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Father and Son Share the Heart of The Fight Within
Father and Son Share the Heart of The Fight Within

Father and Son Share the Heart of The Fight Within

By Jacob Sahms

In the early twenty-first century, the Davis family went to the movies together to see Christian films. While they appreciated what they saw, the films appeared to primarily aim to encourage people who were already Christians. As the number of films released to the Christian market grew, pastor and patriarch Jim Davis asked, ‘Why aren’t there films we could take our non-Christian friends to?’ After a serious pursuit of God’s desires for his life, Davis recognized that God was calling him to make such a film. The Fight Within, out in mid-August, is the result of the Davis’ family endeavors. Here is their story. 

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“I spent twenty-eight years of my life doing things my way,” the elder Davis recalled. “There were too many broken relationships until the mercy of God fell on me and I began to try and align myself with God’s way. When my wife and I submitted to God’s will, everything changed.”

Now, Jim is the writer/director of a film about a Mixed Martial Art (MMA) fighter who is searching for his identity after his MMA champion father dies while training him. Over ninety days, Davis developed the storyline near his home in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He is clear that the parallel between the fighter’s experience and the Christian experience allows for a story that will entertain and challenge.

Davis said, “We all go through an identity crisis, with our peers, on our career path, in our job or education. The things we hold onto are up and down, but God is, was, and always will be. We find ourselves drawn to people who are leaning on God and have found those answers.”

Davis interviewed Mike Taylor and other professional fighters, amazed that they never said ‘I want to beat this guy into submission.’ “It was always, ‘I want to overcome,’ I want to get better. I think that’s true of the Christian faith, too.”

“We have made a movie that shows the emotional and spiritual struggle of a person who comes to have a relationship with God. It’s a Christian film with an action/drama/romance element that engages the audience.”

In the film, an older man represents the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, and a younger woman represents a Christian who understands God’s grace and provides the seeds of change that transform the MMA fighter’s life.

John Major Davis, the elder Davis’ son, won the part of that MMA fighter and spent eight months training to play the part. He had left Alabama for acting school in California, but prayed that one day he would see himself on screen. “This whole process shows how God is still there, even when we walk away,” John Major said. “It’s such a blessing that now I get to see family members on screen, and to share this story with others.”

Both the father and the son admit that there were plenty of stressors along what John Major called a “crazy ride.” “It’s a blessing to work with your family,” Jim shared, “to know that you’re supported in something you’re pushing through and to be forgiven for your stress, and your short words.”

The Davises hope that the film will entertain and inspire, in what the elder Davis says is a “passive society.” “We can’t eliminate chaos without rules to live by, without discipline,” he opined. “When we say there’s no truth, then there’s chaos. We were once one nation under God.”

“Athletes will discipline themselves. These two young men [John Major and his opponent in the film] trained with MMA fighters to be prepared.”

John Major agreed that the discipline carries the parallel over into our Christian walk. “There have been times that I was extremely disciplined but we allow for too much instant gratification. Having a relationship with Christ, it’s not something we work for but we work at.”

Turning toward me, John Major continued. “We just met. If I wanted to get to know you better and we just met up once a month, I’d kind of know you, maybe a little. If we met every day, we’d really get to know each other. It works that way in the time we spend with God, too.”

“I think God is looking for people to be warriors for Him. Non-Christians look at the church and judge it as hypocritical or full of sappy, hugging on each other. But we’re supposed to be filled with zeal, like the way that David stepped out in front of Goliath, a spiritual fire. I believe God can use this movie to help people see that they should be warriors for Him.”

Check out The Fight Within on August 12 to see if God will challenge your inner warrior.

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