(Jesus said) "Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come." Mark 13:33
In 1896, the welterweight boxing champion of the world, "Kid" McCoy, was fighting an opponent who was deaf.
McCoy wasted no time in taking advantage of the man's disadvantage. In the third round McCoy stepped back and indicated the bell had rung.
"Thank you so much," said the deaf opponent as he let down his guard.
Sadly, the bell hadn't rung at all.
As soon as the opponent let down his guard, McCoy knocked him out.
It occurs to me the world and the devil do much the same thing to us. They trick us into letting down our guard and then, when we're relaxed and unready, they clobber us with everything they've got.
Their disruptions, disadvantages, temptations and trials knock us down, and they certainly try to knock us out. Either way, it's unexpected and it hurts -- it hurts a lot.
That's why the Lord, who is always in our corner, has told His people to keep their guard up at all times. He knows we're in a fight that can be pretty dangerous. It's a fight He wants us to win.
Sadly, on our own, we can't win. Our sinful natures prove we're not strong enough to emerge victorious. It is for that reason the Heavenly Father sent His Son. Gently, He comes and sits in our corner. Bravely, He contends on our behalf. Sacrificially, He takes the blows that are aimed at us.
And having done all that for us, He victoriously conquers. He conquers and allows the victory to be credited to us.
This is why all of God's people need to give thanks but not for their own strength or prowess, not for their talents or gifts. Today we give thanks we have a Savior who gave Himself so we might have the final and ultimate victory listed as ours.
From a devotion originally written for "By the Way"
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, today I give thanks the great battles against evil have been fought for us by Your Son. Keep us ever mindful of His sacrifice and grant me the faithfulness to live as Your saved child. In the Name of Jesus, I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries