A few weeks ago I had the privilege of watching Owen, my fiance, practice karate. He’s a black belt, which absolutely blows me away. His passion for martial arts and learning new things is so inspiring, and I felt honored to be able to watch him in his element.
Although some people may consider me graceful, athleticism is not something the Lord has gifted me in. So I was in awe watching Owen and his friends as they showed off their skills.
There are several lessons I’ve learned from watching just that one hour of practice. There were moments when the teacher (called a sensei) corrected his students or gave them some karate wisdom. However, I found that most of this wisdom reflected Godly principles on humility, perseverance, and focus.
Overcoming Failure With Humility
Even though Owen is a black belt, there were a few instances when he messed up a kick or got hit while sparring. Even the sensei messed up at times! It didn’t surprise me that these awesome people failed, but rather, how gracefully they handled each failure.
Each student was humble enough to acknowledge his mistake and accept correction. They were humble and open to receiving wisdom.
This is the posture we need to have towards God. None of us are perfect, but when we mess up or sin, we must be willing to humbly repent and receive forgiveness and instruction in order to live righteously.
Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:9-10 NIV)
When we take the posture of humility like David from the Bible, God will honor us and lift us up into victory.
For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. (Matthew 23:12 NIV)
Pressing on Through Trials
Owen helped his sensei teach a newer student different kinds of kicks, and although it was harder for the student to grasp, he never gave up trying.
Perseverance is one of the core values that makes faith possible. The things we want to achieve often take more time and effort than expected. The things we want God to do often take longer than we want them to.
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However, when we learn to persevere, we find that it builds our character and strengthens our faith. If life came easily and we got everything we wanted immediately, then there would be no reason to have faith or hope. But there is beauty in pressing on toward the things we are hopeful for.
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14 NIV)
A Karate Focus
One thing that surprised me as I was watching Owen’s karate practice was the way the instructor often told the newer student to stop overthinking.
When the student was sparring, he was trying so hard to predict his opponent’s next move that he failed to recognize the opportunities for attack right in front of him.
This is so common in my faith walk, and I know I’m not alone. Often times I get so worried or caught up in my own thoughts that I lose sight of Jesus.
Life is exciting, challenging, and surprising. There are so many distractions the enemy hurls at us to take our focus away from God and fill us with anxiety and temptation instead.
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. (2 Corinthians 10:3-4 NIV)
When we are so focused on trying to figure out our next move and how to win at this life, we open up a target for the devil to attack. The only way to win this spiritual battle is to keep our eyes focused on Jesus. He is sovereign and is the only one who will never fail us.
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:2 NIV)
I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be able to watch my future husband practice such an incredible sport. It’s amazing how, if we have our hearts turned toward the Lord, we can find Godly wisdom in everything around us. When our focus is on the only One who truly matters, it changes our perspective on everything.
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