced B.J. Penn to win the lightweight title; but, he also defended this title in an even more impressive fashion. I had never seen B.J. Penn man-handled the way Edgar handled him in their second fight. Primarily, Edgar won because he executed a perfect game plan. This intellectual ability was given to him ultimately by God.
3. The “heart” and grit of the athletes. Anderson Silva, after losing at least 3 rounds to Chael Sonnen, pulled off a triangle choke for the win in the closing minutes of the 5th round even though he was gassed. The ability to continue on, to use every last bit of energy to pull out the win, was given to Anderson Silva by God while he was still in his mother’s womb. Grit and Heart cannot be taught or coached.
4. Recognizing man’s constant need for the gospel, and God’s provision for that need. Each of these fighters fight so that they can make money. As you witness the training, the sweating, the pain, be reminded that Christ died to conquer the results of the Fall, including difficult labor. As you see MMA fighters’ toil, and hear their constant mentioning of providing for their families, remember to always run to the cross of Christ. The reason why fighters must fight is because we are not in the Garden of Eden anymore. Christ however, the second Adam, came to restore all that Adam messed up (1 Cor. 15). Paradise (a Garden of infinite delight) is just around the corner for all those that repent and trust in Christ alone for their salvation. Enjoy the Lord through the gospel of Christ!
In conclusion, every time we watch MMA or any other sporting event, the ultimate goal should be to enjoy the Lord. The only way to enjoy the Lord is to recognize His fingerprints while discarding the Fall’s fingerprints. Praise be to God that the Fall’s fingerprints have been conquered, are being conquered, and will be conquered through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ!
What do you think?