Ever notice how easy it is to succumb to anger? How quick we react when we have been "wronged"?
YODA: Run! Yes. A Jedi’s strength flows from the Force. But beware of the dark side. Anger… fear… aggression. The dark side of the Force are they.
Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan’s apprentice.
What is hardest is to cultivate the fruits of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. These are things that need to be painstakingly nurtured, reinforced.
LUKE: Vader. Is the dark side stronger?
YODA: No… no… no. Quicker, easier, more seductive.
LUKE: But how am I to know the good side from the bad?
YODA: You will know. When you are calm, at peace. Passive. A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack.
What is it that holds us back? We know these things (as Christians) intellectually, but why is it that we fail? Because we are inclined towards laziness and selfishness. It causes us trouble, it takes work. We succeed when we put off the old and take on the newness in Christ. When we die to ourselves we no longer care for what we want, but what we can do for others. There is a part in Eric Haney's Book Inside Delta Force that speaks volumes (to me anyway):
LUKE: I'll try
YODA: Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.
LUKE: I can't believe it.
YODA: That is why you fail.
All day long, I crossed that mountain from one side to the other.... I would arrive exhausted and breathless at one RV (check point) only to be sent to the next back on the other side I had just come from. The mountain was too big to contour around, and the lay of the was such that I could never anything approximating a direct approach or maintain the hard-earned high ground for any length of time. Never getting anywhere, back and forth across the same mountain. It was a masterful torture. But then I had a revelation. What difference could it possibly make if I crossed back and forth over this mountain until doomsday? A mountain is a mountain, time was time, and route selection was route selection. The only that that mattered was speed and ground made good.... The frustration and mental torture I had been suffering were completely of my own making - and completely within my power to disregard.- and -
I was physically spent and sore in every part of my body, But as I reflected on what I had undergone, I felt a calm sense of satisfaction and contentment. I had not just survived an ordeal, because survival in a sense if passive. No, I had conquered. But conquered what? I had to think about that a while, and then I realized: myself.What had Eric Haney realized? That when he no longer minded, it no longer mattered. I think this post better describes yet another aspect of why i admire the samurai so much. The strived to die to themselves every day in order to serve their lord. "If by seeing one's heart right every morning and evening, one is able to live as though his body were already dead, he gains freedom in 'the Way'. His whole life will be without blame, and he will succeed in his calling." (from Haguakure) Am i perfect in this... not by a long shot. But i feel that it is a noble pursuit. Verse for today: Hebrews 9 : 24-28, ESV For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.