In the magnificent movie The Last Samurai, Tom Cruise plays a character by the name of Algren, an ex-United States Army Captain. In the movie, the westernized Japanese Imperial Army recruits Algren, because he is a decorated warrior, to help train their soldiers to defeat the ancient samurai warriors.
Within days of his arrival in Japan, Algren is informed that he must quickly train the Japanese army for immediate battle with the samurai. Algren obstinately tells the head of the Japanese army that the troops are not ready for any battle, much less against the ancient samurai warriors who rely solely on their swords and armor. He had been training the Japanese soldiers on the use of American guns and ammunition and recognized they were not yet proficient. It was obvious the samurai were superior warriors and the Imperial army would be easily defeated.
Algren is reluctantly forced into battle with his unprepared army. They battle against each other until the samurai warriors defeat the Imperial army and take Algren captive.
During the battle, Chief Samurai Katsumoto notices Algren’s valiant skills and great passion to survive. As a result, the chief samurai befriends Algren while he is confined at the samurai camp. Over the next year, Algren is captivated with the samurai lifestyle and becomes very skilled in samurai warfare.
During the brutal, final battle scene of the movie, most of the samurai die, including Katsumoto, who becomes known as the last samurai. Algren is also wounded and in deep emotional pain because his good friend Katsumoto has died at the hands of the Japanese army.
A few days later, Algren presents Katsumoto’s sword to the young Japanese emperor. As Algren walks up to the young Emperor, he respectfully bows and lowers his head. As Algren is frozen in his submitted pose, he offers up the last samurai’s sword to the young emperor.
The young emperor says, “Tell me, how did he die?”
Algren looks into his eyes and—with great pain and agony—says, “I will not tell you how he died, I will tell you how he lived.”
We are no longer called to die (to the flesh) we are called to live!
And if Christ be in you, the flesh is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. (Romans 8:10)
It’s now the time to remember, your flesh is already dead and you will “live lighter today” as you discover your life in God.