God is looking for men with one trait...The Eye Of The Tiger!!! In this article, we will look at how we regain the Eye Of The Tiger in our spiritual lives.
Eye of the Tiger, Rock! Eye of the Tiger!
Words immortalized by Apollo Creed in one of my favorite movies, Rocky III. Recently, I was watching this movie…well, watching isn’t really the right term to use. I was building a website, the movie was playing in the background while I worked. I have to admit, it was just background noise to me while I focused on doing a complete website redesign for the New Year. But at one point, one line caught my ear that, even though I saw the movie over 20 times, I had never picked up on before. Before I share the line with you, let me set up the background for those deprived few who have never saw the movie.
Rocky Balboa has just won his rematch against Apollo Creed. Rocky is now the World Champion and has proven to himself and everyone else that “he ain’t a bum”. Rocky and Adrian go from being poor and struggling to a life of wealth and luxury.
The movie shows Rocky going through some title defenses, all against inferior opponents he can beat pretty handily. It shows him spending money, driving fancy cars, being on the cover of Magazines, all the things that come with fame and fortune. Meanwhile, parallel to all these clips, it shows a new boxer, Clubber Lang played by Mr. T, training, working hard, and having an attitude while he struggles to get what Rocky already has.
Eventually, Rocky and Clubber Lang have a confrontation at the ceremony dedicating the Rocky statue in Philadelphia. Rocky makes an announcement that he is going to retire from boxing, and Clubber Lang explodes with anger that he won’t get to fight Rocky. After a heated argument, Rocky declares he will do one last fight against Clubber.
This infuriates Rocky’s manager, Mickey. Mickey knew the truth. He knew Rocky was outmatched. He knew Rocky had fought soft fights. He knew Rocky wasn’t the same fighter he used to be. He confronts Rocky and tells him he can’t win against Clubber. It is in this scene that the line I never heard before caught my ear.
When asked why he didn’t think he could win, Mick replied, “Well, Rock, let's put it this way. Now, three years ago you was supernatural. You was hard and you was nasty and you had this cast-iron jaw, but then the worst thing happened to you, that could happen to any fighter. You got civilized.”
As soon as I heard this line, I heard the voice of God say to me, “Too many of my men are like Rocky. They started their walk with Me with passion and fire. They wanted Me more than they wanted their next breath. They spent time with Me, learning what I was like and how they could become like Me. Then the worst thing happened to them that can happen to a Christian…they got civilized. They got complacent. Christianity became going to church, doing things for me, and they lost their passion to be with Me.”
Complacent. It was what happened to Rocky. He didn’t walk away from being a boxer, he didn’t retire. He still went through the motions, but he didn’t have the same hunger and passion that he had before. He was comfortable, complacent. He was out of shape. In the end, he got defeated by Clubber Lang.
Too many of God’s men are in the same place spiritually. We haven’t walked away from God. We haven’t abandoned our faith. But we don’t have the same passion and hunger we use to have. We lost the Eye of the Tiger. We lost our passion.
I am not trying to discourage or condemn anyone, but I am trying to shake the sleeping Tiger inside of us all before we face the defeat coming our way. Just like with Rocky, being complacent is a dangerous place to be. Why do I say that? Well, let’s look at Revelation 3 to see what God says about complacent Christians.
14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.
This passage is God speaking to a church named the Laodicean church. This church was a pivotal church in the early church. The other churches depended on them for spiritual strength. At one time they were on fire as a church and in their own personal lives. They were a mighty force of believers growing in their walk with God.
But as often happens over time, they started getting civilized. They became less of a group of on-fire believers and more of a church institution. God described them as neither hot or cold. They didn’t abandon their faith or walk away, but they weren’t passionate believers anymore either. They were in a dangerous place, as we see in the remainder of the passage.
16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.
Ouch! These words from God sting more than Clubber Lungs right cross! Being complacent, lukewarm, “civilized” is a huge deal to God. He doesn’t like it! It disgusts Him! It makes Him want to vomit or spit it out! We need to read these words as seriously as they are written. When we realize we are complacent in our walk with God, only one thing can be done.
Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.
“Be Zealous and Repent”. When I hear these words, I can’t help but think about Rocky again. He fought Clubber Lang and he was defeated. But he didn’t stay down thanks to his old opponent-now-turned-friend, Apollo Creed. You see, Apollo knew what Mick had tried to tell Rocky was true. He knew Rocky had become complacent. He had to get back to the mindset of a fighter. He had to regain the Eye of the Tiger!
Apollo took Rocky back to his old gym to be around young, hungry boxers. He showed Rocky the passion in them to win, to be great, to become the best. Apollo said “See that look in their eyes, Rock? You gotta get that look back, Rock. Eye of the Tiger, man.”
Eye of the Tiger! Men, we need to get that look back! EYE OF THE TIGER! We need the old passion back! We need to remember where we came from and how God set us free. We have to remember the mess we were. We need to recall the wretched future that awaited us before God set us free. Eye of the Tiger!
We need to remember the feeling of gratitude and love we felt to God in the beginning. We need to reclaim the same passion for God we had in the start! Eye of the Tiger men, Eye of the Tiger!
We have to regain the fervor for the things of God we once had. We have to reclaim our desire to spend time with Him. Like Rocky, we have to get back into training. We have to work hard. We have to sweat and labor to reclaim our fire for God. EYE OF THE TIGER!
We can do it! Like Rocky, we can regain our fire. We can overcome complacency. We can rebuild our relationship. We can be victorious! How do we do it?
The old fashioned way! Through hard work, perseverance and sacrifice. Rocky had to retrain. He had to develop a new training regimen. He had to try different approaches and methods. He had to endure blood, sweat and tears to regain his crown. But in the end, HE was the one with the Eye of the Tiger, and he was the one who stood victorious!
We start by doing what God said to do…repent. Repent of losing our fire. Repent of becoming complacent and settling for a religion instead of a relationship. Repent of getting comfortable. Ask God to forgive you and to help you overcome.
Next, we need to be zealous. Webster’s dictionary defines zealous as “having a strong feeling of interest and enthusiasm that makes someone very eager or determined to do something”. We have to go at it with 110% of our being. We need radical change. We need to pursue God and His ways with a passion and fervor that surpasses what we had when we first got saved. We need to give it all we have. Eye of the Tiger!
Finally, God says to overcome. He doesn’t say to try and change, He says DO IT! Get the Eye of the Tiger back. Reach the goal. Finish the job. Do what He called you to do. Don’t just watch the game from the sidelines, get in there and do it! Overcome, gain the victory over the complacency, win!
Guys, the world has enough civilized Christians in the world, and to be honest, they have zero respect for them. Let’s give them something to respect. Let’s give the younger men of God something to emulate. Get the eye of the tiger. Get on fire. Guys, we can change the world. We can win! It all starts when we throw of complacency and get back in the fight!
Eye of the Tiger men, Eye of the Tiger!