Well here’s a shocker…a classic movie from the 80’s being remade! And among all the classics from that era, Karate Kid is in the upper echelon with the best.
In case you missed it, Ralph Macchio plays a kid named Daniel who moves to California because his mom got a job “in computers” (which sounded amazingly cool back then). He messes with pretty much the last people you should even look crooked at: Johnny uber-bully and his gang of Cobra Kai thugs , and generally gets karate owned for the first part of the movie. Enter the martial arts master maintenance man, heavy duty training, and one of the greatest ending scenes put on film - because “he’s the best…around!!!”
Now take that recipe, move it to China - and HAI YA!!! Kung Fu Karate Kid!
Maybe it’s just guys, but I think most people would love to download a martial arts app into their brain and instantly be able to fly around with kicks and punches like a spider monkey overdosing on Red Bull - right?
But that’s not the way it works. Any level of martial arts ability is only achieved through incredible amounts of discipline, hard work, pain, and patience.
In fact, that’s what the phrase ‘kung fu’ means! It basically translates as “accomplishment arrived at by great effort.” Originally ‘kung fu’ was any area you excelled in because of your hard work and training. So you could be a kung fu cook, kung fu artist, or kung fu panda, I suppose.
But the main area to which the Chinese applied this term was spiritual discipline. They knew (and so do we) that the way to excellence in all life started with the training and conditioning of your soul.
Which leads me to a question…
Are you a kung fu Christian?
No, I don’t mean like a black belt in Bible and you’re able to use your fish symbol like a Chinese throwing star…HAI YA!
I’m talking about the training and conditioning of your spiritual life with Jesus Christ. You see, the Christian life is not simply fire insurance from hell, it is so so SO much more than that. To simply trust in Jesus as your only hope of salvation and then leave it at that is like accepting a free ticket to a martial arts movie instead of playing a key role IN the movie! God has a major part for each and every believer, but trust me, it is no walk in the park.
Why? Because if you don’t train, you won’t be ready for the fight. You are up against a bully more powerful than any other in the universe. His goal is to “steal, kill, and destroy” you (John 10:10), and he has been studying spiritual martial arts far longer than you. Fortunately, you have a Trainer and a training manual that will bring you victory every time you engage…but you have to be disciplined and follow your Master, Jesus Christ.
One of the greatest ‘kung fu Christians’ of all time is the Apostle Paul. Here is his training advice:
All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:25-27).
How did he train? Well the basic moves that we need to practice with relentless discipline are:
Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart (Colossians 4:2).
How can a young person live a clean life? By carefully reading the map of your Word.
I'm single-minded in pursuit of you; don't let me miss the road signs you've posted. I've banked your promises in the vault of my heart so I won't sin myself bankrupt. Be blessed, GOD; train me in your ways of wise living (Psalm 119:10-12).
I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ (Philemon 1:6).
Just like martial arts, these techniques are not complicated, but they require extreme discipline and constant repetition for us to excel.
Do you want to be a kung fu Christian? Then keep a constant conversation with Jesus Christ going all day, every day. Pour yourself into God’s word more than Facebook, texting, movies, music, and games. Then as a result of being prayerful and knowledgeable about God’s word, stay active in sharing the gospel, and the scenes from your life movie on earth will look like this in heaven:
We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).
Be the best…around!
Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action
Think through a strategy for incorporating the disciplines of prayer, Bible study/memorization, and sharing the gospel regularly into your life. Most people are not naturally inclined towards rigorous spiritual training, so find a friend who wants to go ‘kung fu Christian’ with you and hold each other accountable.
Accelerant: Feed the Fire
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it” (Matthew 16:24-25).
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart (Hebrews 12:1-3).
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 (James 1:12).