Bruce Lee: What Makes Him the Best?


Bruce-Lee

There is not one martial art style superior or above others. History is showing us that the power is in the mixing of arts; MMA in the side of sports and advance military combat in the side of reality. The best is not found in styles, the best is found in the individual martial artist, his interpretation, his execution, his natural abilities, his dedication, his passion, his character and his impact in the lives of others. The legendary Bruce Lee, in his most popular quote, said,

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     I don’t agree with emptying our minds. The Bible does not tell us to empty our minds, but to transform our minds (Romans 12:2) However, I do agree with the rest of the quote.

     There was a time when Karate was the most popular art, then Kung Fu, Taekwondo and then Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. However, today everybody recognizes MMA, (Mix Martial Arts) I think that Bruce Lee was ahead of his time; he saw the power of mix martial arts before anybody did. However, I think that he saw beyond the mixing of martial arts; to a place where we have not step into yet.

Lee emphasised what he called “the style of no style”. This consisted of getting rid of the formalised approach which Lee claimed was indicative of traditional styles. Lee felt the system he now called Jun Fan Gung Fu was even too restrictive, and eventually evolved into a philosophy and martial art he would come to call Jeet Kune Do or the Way of the Intercepting Fist. It is a term he would later regret, because Jeet Kune Do implied specific parameters that styles connote; whereas the idea of his martial art was to exist outside of parameters and limitations.[46]

     It is said that before Bruce Lee died he closed all of his schools; perhaps he found his freedom. The great American Kickboxeer and one of the pioneers of full contact martial arts tournaments in the United States Joe Lewis said of Bruce Lee,

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Joe Lewis

“Bruce and I would only do drills related to combat. We did not give them names, such as Wing Chun etc. If it worked we used it and I have always trained that way. I do not care about names or styles, that is all garbage—and I mean garbage. Either your kick or choke worked or it didn’t: the style did not carry any super magic or extra powers.”   

     It is amazing to me that somebody that lived such short life caused such impact in the wonderful world of martial arts. That is the reason why, in my opinion and in the opinion of millions around the world, Bruce Lee was, is and forever will be the best martial artist of our era. 

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Promoted to the 5th Degree Black Belt


I want to take this opportunity to give glory to God. This weekend was a blessing to me. I came to the International Gospel Martial Arts Union Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. I was invited to teach, but the greatest blessing was to be able to learn from amazing, humble and Godly Martial Artist.

The GMAU tested me for Senior Sensei. I passed the test with a 92. Not perfect, that is because I have plenty of room for growth. But what an amazing privilege!
I was also promoted to the 5th Degree Black Belt. I was expecting to be promoted to the 4th degree, but that is the God I serve; He always out gives us.
I am very motivated to work even harder in our Casiano’s Martial Arts Program in Fairbanks, Ak.  I was ask to close the event in prayer; perhaps that was the greatest honor. I was in tears as the overwhelming presence of God touched my heart in a very special way.
I want to take this opportunity to recognize Dr. JR Russell, & 8th Dan GMAU President & Executive Director. I thank God for this man for his friendship and uncompromising commitment to the Lord. Dr. Russell is also a senior pastor and I can’t wait to visit his church tomorrow.
Also I want to thank God for Grandmaster, Mike Proctor who change my life as a martial arts instructor. It was so good to be able to fellowship with him this weekend.
My sincere thanks also to, 10th Dan Keith Yates; so glad I got to know him a little better. This man is one of the highest ranked martial artist in our country, but I thank God for his humility and passion for the Gospel and the great commission.
Praise the Living God and all glory to HIM!

Character, the Primary Reason I Teach Martial Arts


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Character is indeed the desired fruit of our labor. Matthew 7:16 tells us, “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?” (NKJV) We strive to present the Gospel and we believe that real heart changes can only take place when we are born again. I am aware that someone can be “good” and disciplined according to the world’s standard, however, rejecting Christ in our lives is the greatest demonstration of arrogance that we as humans can exhibit. It is like saying, we can be good and do good things without any need for God.

