“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”– Galatians 5:16
I love THE ORIGINAL Karate Kid film (I actually refused to watch the recent re-make. I just felt like it was blasphemy and made me feel dirty). Anyway, I loved it because of the mentor relationship between Daniel (Ralph Macchio) and Mr. Miyagi (Pat Morita) displayed throughout the film…and the shower Halloween costume, not to mention an awesome soundtrack that made me feel like I could crane kick anything. Once again, I digress; it was a beautiful depiction of what a true mentoring relationship could and should be like. It’s a great story of a young man seeking guidance and direction from an older man that has the wisdom and experience to hand down to the next generation. Daniel and Miyagi had an interesting relationship that had a balance of truth, soft love, and tough love. Which made their relationship stronger and better than the other mentoring relationship depicted in the film (watch the film; I don’t have time to discuss those dynamics).
I had to give this description to open the door to where we are headed today. In a scene there is a strong dialogue between Daniel and Miyagi that begins with Mr. Miyagi asking Daniel if he is ready to train and Daniel’s response, like any teenager, “I guess so”. Mr. Miyagi sits Daniel down and says something like this “Daniel-san, if you walk right side of the road, you’re safe. If you walk left side of the road, you’re safe. If you walk in the middle of the road, squish (he makes a squishing sound and gestures a squish with his hands), just like grape. The same goes with answers. Either, yes or no, no ‘I guess so’ or you’ll be squished (same gesture as before), just like grape.”
This is just a sample of Miyagi’s wisdom being passed down to Daniel in 1984, and it still fits today. There are so many things pulling followers of Christ in different directions. People are trying to find the authentic believers and understand what it means. They are seeking that wisdom and truth. Unfortunately, there are too many people who claim to follow Christ who have failed to fully grasp what it means to be a follower. When faced with a dilemma around issues in culture or asked a question about the faith, instead of knowing what Scripture says or choosing to do what Christ taught, they respond with an “I guess so”. Then, they get “squished, just like grape!”
Following Christ is a yes or no deal. We cannot choose bits and pieces of the scripture to live by; we must truly follow Christ and His message of love, service, grace, mercy, and reconciliation. Our lives should be an example of what it means to be a follower. May we have balance in our lives and know the truth of His message. The Spirit will guide our direction, reveal to us what side of the road we should be on, and lead us so we may walk safely in the ways of Christ.
Just in case you’re interested here is the clip, with the correct lines.