I have read through the introduction and into the first chapter of The Soldier Code, by Duncan Ray Brannan and now while watching Jackie Chan’s version of the The Karate Kid, one of his lessons on Kung Fu resonates more deeply than it might have before seeing these pages.
After the first several training sessions between Mr. Han and the student, Dre, they don’t progress past the boy putting on his jacket, taking it off, dropping it to the ground, picking it up, and then hanging the jacket on a peg. After several sessions of this, the boy gets frustrated and quits. Mr. Han shows him that the repetition of those simple movements has conditioned him to respond to Mr. Han’s sudden attack. He says something to the effect of Kung fu is in everything we do, even in the way we put on and take off our jackets.
The boy had been taking off his jacket and dropping it on the floor less than a few feet from the coat rack in his home. His mother had to nag, beg, and demand over and over for the boy to pick it up off the floor and put it where it belongs. While the scenes with Dre hanging up the jacket over and over were not as poetic as Danielson’s “wax on, wax off” of the first Karate Kid, as a parent it was gratifying to see the child grow weary of picking up the jacket, much as his mother had done.
Do we come home and throw our armor on the ground, scoffing at its proper place by the door? Do we leave it at home on the floor or hide it on the way to practice so we won’t have to repeat the effort of putting it on and defending our faith?
I’m reminded of a sweet young man who played bass guitar for me when I lead worship at a church in San Marcos. He walked to church one morning in sandals and a tank top, no jacket, in 40-degree weather. It didn’t occur to him to check the weather before he left, and even after he had walked outside into the cool air, it didn’t occur to him to go back inside and change…
How many times have we failed to check ourselves at the door when there were clear warning signs that we were not “dressed” appropriately?
On page 24 in The Way of the Samurai chapter under the heading “Live with Deadly Intensity”, the author describes the Age of War and how it increased appreciation for everything else in life. Nothing was taken for granted, everything became an art that was studied, practiced, perfected, and then reverently taught to the next generation.
Our Faith should be in everything we do, it should color every conversation and interaction. It should most definitely be something we are reverently teaching to the next generation. What is this armor? How do we put it on? When do we wear it? How do we take it off and leave it ready for the next wearing?
The Whole Armour of God
Ephesians Chapter 6
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armour of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. 16 With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints. 19 Pray also for me, so that when I speak, a message may be given to me to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it boldly, as I must speak.