            I often showcase my program as one that goes beyond kicking and punching, that is because seeing changes in our students’ behavior towards their parents, in school and in society in general, will always take precedence over their skills as martial artists. You can be smart, but without character you demonstrate lack of wisdom. Intelligence has to do with your intellectual abilities, but wisdom has to do with a sharp discernment of what is right and what is wrong according to God’s standard. The very beginning of that wisdom is expressed in Proverbs 9:10, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” (KJV) It is important that we are not talking about being scared of God, but about having reverence for HIM.

            How do we develop that reverence to God? How do we increase in our love for HIM? How do we grow in the revelation that HE is worthy to be praised and worshiped? The key to our program in the development of character in our students is very simple, we teach the Word of God. The Bible tells us in Romans 10:15-17, “15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:

“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (NKJV)

            Speaking in a practical way, we start our classes in prayer, have the teaching portion, take time for a small devotional, and then finish with our creed, “Sir, as we finish this class, I promise to pursue loving God above all things, to love others, to love myself and to use all of our talents for the glory of God and for the service of His people.” At Casiano’s Martial Arts, we recognize that we do not have the power to save anybody, not even ourselves, but we recognize that we can be used by All Mighty God to plant and to water kingdom seeds. (1 Corinthians 13:6)

Martial Arts Personal Philosophy


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I don’t have my own martial arts style; but I do have a personal philosophy. It is not new or original, I don’t think, but it is not a part of the mainstream thinking in the wonderful world of martial arts.

            I was comfortable with my boxing, Kickboxing and Taekwondo experience; mixed in with some Shotokan and Kung Fu. However my life as a Martial Artist changed when I took one small class with Master Michael Proctor. My eyes were opened to take a close look at a reality I already knew, but ignored, the reality that the world has become a very violent place. The rules of street fighting have dramatically changed.

            The unwritten rules of fighting fair are now out the door. People actually enjoy just TKO an innocent person who they don’t even know. The victim could be a young man, young lady, a pregnant woman, a mom with her baby or even a senior citizen. They love to take videos of these innocent victims getting TKO and place them in Youtube. Almost immediately those videos go viral. As you read the comments it is not strange to find LOL, “Laughing out loud.” Can you explain to me how can these events be comical to anybody? It is the society we are living in today.

            Master Proctor presented the statistics. One in particular stayed on my mind since. A woman is raped in our nation every six seconds. As a married man and a father of four daughters, I then started a journey to deeply judge what I knew, the kinds of tournaments I participated in, my street fights and the traditional martial arts and how to reconcile all that with the brutality of the streets.

            I am a work in progress, but I have come to very strong convictions as it refers to my approach to teaching martial arts to my students. To start with, I don’t believe in Forms as practical tools of self-defense. I know this will create problems with many of my martial arts colleagues, but I can’t find much practicality in the use of forms. Forms are pretty, but real street fights are not. The way we practice is the way we will react. The constant practice of throwing punches with one hand while placing the other by your ribs or even waist, it is not practical, but indeed very dangerous and it is one of the many aspects that throw me off regarding forms.

            Just the other day I was talking to a military man who told me the story of this great martial arts instructor who used to specialize in teaching police officers. As he taught how to disarm an attacker with a knife and gun he would go down a line of officers, have them point at him with the weapon, one by one, he would disarm them very quickly, effectively, and then return the weapon to the officer in training. He was just teaching, no problem, right? One day this instructor found himself in a real life situation, he followed his training and quickly disarmed the attacker, but he made one mistake, he gave the weapon back to the attacker as he did countless times in the training of others. That day, had there not been additional police intervention, the instructor would have facilitated his own death.

            I am also turned off by the athletic and talented martial artist who comes up with a system that is very effective for him, but totally obsolete to the average human being such as myself. He is able to defend himself based on who he is and his natural abilities. I can try the same techniques and get killed. It is not that his techniques are no good, but they are no good for me unless I possess the same degree of athletic prowess.

            So, do I use forms? Yes, but only as an aerobic exercise, as a show and to demonstrate disciple, as everybody must learn each one of those moves. But in terms of self-defense I look for what is either universally effective or effective to that particular person. For example, I do not only teach the Taekwondo way of throwing the sidekick, but I also teach the Shotokan and the Kung Fu way. I let the students find what actually work better for them.

