There’s a scene in The Matrix where Neo (Keanu Reeves) triumphantly announces to Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) that he knows Kung Fu. The master raises an eyebrow to Neo and says, “Show me.” The following sparring scene in the matrix’d dojo is, well, awesome, but also what my friend Henry calls “a teachable moment.”
Morpheus is effortlessly fighting Neo, who’s being fierce and forceful–and losing. “Stop trying to hit me and hit me!” Morpheus commands. And while Neo shows promise, he is still bound by the little box he’s put himself in.
Morpheus knows this and tries to explain it to him–free your mind, Neo.
Neo justs looks at him. He doesn’t get it. And then Morpheus says, “You think that’s air you’re breathing? Hmm,” and he leaves the dojo with Neo’s dim whitted lightbulb just starting to flicker.
Last night I got kicked in the head while in God’s dojo. We spar often because it’s what I need to “get it” a lot of the time. However, my attitude last night was dripping with, “Yeah, yeah, I got it.”
Flipping through His word like a teenager asked to study math, I sighed…I already know Kung Fu.
And I landed at Mark 3:16 where the 12 disciples are listed:
“These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter), James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder); Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot 19and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.”
Wait, where are Mark and Luke? What… I read and re-read the list. Did I know that Mark and Luke weren’t among the 12? Did I forget? Is this a typo?
You think that’s air you’re breathing? I hear whispered in my head.
Me and Neo suffer from the same condition: we think we know our Kung Fu when we don’t. Neo and I are sitting in our neatly constructed boxes of self-awareness and it isn’t until our Masters come and roundhouse kick those walls down that we get it.
Our Masters are trying to show us that we need to open our minds up to the truth–we have a lot to learn. Jesus isn’t frustrated by me putting Him in a box as much as He is by me putting myself in one. When I think I know it all, I limit myself and all I am intended to be.
I need to walk into God’s dojo (the place of reading and prayer where I learn the discipline of being His follower) and ask, “what do you want to teach me, Master?”
So, the next time you think your spiritual Kung Fu rocks, remember there is still a lot to be learned. We have not yet arrived. And we do have a Master who is eager to teach if we will get out of our box. When we are out of our box we are His best tool for others to know Him and feel His love in this world.