Closest Thing to Jesus

When you enter a new academy for the first time, you will make a decision about training there based on your experience: what it looks like (what it smells like!), what the students are like, how they are interacting, what the instructor is like. How does the instructor talk with his/her students? Are the students respectful? For instance, whether or not they welcome you, or even acknowledge you for that matter. Do they practice good BJJ etiquette? You see, all of these aspects will begin to shape how you see that particular academy; its instructor(s) and its students. They will frame your opinion and help you make the choice as to whether you will train there or not. All these factors reflect who we are as an academy, as instructors and as students. That is why how we present ourselves is so important…You never get a second chance at a first impression!

Take inventory of what our own academies looks like. Is it clean and tidy? Are we respecting the space that we get to train in? Do we speak with respect to each other and are we friendly and approachable? Do we acknowledge new people and welcome them with open arms into our BJJ Family? Or, do we wait for sparring and make sure they know who is “Top Dog” in this Academy? A new student’s only knowledge of BJJ will be made based on their experience of you.

Someone once said to me, “You could be the closest thing to Jesus!” Now, they were not saying I lead a perfect and sinless life! They were explaining that people’s experience of who Jesus is can be illustrated through us. We must allow our behavior, our words, and our actions to speak for us. We must behave in such a manner that non-Christians see something different which will help spark their interest in who this Jesus is. You may be the one testimony that someone needs for them to begin to travel their own faith journey. They may not have any friends that believe in God. They may work in a tough, backstabbing, or high-pressured environment. They may have never walked into a church or have ever heard worship music. YOU may be the only illustration of who Jesus is. This means everything you do is highly important both on and off the mats. Christ tells us that we are the “light and salt of the earth” (Matthew 5 13-16). This means He wants us to shine and to season. He wants us to shine brightly because we are filled by His Holy Spirit and He wants us to give flavor to the world, as salt brings out the flavor of a meal. Hebrews 12:14 tells us “ to make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy, without holiness no one will see the Lord''.

So next time you are around a non-Christian just think, “I could be the closest thing to Jesus” and let that thought motivate your behavior for God.

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