Tuesday, September 5, 2017

When You Want to Be a Ninja Warrior but You Think You Can't

Sam Wiley loves to watch television. It's pure torture to me, but, last night, I agreed to watch the Ninja Warrior competition with him. Sam cheered the competitors on, groaned when they fell, and marveled when they hit the red button.

They were remarkable athletes. No doubt about it. Even the people who slipped and fell were impressive. I appreciated that they competed against the clock and their own abilities, instead of each other. I love it that their fellow competitors cheered them on in a rare kind of camaraderie.

I wondered how much time they had to spend training, how much money they invested in the equipment at home, and whether or not the training and competition took them away from their families. Some of those questions were answered in videos that showed homemade equipment and children alongside parents as they trained. It sounded as if the competitors had full-time jobs in addition to their training.

The warriors were experts at running, jumping, swinging, and climbing. I can understand the allure, but not even for a second did I imagine myself grabbing a propeller, swinging over to a red rope, hanging on, and flying through the air so I could hop onto a landing pad. 

What I pondered, instead, as I watched the athletes compete, was whether it was possible to be a Ninja Warrior of Faith. Could we train so that we could be experts in faith matters? 

Yes, we can, no matter our age or physical condition. You're never too old to be a Ninja of Faith. 

The required skills are trust, obey, love, and forgive. If you think that sounds easy, think again. 

Ninja Trust is not simple trust. It requires taking leaps of faith to follow God anywhere, even when friends and family think you may have lost your mind. 

Ninja Obedience means doing the hardest thing imaginable, simply because God asked you to do it. 

Ninja Love means loving the most unlovable person you know, in the same way you love yourself. 

Ninja Forgiveness means forgiving the one who has not only wounded you, but wounded the one you love more than anything...the one who has taken away the one you love the most.

Can we be Ninjas of Faith? Yes. It's possible, but it's hard. There's never a day off. It requires extreme sacrifice and extreme effort. It requires the kind of more-than-human strength only God can provide. 

The reward, however, is much more fulfilling that hitting a red button. The reward is the joy of seeing lives changed, hearts healed, families restored. When we obey God like a ninja, it impacts our loved ones and our world in ways that are astounding. 

Today, consider the possibility of training as a Christian Ninja Faith Warrior. Wouldn't you like to be the one who obeys the most? The one who takes the biggest risks for God? The one who impacts the world for Christ? 

Dwight L. Moody was a shoe salesman when he heard Henry Varley say these words: "The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to him." 

Moody resolved to be so fully surrendered that the world would see what God could do. He became one of the greatest evangelists of the 19th century, wrote several books, founded a publishing house, and started a Bible college. 

We serve the same God Moody served. We, too, can surrender as he surrendered and see God do beautiful works through us. 

First, though, we must accept the work of obedience and faith and press on, even when it's hard. I'm willing to accept the challenge. Who's with me? 

"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable." 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 nasb
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