The BJJ Black Belt: Refiner’s Fire

The Jiu Jitsu black belt: an average ten-plus year road of continually being crushed on the mat mentally, physically, and emotionally. It is a journey where you come out changed from when you first walked in. You step on the mat only to be humbled; where there is always someone with more skill and ability, someone who is younger, faster, stronger, and smarter. This is a surety. You will continually be faced with trials and will be tested time and again. It is a process that will refine and mold anyone.

“Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivers him out of them all.” – Psalm 34:19

Let there be no mistake, we are all in the Refiner’s fire. What separates the mature from the immature, the strong from the weak is whether they stay in the heat rather than forfeit the process. By what other means would it take for us to be purified? Through these trials, and at times suffering, God is removing the impurities that are promised to corrode us with time and keep us from fulfilling our fullest God-given potential. It is a process that builds up and calls out an exemplary character and leadership that is reflected in all of us (2 Corinthians 3:18). By giving Him the reigns of our lives and allowing God to mold us, we will gain freedom from our bad habits, be forced out of our comfort zones, be provided with knowledge and wisdom (Isaiah 48:6), experience a strengthening and healing, and be led on the most fulfilling adventure of our lives.

“Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” –Isaiah 48:10

At each new level there will be new trials. In Jiu Jitsu, for example, as a white belt just starting out, you are crushed by almost everyone at the academy. The moment you are promoted to blue belt, the remaining white belts begin hunting after the belt you have achieved and are aiming to beat you. Simultaneously, the current blue belts, who now view you on their level, take you more seriously and, thus roll harder as well. This new challenge may taper off for a period as you grow your skills set. However, upon being promoted to purple belt, so the process goes again.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1:2-4

The longer we train BJJ, the better we are able to understand the game, connect the pieces, and put into practice what we have learned. Similarly, the longer and closer we walk with God and the more we grow in our faith, the more equipped and skilled we become, where the fruits of the Spirit are more evidently manifested, we are able to rightly handle the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15), and ultimately reflect Jesus more clearly in the world around us. At the same time, Satan will be upping the ante on his attacks to take you off track. As you become stronger in God, you may not always initially feel stronger amidst the trials. You are strength training. While your walk does not get easier through the process you are getting stronger, developing endurance, and becoming more capable.

“So that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;” – 1 Peter 1:7

Let us not forfeit the training process but instead stay on the mat and in the fire. There is always more to learn. And God always meets us where we are. And in His presence and through the journey we cannot remain unchanged. He is completing a good work in us and He is Mighty to see it through to perfection.

 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” – 2 Timothy 4:7

  • Written by Amy Passos

About Amy Passos

Amy is the Managing Director of Team Passos Jiu Jitsu. She is a believer and witness that Jesus performs miracles and uses Jiu Jitsu as a tool to change lives. Amy has a background in organizational development and international economic development. She is passionate about entrepreneurship and business to advance human flourishing. She believes that the most beautiful thing in life is someone enjoying the work of their hands while pursuing their passions to realize their purpose and potential. Amy enjoys cycling, strength training, traveling,

and exploring life.

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