Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Message: Ninja

How many of you have seen Ninja Warrior? The show with the ninja-like people and the obstacle course, and all the crazy Japanese yelling? Well, for those of you that haven’t, here’s one of the “ninja warriors” in the final stage of the competition:

Now, imagine how hard it would be to do that without any physical training. Do you think it would even be possible? Probably not, right?

Ninjutsu, the martial art used by ninjas, included lots more than just the physical training everyone thinks about. They would often start training as early as five or six to develop the necessary skills. They learned to fight and use weapons. They learned how to accept their own mortality and how to retrieve information from others. They learned strategizing, stealth, and strict adherence to their beliefs.

What could we learn from ninja training? We could learn to focus our minds and work harder. We could learn humility, and we could learn balance. We could learn how to learn from others. But I think the most important thing we can learn is the one word that best describes a ninja’s life—discipline.

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

I challenge everyone this week to find some way to train yourself spiritually. Find one thing that you can do to grow closer to God and stronger in your faith. If you’re not good with Bible reading, find ten minutes you can use just to sit down and read a chapter or two a day. Deuteronomy 8:3 says “man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” If you have a weak prayer life, find a quiet spot in the morning or evening, get a prayer book, and read that to help develop strong prayer habits. James 5:16 says “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” For me, I’m going to spend the next few weeks finishing Hebrews 11 for memory, because in Deuteronomy 11:18 God tells us to “lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul.” However you choose to discipline yourself this week, though, remember why you do it—1 Corinthians 10:31, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

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