Spiritual Training With God the Father, the Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

Hello Everyone,

Jackie Chan has been one of the most influential actors in martial arts film history ever since Bruce Lee.  Almost everyone today has heard of Jackie Chan and are familiar with the amount of hard work that goes into his films, especially his stunts.  However, most people do not stop to think about the extensive training he must have had when he was younger and the enormous amount of training he does every day to stay in shape.  Here is a video as an example of Jackie Chan’s training program montage with training scenes from his films:

I was thinking about martial arts the other night, especially UFC and I couldn’t shake the idea of cage fighting.  During my childhood, I would watch kung fu movies (I know UFC and the styles used in kung fu films are different and similar in their own respective ways) and I would be impressed with the special emphasis placed on the philosophy behind their martial arts style.  There were themes such as honor, dignity, protecting the ones you loved, etc…  However, and keep in mind that I rarely watch UFC fights so I am NOT an expert in the field, but when I see people fighting in cages, I can’t help but think that the media reduces these fighters (who are most likely regular people following their passion in life) to mere animals.  I don’t see much honor in such a portrayal.  As I said, if I am wrong, you are more than free to let me know what the purpose of the cages are.  I HATE to see people being treated as less than human.

When I look at the world today, there seems to be a certain attitude that the world expects from us.  They keep referring to the so called “animal instinct” that everyone has and that bringing this instinct out will make us “stronger.”  But what is true strength?  Is it only dealing with physical muscles or are there other, more unexplored aspects of strength that are not focused on in our daily lives?  Honestly, I think true strength comes from outside ourselves.  Let me explain.  We are taught that true strength comes from within ourselves and while we all are capable of great strength, it is still limited.  However, the Bible teaches us to humble ourselves and rely on God’s strength, which is unlimited.  As it says in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, “But he said to me, ““My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  I have been struggling to gain the latter for the past couple of years now.

Let’s face facts, it’s very difficult to rely on someone else these days let alone rely on a Being that we can’t see.  However, the Gospels teach us that our goal is to persevere to accomplish what God has set us out to do on Earth.  That is a key word here: perseverance.  As James 1:12 states, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”  You see, in many of his films, Jackie Chan has shown (among many others) one great character: that he perseveres to fight for justice.  That man never gives up!  Don’t believe me?  Then let’s look at the scene in Rumble in the Bronx where he is water-skiing behind a tour boat.  No matter how many obstacles he comes across in the water, he never lets go of the rope out of sheer perseverance.  Even when he falls on the beach, he finds another way to stop the out of control boat.  That kind of perseverance should be applied to studying the Gospels.

However, this is reality and not Hollywood, so we have a ton of reasons why we don’t read the Bible everyday, especially a lot of Christians including myself.  I have so many other things that end up distracting me.  What should my YouTube channel feature in terms of content?  How do I get said content accomplished with limited resources?  What kind of job am I really searching for?  How do get financially stable enough to live in NYC?  All these problems and more distract me each day from the real answer to those and so many problems I have: the Bible aka the Word of God.  They also distract me from something just as important as studying the Word of God: Prayer.  Little by little, God is revealing to me that no matter how many difficulties in life I face nor how huge they are, they are NO PROBLEM FOR HIM!  God has a truly mysterious way and timeline of doing things that no expert could ever truly explain.

This leads to another hindrance to our prayer lives and that is impatience. Let’s be real, there are times I find myself saying, “Jesus is moving way too slow and needs to hurry up as I am ready for an answer now!”  Only to find out that when the time comes, I was not as over-prepared as I thought I was.  You see, everything seems ready to go on our end, but with God, He sees another story.  There are many flaws, whether seen or unseen, that prevent us from truly having faith in God.  God is not our personal genie, He is Our Master and Savior.  When I use the word Master, I do not mean a slave owner as we have come to know in the traditional sense.  If you look at the old Kung Fu movies including those by Jackie Chan, we see a different application of the role of master or shifu meaning teacher.  The master is not only a teacher to his students, but almost like a second father to them.  He provides a safe place for them to live, structure for their lives, feeds them, and even clothes them.  To a martial arts master, his students are not just students, they are members of his own family.

This is how I see the role of God as our Master.  He is NOT someone who is draining every ounce of work we can give Him like a slave driver; He is our Teacher and also our Caretaker Who is willing to take up our cause when the time (according to His timing and not by our own sense of timing) is right.  According to James 5:7-8, “Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.  You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.”  Why do you think Jesus refers to Himself as the Good Shepherd?  Jesus is saying that if push comes to shove, He is willing to die for us, which He has already proven to the entire world.  Recently, I worked in a mail room and it was a pretty stressful job.  There were times I felt like giving up, but I felt that God was training me to become the man He needs me to be.  When I left the mail room, I think it was God’s way of telling me my training was over and that it was time to move on to another training situation.  I had learned so many different lessons about patience, leadership, true strength, and about perseverance.  I thought I would be able to take working there for a year, but by God’s Grace, I lasted two years instead.  So, I lasted longer than I had previously believed.  God not only surpassed my co-worker’s expectations, but my own expectations of myself as well. God is not just my Teacher, He is my Caretaker and Solace.  I get stronger, because of Him therefore the Triune God is my life or personal Shifu.  I pray that the next plateau I reach, God will be there preparing to reach the final goal, which is entrance into His Holy Kingdom.  Amen.

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