One of my favorite movies growing up was Disney’s Mulan. One of the more well-loved parts of the movie was the training montage in the military camp that Mulan joins under the guise of a man named Ping. Shang shoots an arrow to the top of a tall pole and holds two weights: one representing discipline, the other representing strength. Every soldier in the camp had to try to climb to the arrow while carrying those two weights.
Nobody succeeds in doing so, which leads into the famous training montage song “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.”
Today’s passage from 1 Peter is reminiscent of that training montage. He asks us not to give into the vices you’d hear about in Top 40 music like clubbing or getting drunk or giving our love freely to complete and total strangers. We will be held accountable for our actions, so proceed with caution ladies.
That’s the weight of discipline that we have to carry. It doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, conducting ourselves with discipline. But I’ve heard stories of women seeking happiness through what the world says is good and coming out of it all feeling empty. In contrast, women who lead lives with dignity and serve others find life to be fulfilling and meaningful.
The second part of today’s passage emphasizes loving one another, serving each other with God’s grace, and letting God be in all the things that we do. When we serve, we do so with the weight of God’s strength. It was through serving others with God’s strength that I was able to get out of my post-college crisis and work towards becoming an independent adult. However, we can’t live our lives with just discipline or God’s strength.
We have to combine them.Towards the end of “I’ll Make a Man Out of You,” Shang tells Mulan to go home because she’s constantly failing in their training drills. As she leaves for home, she passes by the pole and figures out how to get the arrow from the top. She ties the weights together and uses the strength and discipline to pull herself up, step by step. The sun rises on the camp as she gets closer and closer to the top. Shang steps out of his tent and finds the arrow thrown to the ground, with Mulan sitting on the top of the pole, victorious. After that, the soldiers are able to improve in their drills, with Mulan becoming the most improved one of all.
We may not be part of a real army (unless you’re actually in the military, in which case, more power to you), but we can all use strength and discipline in our lives. It takes strength and discipline to handle a room full of noisy little kids without losing your patience. It takes strength and discipline to deal with co-workers and bosses we may not always get along with. It takes strength and discipline to cope with the changes that life throws at us.
This strength and discipline doesn’t come from ourselves, but from God.
Today’s featured song is “Press On” by Building 429 featuring Blanca Callahan. The song talks about enduring the daily hardships while fully relying on God to get through it all.
I pray that God gives us the strength and discipline to press on in our lives, dearest sisters in Christ.