The Right Path

After three seasons as rivals, Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence attempt to put their differences aside and work together to defeat John Kreese in season four of Cobra Kai. At the end of season three, the three make a deal that if Miyagi-Do or Eagle Fang win the All-Valley Karate Tournament, then Kreese and Cobra Kai would leave and never return. But if Cobra Kai wins, Daniel’s and Johnny’s schools would both close for good. Can Daniel and Johnny overcome their decades-long rivalry to defeat their common enemy, John Kreese, and his returning Cobra Kai co-founder and war buddy, Terry Silver?

 

*Please note, this trailer includes some profanity.

The Right Way
Through every season of Cobra Kai, Daniel and Johnny disagree over whose style of karate is best. Daniel thinks that his defensive style of karate, Miyagi-Do—learned from the late Mr. Miyagi—is the only right way; while Johnny’s style—his brand of Cobra Kai karate he calls “Eagle Fang”—is too aggressive and dangerous. Likewise, Johnny believes that Miyagi-Do is too soft and that kids must be strong to face the real world. Thus, the Miyagi-Do and Eagle Fang partnership suffers constant tension throughout season four, eventually splitting.

However, during the finals of the All-Valley Karate Tournament, Daniel comes to a realization: there is no one right karate style for everyone. As Mr. Miyagi taught him when he was younger, everyone must eventually choose his or her own way. Daniel feared the influence that Johnny was having on Sam, but he realizes that there is a benefit of learning both karate styles. Daniel gives Sam his blessing to use whichever style she wishes, also deciding to have Johnny join him as coach for the championship fight.

Follow Your Own Path
Many characters seek to find themselves and discover their own way in season four. For example, midway through the season, Miguel shares with Daniel his uncertainties about life after high school. Daniel responds that his own path “wasn’t a straight line” and that Miguel’s path “is still being written.” Likewise, our lives don’t always go according to plan. Some students know exactly which college they want to attend and what they want to study. Others change their majors multiple times or even forego college and head straight into the workforce after high school. Life throws us curveballs and doesn’t always go as expected.

Johnny and Daniel accept that there is no best karate style, which is true of many other aspects of life. There is no one right musical instrument, sport, or field of study. You may prefer the violin while someone else prefers the trumpet. You may excel at math while your friend excels at basketball. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Cobra Kai shows that anyone can become a champion if they find the style that works best for them. In that sense, there are many roads which lead up to the top of the mountain of being a master, not just a single route.

The Narrow Road
However, we should not take the idea of following our own paths to an extreme (Prov. 16:9 NKJV). There is a significant difference between something being objectively true versus subjectively true. It is objectively true that 2+2=4. However, your favorite ice cream or preferred instrument is going to be relative to each person. The question is, how does this relate to religion in general and Christianity in particular? There are a plethora of different religions and worldviews, but they cannot all be right, as they claim mutually exclusive facts about reality.

Jesus claimed to be the objectively true revelation of God. Jesus is said to be the exact representation of God’s being (Heb. 1:3), the very image of God (Col. 1:15), and he states if you have seen him, you’ve seen God the Father (John 14:9). Jesus later validates his claims to be the reliable image of God by resurrecting from the dead. Therefore, we can trust when he says he is exclusively the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6) when it comes to salvation.

The world teaches that there are many roads to salvation, but Jesus taught otherwise. He said that the road to destruction is broad, while the road to life is narrow (Matt. 7:13-14). There may be many paths to becoming a karate champion, but there is only one path to God, and it is through Jesus. The Bible tells us plainly that “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

“Follow Me”
Cobra Kai season four teaches important lessons to both the adults and the students. Johnny and Daniel learned there is no one right style of karate for everyone, and the students learned that they needed to find which style worked best for them. This holds true for many aspects of life, such as choosing a college major or career. However, this is not true for religion. We often hear that all paths lead to God, but that cannot be true, due to the exclusive nature of the world’s religions. The world may say we can follow our own path to salvation, but Jesus says, “Follow me.”

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Timothy Fox

Timothy Fox has a passion to equip the church to engage the culture. He is a part-time math teacher, full-time husband and father. He has an M.A. in Christian Apologetics from Biola University as well as an M.A. in Adolescent Education of Mathematics and a B.S. in Computer Science, both from Stony Brook University. Tim lives on Long Island, NY with his wife and children. He also blogs at freethinkingministries.com, and you can follow him on Twitter at @TimothyDFox.