Monday, November 5, 2007

A Martial Artist Looks at Ephesians 3:14-21, Part 1

Ephesians 3:14-16
When I think of the wisdom and the scope of God’s plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will give you mighty inner strength through His Holy Spirit.

In karate class we focus on the physical. We exercise our bodies, we stretch, do crunches and push-ups, punch and kick. We strengthen our bodies through exercise and we toughen it. We hit targets, shields and the heavy bag. We also hit each other. Our fists, shins and arms get hard from repeated striking. We learn to take punches and strikes as well as give them. We physically push ourselves, and each other, time and time again to build strength, skill and stamina.

Physical strength is important. Our bodies function better when we exercise them, and by training this way, we are physically more capable of handling an attack. But there is a strength that is more important than the physical; that is inner strength. Strengthening the body the way we do in karate also builds inner strength. As you build control over your body, you build control over your emotions and spirit. You learn to face fear. You learn assertiveness and pride. You build self-esteem. You learn control so that you do not accidentally hurt your training partner.

This inner strength is important. But there is something more important still. That is an inner strength that is given to you, you cannot develop it on your own. This inner strength comes from God. It is a gift that comes through His Holy Spirit. At salvation, the Holy Spirit comes to indwell you; in this way you become the temple of God. God is the Creator of the universe and He has unlimited power and strength. This is the power and strength that we have available to us as Christians! No, it does not mean we will be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, or run faster than a speeding bullet. It does mean that we can endure when the hard things happen in life. It means we can find peace and joy in difficult circumstances. It means we can keep going when others quit. We have a source of strength and power that our enemy cannot have. Even in physical death we will have spiritual victory, as we go to spend the rest of eternity with God. With that kind of strength, we cannot lose. That is the strength that I desire for my students.

Rebecca A Givens
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