Have you watched the classic movie “The Mask of Zorro?” I sure have! More than once…
The story opens as Alejando’s brother, Joaquin is murdered by Captain Love, giving his life so his little brother can escape. Days later, Captain Love rides up to the tavern where Alejandro is drinking away his grief and anger. Our hero stumbles up, sword in hand, determined to fight.
An old man in a poncho quickly disarms him with a walking stick and tells him to be quiet and sit down. “But I would have fought and killed him to avenge my brother,” Alejandro angrily objects.
“No my friend” the old man replies softly. “You would have fought very bravely and died very quickly.”
The old man, of course, is Zorro and he offers to train the young and reckless Alejandro. Alejandro agrees and thus begins the gruelling months of intense training.
We see Alejandro doing push ups over lit candles with Zorro’s feet on his back, stick in hand to ensure proper form.
We hear Zorro repeatedly tell his young protege he is pushing too fast. “Slow.” He repeats over and over until finally, Alejandro’s form and skill begin to match his passion.
But the most important lesson is the hardest. The one that will mean either success or failure of Alejandro’s mission. Internal self control. Although growing to be a skilled swordsman, his emotions still control him. This is where he nearly gives up and exits Zorro’s tutelage.
This is the lesson Jesus is teaching me. Emotions are a wonderful gift, but they can control us if we allow them to. We are to be led by the Spirit of God in self control, not led by our emotions.
When we swim in seas of emotion, we end up in shark infested waters. We live in a society driven by emotion and we are diving deeper into confusion and chaos as we reject the Teacher’s Truth. In the midst of this emotional chaos, we followers of Jesus must choose a different path.
Alejandro had no idea Zorro had far bigger plans than simply avenging his brother. Had he refused Zorro’s training offer, and not stuck with the long painful training, he would never have fulfilled his mission to become the next Zorro, and the people of California would not have been saved.
The process of becoming equipped is as important as it is uncomfortable. We can give up and exit Jesus’ training program to be comfortable and safe, but in doing so, we also give up our destiny. When we are blindsided with difficult things, do we see it as learning to overcome through the tutelage of the Holy Spirit, or do we allow emotion to take us down?
Will we commit to stick out the training process no matter how long it lasts or how difficult it becomes knowing we see only a small part of the broader mission God has for us, trusting His careful teaching?
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last for ever. 1 Corinthians 9:25