When I trained in karate several years ago, one of my teachers channeled a lumberjack. His muscular neck and head was a formidable solid block on his shoulders. Although his visage was usually stern, he was quite subdued in the dojo. Yet, I sensed a smoldering hostility that could explode on demand. Reinforcing my suspicions, other teachers mentioned that I shouldn’t cross him or I would definitely regret it. With this in mind, I was extra cautious whenever I worked with him. On one occasion, when I was paired with him, he was tasked to teach me the finer points of a roundhouse kick. He carefully gave me instructions and then asked me to attempt the kick. He was a foot taller and outweighed me by at least a hundred pounds. I intended to kick with my right foot and aim for his left shoulder. In a perfectly timed burst of adrenaline, my foot landed squarely on his left jaw.
I was horrified!
He stared straight ahead and did not say anything. Slowly he raised his right hand and rubbed the left side of his face, opening his mouth to flex his jaw. I did the only thing that any rational person would do in my place. I threw my arms around him and hugged him and exclaimed, “I am SOOOOO sorry!”
He forced a smile, still looking straight ahead and mumbled, “Yeah. No problem.”
It was a fluke. Inexperienced student gets a lucky strike on his teacher. Strategists sometimes warn that the most dangerous opponent is the inexperienced one since they are the most unpredictable. They may be willing to try anything but lack control of their techniques. Zeal with no control or discipline.
Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?”
John 18:10-11 (NKJV)
Jesus’ disciple, Simon Peter, desperately wanted to defend His Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, when He was arrested by the Pharisees and the high priests in the Garden of Gethsemane. In a bold and wild effort to defend Jesus, Peter drew his sword and cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant. We know this was without the approval of Jesus since Dr. Luke records in his gospel, the miraculous action of Jesus a few moments later.
But Jesus answered and said, “Permit even this.” And He touched his ear and healed him.
Luke 22:51 (NKJV)
Zeal with no control or discipline. Peter’s three years with Jesus were marked by impulsiveness but good intentions. It would take the Resurrection and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit given by the Risen Christ to transform Peter into one of the pillars of the early Church.
Like Peter, I have struggled with control and discipline, with my feeble attempts at karate and more importantly in my spiritual walk with God. Only through the power of the Holy Spirit am I able to learn to control my zeal and direct attention away from my actions and honor God with my life.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.