Game changers. Those things that completely and radically change the outcome or the direction. We were informed late Friday that Muhammed Ali had passed away. Ali was certainly a game changer, regardless of where you fell on the spectrum of Ali. He had staunch fans and people who didn't care for him (to put it mildly), yet he was a figure you knew. His boxing matches were unparalleled in the sport of boxing. His life was not without controversy. He moved from Clay to Ali in a decision to become a Muslim, protesting a war he did not agree with. For that, he sat out during the prime of his career because he refused the draft. He was also one of the first athletes to openly tout his skills, using his verbal skills to speak of himself in the first person and poetically: "I am Muhammed Ali, don't tread on me." His interviews with Howard Cosell, himself a man of controversy, were the stuff of legend.
I was struck in a rebroadcast of an interview done in the 1960s of something that Ali said. "Cassius Clay was my slave name. Muhammed Ali is my free name," as he went on to speak of his new freedom as a proclamation of his new found faith. As followers of Christ, we should certainly know that is true because of the true nature of Christ, son of God and man, who came to earth to suffer, die, and then rise to overcome sin, Satan and death. We are baptized into Christ's name, leaving our "slave name" behind and becoming new creations.
Paul says it this way in Romans: "Thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification." (6:17-19)
Christ is our true freedom. We pray we take this gospel message to those who seek to put the old Adam behind them. We pray that the Spirit work through us to help transform the lives of people as they hear and respond to the gospel message. We pray that we seek opportunities to deliver this message to people.
Hope Men's Ministry