The Journey Upward

As we progress in our BJJ journey and climb up the ranks, we will discover that there are fewer peers pushing us and requiring us to progress to the next level of our game. Those who once were tapping us, no longer have the same advantage. As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens [and influences] another (Proverbs 27:17). To climb higher up the mountain in our BJJ journey, as in our spiritual walk, requires us to live a lifestyle of exerted and sustained effort, discipline, and sacrifice; something that many will unfortunately reject.

The reality is, that as we steward our talents, time and resources effectively, we will inevitably find that some of those who were once ahead of us now lag behind us. We find less company at each ascending level. This can initially be disorienting – since those in whom we once found direction and inspiration hold less influence. Additionally, we all hold a God-given desire for fellowship which can become a challenge to obtain higher up the mountain.

 Spiritually, we will find that fewer people have our same values, revelation, convictions, lifestyle, and focus. As we continue to seek God and His will in our lives, He is faithful to bring along and sustain friends, mentors and teachers for each season; with Him being the ultimate friend and teacher.

An important point is that we never become above our teachers. Instead, we are to build upon the foundation that they have set before us. Remembering that we are one interconnected Body, where one’s strength is all of our strength and conversely if one is sick we are all afflicted. Our role is to encourage one another to continue on their journey while challenging and partnering with each to progress up the mountain.

 “The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.” – Luke 6:40

In order to progress in BJJ, there is no substitute for mat time. You can have all the natural talent and ability in the world, but if you do not develop and cultivate these skills and abilities your growth will be stunted and your Jiu Jitsu weak. Similarly, to progress spiritually and, in fact, to succeed in life, there is no alternative for spending time with God: reading and reflecting on His Word, being in prayer, and putting His Word into practice (i.e. obedience).

We are all on the mountain, though some have remained at the base. The goal is for each of us to steadily walk up, not sit at one level or backslide down. Moses found that when he went up on the mountain, the cloud of glory covered it and he was face to face speaking with God. He returned with a radiance that reflected God’s glory to all. (Exodus 24:15, 34:29). Upon beholding the glory of the Lord through the Holy Spirit, we as Believers are being transformed into his image reflecting His glory which impacts our environments and brings freedom (2 Corinthians 3:18).  Unfortunately, many choose to stay at lower levels where it requires less effort, where they are familiar and comfortable, where there is less perceived risk, and consequently where is requires less faith; at this place there is simultaneously less glory, fulfillment and victory.

How we spend our time and talents reveals our priorities, determines our direction, and ultimately communicates what we believe. Life can get in the way of coming to BJJ class, attending church, and our devotional and prayer time. However, it all comes down to a decision of priorities. Does God reign supreme in our hearts and daily lives? Do we believe that we can do nothing of significance in our own power outside of Jesus Christ? Even BJJ should not come between you and your relationship with God. BJJ has the ability to teach and instill a discipline that can be transferred to and enrich your spiritual practices. All of our talents are given by God and it all belongs to God. How we invest them, or lack thereof does not go unnoticed and unrewarded. As we progress up the mountain we will surely hear:

“Well done good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” – Matthew 25:23

  • 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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