Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Kingdom Martial Arts

Developed thousands of years ago for the purpose of battle, Martial Arts were created for war. In the time of the Samurai, normal citizens would fear the Samurai because they viewed them as ruthless killers. For this reason the Samurai developed a moral code that they would follow in order to stand out as honorable people. This code became a way of life for the Samurai and has even kept it's place in the heart of many true martial artists. This code was known as the bushido or Way of the Warrior. There are seven main virtues of the bushido code.

Gi (rectitude) morality, integrity
Yū (courage) bravery, valor
Jin (Benevolence) kindness, compassion
Rei (respect) reverence
Makoto (honesty) sincerity
Meiyo (honor, glory) nobility
Chūgi (loyalty) faithfulness, devotion, trustworthiness

Sometimes added to these were:

Kō (filial piety) love and respect for parents and ancestors
Chi (wisdom) insight
Tei (caring for the elderly)

All though I don't follow the bushido as the Samurai created it, or necessarily for the reasons they created it, I do think that as a Christian I can learn a lot from the concept of the Bushido. In a sense it is 100% biblical when transferred to Christ and His Kingdom. The samurai were warriors in service of their own lord. What their lord said, they did. The bushisdo trained them to be loyal, faithful and devoted to their lord, families and country. I remember a quote from "The Last Samurai" when after the village was attacked and the ninja tried to kill the Shogun, the Shogun was later asked, "Do you think that the lord sent them to kill you?". The Shogun then replied, "If the lord wants my life, all he has to do is ask.". I don't think I have this word for word but it's the idea that matters. What their lord commanded, they obeyed. This runs parallel with the scriptures.

"Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it."

Matt 10:39

"By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments."

1 John 5:2-3

The Samurai understood the mentality of a warrior. A warrior is a servant. They did not use their ability to fight in order to bully others or to boast. They used it for the service of their lord, families and country. In order to keep such a mind set it was necessary for them to create the Bushido which stated the manor in which a warrior should live.

Why would anyone want to be a servant? Why should we have to obey anyone? The Samurai didn't obey their lord because they had to. They didn't give their lives for the lord, families or country because they had to. They did this though love. Thats what you do for people you love! Just like the Scripture says, those who Love God keep his commandments. God's not saying, "If you love me than obey me." He is saying, "If you love you will obey me." He is not arguing about what we need to do in order to show him that we love him. He is stating the obvious that if we do love him than we will obey Him. That's how we know the children of God. Thats what true love is. It's not a burden to be a Christian but a blessing. To love God and to love man without chains is a blessing. As stated in Matthew 10, we must first lose ourselves in order to find that blessing. It goes against our natural tendency which is to love and serve ourselves.

First as Christians we have to recognize that we have a Lord. In fact, He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords! Our Lord has spoken much about His Kingdom (our country) and indeed commands us to serve Him and His Kingdom (our families and God's people). This is not a burden to those who love God. God is good and we trust in His goodness and wisdom. That's what it means to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. In all we do, do it in a way that glorifies God and advances His Kingdom. Do it in a way that reveals your trust in Him and His goodness rather than your own. Honor God as your Creator, Father, Lord and Savior. Humbly give up your life in service of the Good King. To serve a King who has your best in mind and is sure to complete the good work He began in you is a beautiful mission.

Secondly, you must also know that those who love God also love their brother. I don't mean your blood brother but all of God's people. You can't say you love God and hate your brother at the same time (1 John 4:20). The scriptures say that everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God (1 John 4:7). The love that we are talking about is the act of putting other peoples interest and concerns above our own. To serve with joy.

Lastly, it's important to know that God's Kingdom has all ready come and is yet still coming.

20Being asked by the Pharisees(A) when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, "The kingdom of God(B) is not coming with signs to be observed, 21nor(C) will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There!' for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you."

Luke 17:20-21

The kingdom of God has all ready come through His Holy Spirit. Yes, the heavenly kingdom of God has all ready begun making it's way here on earth. Immanuel, God with us is all ready a reality. We are not going to die, leave earth forever and live in heaven. In the end God will destroy both heaven and earth and create a new heaven and a new earth that are one. Our greatest hope is not to die and go be with God in heaven but to live till the day that both God and heaven come to be with us forever.

1Then I saw(A) a new heaven and a new earth, for(B) the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw(C) the holy city,(D) new Jerusalem,(E) coming down out of heaven from God,(F) prepared(G) as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold,(H) the dwelling place[a] of God is with man. He will(I) dwell with them, and they will be his people,[b] and God himself will be with them as their God.[c] 4(J) He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and(K) death shall be no more,(L) neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."

Rev. 21:1-4

The Kingdom of God is all ready in the midst of us. John the Baptist's famous words were, REPENT! For the kingdom of God is at hand. We must realize that God is on His way to live and dwell with us forever. Are you living as if this is a reality? Are you serving the Lord, your family and your country the way that God has called you to? Do you just simply believe that their is a God who died for your sins and all is good? It is not enough to believe...faith without works is dead! (James 2:26). REPENT! Be transformed. Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind (Romans 12:2). What about the Christian Bushido which is the fruit of the Spirit? A Samurai was not a Samurai without the Bushido and a Christian is not a Christian unless they are living by and producing the fruit of the Spirit of Christ.  

and Self-Control

We can only produce the fruit of the Spirit by the Spirit. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:25).

1(A) If then you have been raised with Christ, seek(B) the things that are above, where Christ is,(C) seated at the right hand of God. 2(D) Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3For(E) you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ(F) who is your[a] life(G) appears, then you also will appear with him(H) in glory. 5(I) Put to death therefore(J) what is earthly in you:[b](K) sexual immorality, impurity,(L) passion, evil desire, and covetousness,(M) which is idolatry. 6(N) On account of these the wrath of God is coming.[c] 7(O) In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8But now(P) you must put them all away:(Q) anger, wrath, malice,(R) slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9(S) Do not lie to one another, seeing that(T) you have put off(U) the old self[d] with its practices 10and(V) have put on(W) the new self,(X) which is being renewed in knowledge(Y) after the image of(Z) its creator. 11(AA) Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave,[e] free; but Christ is(AB) all, and in all.
12(AC) Put on then, as(AD) God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,(AE) compassionate hearts,(AF) kindness,(AG) humility, meekness, and patience, 13(AH) bearing with one another and,(AI) if one has a complaint against another,(AJ) forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14And above all these put on(AK) love, which(AL) binds everything together in(AM) perfect harmony. 15And let(AN) the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called(AO) in one body. And(AP) be thankful. 16Let(AQ) the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom,(AR) singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,(AS) with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17And(AT) whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,(AU) giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:1-17

We are not called to live like Christ but we are called to live in Him. To live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21). We need to honor our Lord and Savior by fighting the good fight of faith. Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21). Only in Christ is this possible. He has all ready overcome the world and it's wickedness. He has overcome death and conquered the grave on our behalf. We will have tribulation. We will face great battles but we can have the peace which surpasses all understanding knowing that we are serving the Creator and Lord who has all ready come before us and prepared for us a way.

"In the world you will have(C) tribulation. But(D) take heart;(E) I have overcome the world."

John 16:33

We are warriors in service of the Lord. Our battle does not consist of flesh and blood but of spiritual forces, principalities and powers(Ephesians 5). We should excel in the fruit of the Spirit loving the Lord, loving our families and seeking the Kingdom of God. Fight the good fight of faith and do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good. God has created a whole new reality which is not the way of the warrior but the way in the warrior who is Christ.

1 comment:

Margie Stemple said...

WHat a wonderful comparison between the Samurai and christian. Great article!