            This may sound unprofessional, but I love to watch Youtube videos of real street fights; those videos give a fountain of information and a better assessment of what could work or not. I do teach a pattern of a self-defense techniques, the natural way a human body will react to certain strikes and good logical follow ups. I also believe in applying pain in self-defense to give a time to escape, but I leave room for that student to find himself as a martial artist.

            In those Youtube videos I have seen men effectively defend themselves with a jab and cross; nothing fancy, just powerful 1-2 combinations. I have also seen a young man defending himself with reverse hook kicks to the face of an attacker. Some teach not to kick high, but for these young men it was easy to place a kick in the attacker’s head

            I am now in this wonderful journey of re-discovering myself as a martial artist. I still hold-on to some traditions; I still find Biblical principles to be the most valuable contribution of a martial arts instructor. However, when it comes down to self-defense we must find that middle ground between the safety of the dojo and the brutality of the street. For me, that teaching dynamic is a responsible approach to the sensitive topic self-defense; anything less is indeed irresponsible and dangerous for our students. My heart really goes out to martial artists who only train for the point system. They become champions and develop a false sense of security in their skills. When these same martial artist jumps to any full contact competition or when they find themselves in a life and death situation, they are the first ones to fall completely apart.

Excellence for the Martial Arts Instructor


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I have witnessed a tendency in the Body of Christ to do things with sloppiness. The philosophy behind such spirit is that the Lord knows our hearts, therefore, He accepts everything we do for HIM, and we are taught that quality is not really important.

            From music, to dancing and sports, no doubt we can say, that the world is ahead of us in terms of quality and excellence. However, the Bible gives us countless examples that clearly demonstrate that we ought to be the best of the best in everything we do.

            From Noah, who build the Ark; to Abraham, whom the Bible describes as the father our faith to Joseph who became the second most powerful man in the most powerful nation of those days to Moses who followed in detail all the instructions God gave him in the building of the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant. What can we say about David? Can we say that his son Solomon lacked excellence? We go all the way to the excellence of Daniel and, this is just to mention a few.

            The Bible tells us in Psalm 33:3 “Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.” (KJV) So why are we allowing people that can’t sign do so in the church. This takes us to the following point, why do we lower the standards in Christian Martial Arts? The Bible tells us in 2 Samuel 2:35, “He trains my hands for battle, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.” (NASB) This is, without a doubt, the description of a powerful martial artist. As a Christian Martial Arts Instructor we must be ready for battle, physically and emotionally. We most do things with excellence and passion.

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.” Ecclesiastes 9:10 (KJV)

Martial Arts Instructor as an Elder


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The topic for this Essay does not necessarily provide a window to argue against viewing a Martial Arts Instructor as an Elder; but it did cause me to stop and reflect on the possibility. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that when I started teaching Martial Arts, I was an Elder at my church. By then, I already had certain zeal for the Lord and the things of God that I believe were very useful for the proper functioning of this ministry.

            I don’t think that you have to be necessarily and Elder to be a Senior Martial Arts Instructor in a Christian school, but without a doubt, possessing the qualifications of an Elder is crucial in the process of impacting lives, not only with the kicking and punching, but most importantly, with the Gospel. First Timothy 3:2-7, A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.” (KJV)

            In these verses we specifically see 16 characteristics of an Elder. Without a doubt, each one of these qualifications could serve as self-assessment guidance before considering the title of Christian Martial Arts Instructor. Lets take a brief look at some definitions in the original language.

  1. Blameless: “To seize. One who has nothing which an adversary could seize upon with which to base a charge.”[1] This speaks of taking our personal testimonies serious. It is not perfection, but it is pursuing perfection; somebody that truly has his/her DNA doing, not only the right thing, but the Godly thing in every situation.

  2. Husband of one wife: Does this mean the disqualification of the divorcees? Some believe so. I believe that we are talking about a man who is married and who is faithful to his wife, a good husband.

  3. Vigilant: “To be sober. Sober, temperate, self–controlled, especially in respect to wine.” As martial artist we also teach self-control, not only in terms of what we eat and drink, but also as we face potentially violent situations.

