Over the past 7 weeks, I have lost just shy of 20 pounds. That’s averaging a little under 3 lbs. per week. Slow and steady wins the race. I have changed the way I eat, the way I live, my outlook on life and my future. Honestly, I am proud of that. One of my favorite ways to exercise is riding my bicycle. Last year, I purchased my first bike that wasn’t a “Walmart special.” Now, I hop on the bike, start my workout on my Map my ride app, and get moving. Love this app. It is great at tracking workouts and keeping me motivated. I even get a weekly email with great tips on meals and workouts. I subscribe to a lot of email newsletters, and this is one of the best.
But, last week, something caught my eye at the bottom of one of those emails. It wasn’t an interesting meal or a new exercise tip I haven’t tried. It was an ad for Under Armour™. Under Armour sponsors (created?) the Map my fitness line of apps. So, an ad for their brand is pretty common. Yet, this one jumped off the page at me because of one tiny detail.
There, printed on one of the T-shirts they were promoting, was the phrase, “I can do all things.” It was the last thing I expected to see on an Under Armour shirt. Why? This is a quote directly from a well-known Bible verse. Not something you see everyday on a national brand. My curiosity spiked, and I immediately went online. The back was blank. Those were the only words on that shirt: “I can do all things.” Under Armour was missing a critical piece of the puzzle. It was the same piece of the puzzle that former UFC fighter, Jon Jones, seemed to forget altogether.
I can do all things… No you can’t
Here’s the hard truth. You can’t do all things. I know that brands like Under Armour, Nike, and Reebok want you to feel like you are indestructible when you put on their clothing or wear a pair of their shoes. But you aren’t. “I can do all things.” Really?
Can you fly?
Can you beat Michael Jordan? Lebron?
Can you play in the NFL?
Can you breathe in space?
Can you walk on water?
Heal the sick?
Raise the dead?
See, it’s easy to list a million things that we are incapable of doing. And that’s ok. We are human. We are frail and finite. I am not all-powerful or all-knowing. I have limitations. And so do you.
The epic fall of Jon Jones
I will admit, this one hurt. I don’t get too starry-eyed over professional athletes or movie stars. Sure, I love watching Andrew Luck on Sunday, but meeting him wouldn’t change my life (unless he married my sister. Then it would TOTALLY change my life! Stacy????) And I feel strongly that movie stars should make movies rather than standing in front of the United Nations to critique them on their foreign policies. You made a great movie that I can now buy at Target for $9.99. I don’t think that qualifies you for legislation. Sorry. Done with the soapbox.
But Jon Jones was the man. The youngest title holder in UFC history and was setting records for how many times he had defended his belt. He was open about his faith. He wasn’t shy about the fact that he was a Christian. In a world where “christian” means “less-than” or second-rate, here was a guy operating at the highest levels of his field. And he was taking the name of Jesus with him.
I was in love.
But, then Jon made some not-so-stellar decisions. He let his pride get in the way, refused help, and it just got worse. He was stripped of his title and has been banned from the UFC. It is unclear if he will ever be back. It’s heartbreaking. My heart aches for him and his family. And my heart aches for the damage it has caused to those that looked up to him.
One thing that you couldn’t miss out on Jon Jones was one, large, tattoo he had on his chest. Actually, he had very few tattoos, so this one was extremely prominent. There, on the right side of his chest was a giant Philippians 4:13.
What Jon Jones forgot
I cannot pass judgement on Jon. I don’t know what he was thinking or why he did what he did. I don’t know what led him down this path or caused him to make these decisions. But, I have spoken to a lot of people who have made some pretty epic mistakes. And I have had my own epic failure in my life. So, I have been inside the mind of people (and myself) who are on this destructive path. So, I have an idea of what went wrong.
Philippians 4:13 was clearly an important verse to Jon. It was engraved on his chest. I am sure this was the verse he lived by.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” -Philippians 4:13
So, what was the problem? I believe Jon Jones started living his life according to the first part of this verse, but was forgetting the second. Like Under Armour, Jon believed, “I can do all things.” But here is the problem. We can’t leave out the most important ingredient!
The power of this verse comes at the end: through Christ who strengthens me.
That is the ONLY way this verse works. Without Christ, there a lot of things we can’t do. Like Jon Jones, many of us live our lives believing that we can do “all things.” Maybe you don’t think you can fly. But you interpret this verse another way. “I can do whatever I want.” This is a common view among many Christians. Hey, we have grace. I’m cool. You’re cool. We’re all cool! The problem with that line of thinking is that it takes Jesus out of the equation.
We can do all things.
Once we take Jesus out of the picture, bad things start to happen. Our pride begins to rise at record levels. And failure, surely, is on its way.
I don’t fault Under Armour for putting this on their shirt. They are not a Christian company, and I firmly believe that we, as Christians, cannot force our values on those that do not follow Jesus. But when I say this T-shirt, I was reminded of critical principle that Christians must remember, and I believe that Jon Jones forgot.
You CAN do ALL things… THROUGH CHRIST!
So, go live your life. Dare great things. Risk great things. Accomplish great things.
Just do it through the power of Jesus, not yourself.