“Now, when we fought, you had that eye of the tiger, man; the edge! And now you gotta get it back, and the way to get it back is to go back to the beginning. You know what I mean?”
-Apollo Creed, Rocky III
I love sports movies. I mean, I LOVE sports movies. They are one of only two genres (the other being dog movies) to which men can openly weep.
An integral part (meaning cliche) of sports movies is the training montage. There comes a point in the film, often after the hero has suffered an agonizing defeat, during which we get a bunch of quick cuts of the hero engaging in all of the fundamentals of his/her sport set to an awesome rock song.
Early on in Rocky III, Rocky suffers a severe beating at the hands of Clubber Lang. Clubber is an absolute monster, but the real problem is that in his success, Rocky had become overconfident, and his training had become lax. After a physical recovery, Rocky is taken aside by his former Nemesis, Apollo Creed, who offers to train him. And his solution to training is to go back to the basics.
During the montage, Apollo puts Rocky through all the fundamentals we saw in the first two films: physical conditioning, road work, the heavy bag, the speed bag, and sparring. And in the course of the montage we see Rocky transform.
Because, in all things (especially in sports movies), a focus on the basics creates change.
The same is true with our spiritual lives. In order to succeed - success being measured by how much like Christ we are becoming - we must engage in the practices in which Christ engaged. IN ORDER TO BECOME LIKE JESUS WE MUST DO THE THINGS THAT JESUS DID.
“...whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”
1 John 2:6 (ESV)
In church parlance, we refer to these practices as the spiritual disciplines. These disciplines are the way in which Jesus walked. Which means they are the way in which those who claim his name, those who abide in Him, should walk.
Once a month, I’ll be writing you a blog post about one of the various spiritual disciplines referenced in the Bible, explaining its importance and relevance, and giving a suggestion or two on how to practice it.
These are the things Jesus did. They are the things countless generations of Christ followers have done. They are not outdated, unnecessary, or the purview of “super disciples”. They are the fundamentals upon which we can build a strong relationship with, and faith in, Jesus.
Rocky had the eye of the tiger.
You can have the eye of the lamb.
Think about it.
Note: the last line is so cheesy you could pour it over tortilla chips for a delicious snack, but it essentially wrote itself and I could not bring myself to edit it out.