When I watch Naruto, I’m always in awe of the unrelenting passion and drive I see in the characters, particularly in the ones from the Hidden Leaf. Passion and drive are very commonly seen in characters of that type of anime, but for me, in Naruto I also see the sincere pain, frustration and struggle that make the characters so endearing and enjoyable to watch.
These same traits can also make them very convicting to watch.
I see that passion in my own life for God’s plans and goals much less than I would like. I’ve never had passion as a distinguishing trait and I let challenges not only in my Christian walk but in other areas in my life keep me back or throw me into despair far too often.
Even Shikamaru with his overt tendency towards laziness and the easy way left me behind with one phrase shortly after Asuma died. He rose to the challenge of fighting the two seemingly undefeatable immortal Akatsuki Hidan and Kakuzu. Tsunade tries to tell him not to go, that he will only fail and he says…
“I don’t want to give up without setting things straight. I don’t want to live a crappy life like that.”
……Oh, it hit hard… Because, you know what? As a Christian, I don’t want to live a life like that either. I want that passion and drive to claw my way through pain, frustration, negative comments and anything else that comes. To be like Naruto was during change of nature training episodes. Every time he thought of giving up, an image of Sasuke would flash through his mind and that was all he needed through frustration, physical pain and exhaustion. It needs to be that way with me and Christ!
To be so focused on one goal as to endure anything that comes. That is a trait of almost every shinobi. In a way, Christians need to be like shinobi as Jiraiya defined them while speaking to Orochimaru:
“You never did get it, a real ninja is one who endures….”
Through hate, struggle, and persecution…with love and a smile. A Christian is one who endures.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
(2 Timothy 4:7 ESV)