When Our True Hero is Not on the Mat

We may be tempted to seek other things apart from God to fulfill us. In our day-to-day routine, our spiritual enthusiasm may at times wane. Or we may have never truly experienced the power of God’s presence that we are instead led us to seek pleasures other than God to fulfill our emptiness. Ultimately this is idolatry. God designed us to be fully fulfilled through nothing else besides Him. Our families, career, and even Jiu Jitsu are complimentary, but nothing can substitute an authentic, personal, and on-going relationship with a living and present God. He is our ultimate fulfillment. When we turn to anything other than God to satisfy us, we set ourselves up for disappointment.

At times, students of Jiu Jitsu, and often those newer to the sport have a tendency to elevate the art of Jiu Jitsu, their instructor, their team, etc. to a high place of esteem. This in an of itself is not an issue but can lead to setting unrealistic expectations that none but God can fulfill. An example is a student who becomes so mesmerized by the new skills their instructor imparts that the student places that instructor as the ultimate authority and dominate influence in their BJJ journey and even their lives. Idolatry, or exalting anyone or any thing, whether it be the art of BJJ itself, the instructor, an MMA fighter, etc., is an Achilles heel for our all-around development, from learning BJJ to growing into the man or woman that God is calling us to.

Our Jiu Jitsu instructors have a level of authority and hold important value to teach and guide us in their Jiu Jitsu knowledge and insights on the mat. A student is not greater than their teacher. But the student who is full trained will become like the teacher (Luke 6:40). The line becomes when the student or even the instructor themselves become blinded to their own flaws or vulnerabilities. Where their own opinions and perspective takes precedence and trumps that of their ultimate guide, the Holy Spirit.

And those who make idols are just like them, as are all who trust in them. — Psalm 115:8

Scripture tells us that the consequence of elevating anything above God, or by trusting in idols we will end up like those idols, broken and disappointed – every time. Huge disappointment and disillusionment will follow when one’s idols will inevitably reveal their own vulnerabilities and weaknesses, when they mistake or do not measure up, because they are not God after all. For example when we become disillusioned with Jiu Jitsu after our dream of becoming a black belt requires enduring years of hard training and commitment. Those who expect an easy ride soon find out how wrong they were. It is not fair to us, the idols, or to God to put anything on a pedal stood or even on the same footing as our Lord Jesus.

Thankfully, God offers an incomparable alternative. He promises that in His presence there is fullness of joy; at His right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11). Jesus promises that “those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again” (John 4:14). The joy that He offers is way beyond what the world can offer. It is more satisfying and sweeter than even the sweetest taste the world can offer.

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. — Psalm 28:7

Whenever we become tempted to idolize BJJ, its hero, legend, or any other thing, remember that it is far-outmatched by both God and the joy He promises! As we seek Him He will reveal Himself, as we offer praise and thanksgiving, we enter His glorious and manifest presence by which nothing else compares.

Anyone who believes in Him [Jesus] will never be put to shame nor be disappointed. – Romans 10:11

  • Written by Kelvin Yudianto

About Kelvin Yudianto

Kelvin Yudianto is a fresh white-belt BJJ practitioner. He became involved in this martial art after seeking a sport that offers both health and sense of community. He found both in BJJ and quickly becomes passionate about it. Apart from BJJ, Kelvin loves to read history and politics, being a student on both subjects. Originally from Indonesia, Kelvin is currently completing his studies in Canada.

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