Spartacus of the Monkey Bars

As a kid I watched Spartacus, Ben Hur and other movies about heroic warriors.

Every recess in 6th grade, my friends and I imagined ourselves to be mighty heroes facing our foes in bloody battle. They sat leering and jeering atop the monkey bars, taunting us who were about to mount our attack. With a shout like the Confederate army, we’d rush the monkey bars and try to get from one end to the other, swinging and grasping for handholds while those atop the monkey bars ripped and tore at our fingers trying to make us fall.

Sometimes we’d swing like Tarzan from the center rungs or hang like an orangutan with one hand gripping the side. We would grab frantically for the next handhold, with our enemies prying us loose from our current one. We’d battle our way across, desperately fighting to hold on with calloused, blistered hands. Most of the time we would get only partway before the defenders ripped our fingers off the bars and we’d plummet into the abyss. But when we did manage to succeed in getting across, what triumph, what victory, what glory!

Christians daily fight a life and death battle called “the good fight of faith.” We battle to reach the goal of knowing and becoming like Christ, but we have evil foes feverishly and furiously trying to prevent us. We too must grasp and fight to hold onto the handholds God has given us – his wonderful promises.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature. 2 Peter 1:3-4

God has granted his children hundreds of wonderful promises which Jesus purchased for us by his shed blood – “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him” (2 Co 1:20). God’s word is a treasure trove of promises in Christ to comfort, strengthen, guide, and protect us. Promises that God will draw near to us, forgive us, cleanse us, fill us with joy, keep us, transform and produce fruit in us.

But we must dig these nuggets out of Scripture, and ask God to fulfill them. Then we must fight to trust God and believe them despite our circumstances. We must cling by faith to the handholds of God’s promises, despite the enemy’s efforts to pry our fingers loose by his lies. When Satan says God has abandoned you, counter with “Jesus said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you'” (Heb 13:5). When the devil says you’ve sinned too greatly to be forgiven say, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn 1:9). When all looks hopeless declare “Light dawns in the darkness for the upright” (Ps 112:4).

God’s Word is chock full of promises to bless you. Ferret them out and hold them fast. Memorize them. Ask God to fulfill them. Quote them. Thank God for them.

To help you memorize God’s promises, I put together a series of 10 CDs of Scriptures set word for word to music, including the references, called “Hide the Word.” I’d love to give you one as a gift. Just email me your name and address at hidetheword@forevergratefulmusic.com and I’ll mail you one. If you like you can check out the Scriptures on each CD at  ForeverGratefulMusic.com and request a specific CD.

Mark Altrogge

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.

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