Attention people! School is out and the plethora of summer movie offerings is already popping up in theaters like kiddie lemonade stands on thousands of suburban street corners across the USA.
So which movies are you excited about? To be sure, this won't be like last year of '3's' (Pirates 3, Shrek 3, Spidey 3, etc., etc.) - but there are some flicks headed our way that should be decent enough to dish out the double figure dollars to see.
One of them is the latest Jack Black animated contribution (his voice anyway) called "Kung Fu Panda." A seemingly insignificant waiter becomes the 'chosen one' who will fight Tai Lung and save the day.
Tai Lung? Sounds more like a poor menu choice at an Asian restaurant, but this movie is a good choice if you're after a feel-good-chase-your-dreams-I'm-special tale with some excellent kicks to boot. Think "Beverly Hills Ninja" meets DreamWorks with a dash of Jackie Chan thrown in.
Martial Arts has always fascinated me - even way before Chuck Norris appeared and became, well, Chuck Norris (example: as you may already know, there is no theory of evolution…only a list of animals Chuck Norris allowed to live).
But did you also know that as Christians, we are engaged in a mighty struggle that requires some Kung Fu like moves? Spiritually speaking of course - here's a description of the battle:
For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).
This verse makes it abundantly clear that as followers of Christ, we have a real fight on our hands - and if we don't know the right moves, we could get thrashed.
What are the right moves? Well, in Kung Fu, you have a variety of stances, fighting techniques and styles - but a common thread between them all is the basic defensive blocks and offensive punches/kicks. Once you learn the basic defense/offense forms, you're ready to advance in your skill and become a lean, mean, Kung Fu machine!
Our spiritual battle situation is the same. Your basic defensive 'move' is to put on the armor of God:
Therefore, put on every piece of God's armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet…(Ephesians 6:13-17).
If you wait to put on God's armor when the attack comes, it will be too late. Each morning when you get up, go through a mental checklist that goes like this:
Am I truthful and ready to live with integrity?
Is Jesus Christ truly the Lord of my life?
Is there any wicked way that I am living?
Am I ready to share the good news of the gospel at any time?
Do I have complete faith that God is in control and wants the best for me?
Do I still have complete trust that Jesus paid the penalty for all my sin, and I'm trusting in Him alone for salvation?
These questions are the 'blocking' techniques that will help protect you from the flying spiritual fists of fury from Satan and his demons.
Ah - but don't forget about offense:
Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion (Ephesians 6:17-18).
This is the two move "kick/punch" that sends the enemy reeling like he just took a roundhouse to the face. The sword of the Spirit is the word of God - a.k.a - the Bible. Key here is to memorize the verses that will help you defeat Satan and his demons. Here are a few to get you started:
So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7).
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death (Romans 8:1-2).
But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness (1 John 1:9).
Your other offensive weapon is prayer. When you pray, you tap into the power of the Holy Spirit, and the enemy knows he has no chance against an all powerful God who lives inside you.
This summer, earn you black belt as a Kung Fu Christian and win the battles you never thought possible.
Head: According to the Bible in Ephesians 6, all Christians are engaged in combat with the evil entities in the spiritual realm. In order to be victorious, we must put on the full armor of God for defense, and use the Word of God and prayer for offense.
Heart: Any good fighter started out with a heart to fight long before any skill was developed. Are you ready to rumble???
Hands: Every morning, afternoon and evening, pray something like this:
Father, please cover me with your armor so I can take my stand against the devil's schemes. Please help me to memorize the Bible and pray so I can be victorious.
Be warned, though, because if you start praying this regularly, your life will end up becoming incredibly exciting.
Lane Palmer serves as a writer for Dare 2 Share Ministries (D2S) in Arvada, Colorado, a ministry committed to energizing and equipping teenagers to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information about D2S, please visit www.dare2share.org.
Lane Palmer is the Youth Ministries Specialist for Dare 2 Share Ministries in Arvada, Colo., where he works with to provide resources for youth leaders and students. Dare 2 Share exists to energize and equip teens to know, live, share and own their faith in Jesus. For more information on Dare 2 Share Ministries or the GameDay youth conference tour, please visit www.dare2share.org. Send feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.