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Faith & Film: "Creed III"

Creed III movie poster with Michael B. Jordan
Creed III movie poster with Michael B. Jordan

Creed III stars Michael B. Jordan in his recurring role as the protagonist, Adonis Creed. Creed III is also Michael B. Jordan’s directorial debut, and as an emerging filmmaker, I want to say that he did a phenomenal job at both acting and directing this movie, as he used so many different technical and visual aspects and camera angles that aren’t normally used in feature films. Tessa Thompson is back again in Creed III, as Adonis Creed’s wife, Bianca. This time, we are introduced to two new main characters: Jonathan Majors as the villain/antagonist Damian “Diamond Dame” Anderson, and Mila Davis-Kent as Amara Creed, the daughter of Adonis and Bianca.

From the beginning of Creed III, it is shown that Adonis Creed has been “the underdog” since childhood. The movie starts out with the backstory about how Adonis Creed and Damian Anderson were friends, and Damien was an incredible boxer who was poised for boxing greatness. Adonis was simply the little brother who looked up to Damien as his big “brother”. They weren't brothers by blood; they were brothers by familiarity and association, as they had both been at a group home together and had gotten in trouble together.

The most troubling incident (that primarily involved Adonis) was actually the incident that got Damian sent to prison. Now it seems as though Damian’s promising boxing career, which was just getting started, is over. Conversely, after this incident, Adonis turns his life around and moves up through the boxing ranks.

Famous actor Michael B. Jordan appearing in a boxing ring in character as Adonis Creed
Actor Michael B. Jordan appearing as Adonis Creed in Creed III

This brings us to the beginning of the movie where it is now 15 years later, and Adonis Creed is fighting “Pretty Ricky” Conlan, a familiar opponent, for the heavyweight championship title. He has previously faced Conlan in a boxing match in the first Creed movie…and lost. This time, Adonis and his team are hoping that he will win. However, Adonis is in the ring looking like the underdog, and he does not appear to be taking the fight as seriously as he should. He is not hitting Conlan the way that he could be hitting him. Instead, Adonis is taking blow after blow after blow, and the announcers, his trainers, and even his wife are looking at him like he’s crazy. They were looking at him like he had lost his ability to fight. However, Creed hadn’t given up. He hadn’t lost his ability to fight; he was simply strategizing his win, unknowingly to everyone else. This reminded me of how sometimes following God and doing what He asks you to do will have you looking crazy to others. If God is telling you to trust Him, take big leaps of faith, and/or do what seems to be crazy to others around you, do it anyway. Following God will always pay off in the long run. God will not put you to shame. All things will work together for your good.

So going back to the fight scene with Creed and Conlan…

Adonis is taking blow after blow, and not fighting as hard as everyone expected. His opponent, Conlan, even takes notice of Creed’s boxing performance at this moment and says to him: “Same Creed. Ain’t nothing changed.” This statement stirred me because it reminded me of times when God allows people to enter into seasons of separation and isolation. Generally, in these times, God separates a person from certain people, certain places, or certain things for a reason or a season. In my experience, God has allowed me to have seasons of separation and isolation in preparation for where He was taking me. During these times of separation and isolation, God downloaded in me new strategies, gave me new wisdom and clarity, and He strengthened me for what was coming next. When Conlan said what he said to Creed about him not changing, it reminded me of how sometimes God allows those same people from whom you were previously separated to do as the kids say, spin the block, and enter back into your life, but they expect you to be the same person that you were when they left you or when you left them. What they don’t know is that in their absence, God has given you new strategies, new weapons, clarity, and new perspectives. So even though you’re facing the same friend or foe, enemy or a frenemy, opponent or naysayer, you are different.

This is exactly what happened with Adonis Creed in his fight against Conlan. In the fight scene, director Michael B. Jordan shows the audience that Adonis Creed has a strategy: From a series of slow-motion shots, we see Adonis observing and taking mental notes about Conlan and his weaknesses. As he is doing this, he is actually strategizing about how and where he’s going to hit Conlan in order to take him out in the next round.

After Adonis finishes observing his opponent, planning his win strategy, and taking a few more hits, he heads back to his corner to retreat and regroup. In this moment, he’s taking a pause. This reminds me of how sometimes in life, God may ask us to pause, and take a step back when the fight seems like it’s going to take you out, and it appears as if the enemy is winning. During this time, obey God. Step back and rest, chill, pause, fall back, or do whatever God is telling you to do. The spiritual lesson in doing that is this: While you’re pausing, while you’re taking a step back, while you’re resting, God is still working on your behalf. God never sleeps and He never slumbers. Having God in your corner while you’re resting is the key to winning a fight.

Another spiritual lesson from that moment is this: Rest is a weapon. But can I give you a few other weapons, too? Praise is a weapon. Reading the word of God and declaring the word of God over your situation is a weapon. Prayer is a weapon. Do your part, use your weapons, and let God handle the rest of the fight.

Now when Adonis was over in the corner regrouping and preparing for the next round, he was not over in the corner looking defeated. He was not over in the corner saying that he wanted to quit or stop the fight. He was actually over in the corner smiling because he already knew that in the end, he was going to win. Adonis’ trainer couldn’t fathom why Adonis was smiling, so he asked him: “You okay, Donnie? What are you smiling for? He’s over there beating you worse than the last time.” Adonis simply replied: “Checkmate. I’ve never been afraid of a little contact. I’m going out the way that I came in.” The spiritual lesson here is this: Sometimes when it looks like you’re losing to your opponent and everyone else, God is really setting you up for a victory. God can give you prophetic insight and divine wisdom to show you your situation from a totally different perspective in order to give you the right mindset and the right strategies to claim the victory that is already yours. God can use situations that don’t look good to work out for your good.

At the start of the last round, Adonis heads back into the ring looking determined, rejuvenated, and ready to take Conlan out. He takes a few punches from Conlan, but then Adonis ducks and makes 3 body shots, and then he takes a step back and gives Conlan a strong punch to the jaw. Conlan quickly goes down and doesn’t get back up. Adonis has now become the new heavyweight champion of the world.

Just like Adonis had to fight Conlan again in order to get the heavyweight championship belt, God will take us through the same situations again to get us to where we need to be, and He will take us through the same situations to help us to learn the lessons that we didn’t learn the first time around. However, if we stay close to God and walk with God, we SHALL have different results.

HERE'S A BONUS SPIRITUAL LESSON: In life, we don’t have to fight as hard as we do when it comes to physical and spiritual battles. God can and will fight for you if you let Him. If you’re trying to do His part and take His job, He can’t fight when you’re fighting, too. You are simply getting in the way when you’re doing that. Since Jesus already won the fight for us, we are actually fighting a fixed fight. We are not fighting for victory. Instead, we are fighting from a place of victory, and we are already more than conquerors through Christ Jesus.

I pray that this message blessed you and encouraged you. If it did, I invite you to share this post. Thanks for reading and have a blessed weekend!

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