  4. Sober: “Discreet, sober, temperate, of a sound mind (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:8; 2:2, 5); self–disciplined in one’s freedom, self–restrained in all passions and desires.”[2] This characteristic seems to reinforce the prior, however, this one seems to focus more on mental and emotional control.

  5. Of good behavior: Behavior is obviously what others can see. An Elder is a person who knows how to carry himself appropriately in public.

  6. Hospitable: A hospitable person is a cordial person. However, this implies more than being cordial. This is a person that is actually bringing people to his/her house. During the time of the disciples, as they preached from town to town, they encouraged their people to be hospitable. They did not necessarily stayed in five star hotels. They stayed with one another. So I add that a hospitable person is a person that loves people. Dealing with people in our jobs and communities is one thing, but to bring them to your home is a whole different ball game.

  7. Apt to teach: An Elder must be clear in sound doctrine. It is not that he knows it all, but he knows the foundational teachings of the apostles.

  8. Not given to wine: Not a drunk

  9. No striker: “A striker, a violent person, figuratively a reviler, one who by reproachful and upbraiding language wounds the conscience of his brethren, a contentious person, a quarreler (1 Tim. 3:3; Titus 1:7).”[3] A striker is an instigator. A martial artist is to never start a fight, but to actually avoid them. Fighting is the absolute last resort. To teach our students this important principle is one of the most important teachings of a Christian Martial Arts Instructor.

  10. Not greedy of filthy lucre: With the commercialization of Martial Arts it is very easy to place our focus on making money. A Christian Martial Arts Instructor is not focused on money, but His primary desire is to serve the Lord. I don’t have any problem with making a living, but as a Christian Martial Artist we should care about the condition of people’s souls more than about their ability to pay. In my years of teachings martial arts I have never rejected anyone for inability to pay. I work with everybody. Yes, some will take advantage of that, but they will not last long; most importantly, they will hear the Gospel before leaving. That is the reason why I don’t make Martial Arts my primary source of income; I follow the example of the Apostle Paul who actually worked with his own hands to make a living. That gave him the flexibility to minister.

  11. Patient: “Fair, equitable. Fitting, appropriate, suitable, proper, to be lenient, yielding, unassertive.” [4] We have students with different abilities and different attitudes. Patience is a key ingredient as we teach them and see them growing at their own pace. They are all different and they are all special in their own way.

  12. Not a brawler: “Without, and máchē (3163), battle, controversy. Not disposed to fight, not contentious or quarrelsome.” [5] We can clearly see the rejection of violence.

  13. Not Covetous: “without, and philárguros (5366), lover of money. Not fond of money or covetous.”[6] I think that we must remember, as Christian Martial Arts Instructors, that we are ministers first and then instructors. If we keep that in mind we should not be affected by the size or influence of other martial arts programs. We should be able to understand the vision and purpose that the Lord has given us and operate within that vision.

  14. One who rules well in his house: For some time I struggled with the proper definition of what this means. In the Bible we see great men like Prophet Samuel and Josiah, who were great before the Lord, but their sons were to the contrary. Does that make them bad fathers? Does that disqualify them from ministry? So as it refers to an elder ruling his house well, this is an elder who does not compromise in spite of his beloved children’s rebellion. Just as we rebel against All Mighty God, how much more our children are capable of rebelling against us?

  15. Not a novice: This is not a job for an inexperienced person. A Martial Arts Instructor should be well versed in whatever style they teach, but most importantly, they should be mature Christians. You need both!

  16. Good report in the community: Good testimony.

            May God help us all!

[1] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

[2] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

[3] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

[4] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

[5] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

[6] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

Do You Know yourself as a Martial Artist?


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Bill “Super foot” Wallace is an extraordinarily flexible kicker. He earns a living, still today, doing seminars around the world. As a former Kickboxer he retired un-defeated. I personally had the honor of taking one of his seminars in person. It was amazing! However, the reality is that the majority of martial artists I know will never be able to even come close to doing what Master Wallace can do. For the rest of us who do not possess a “Super Foot”, we could find ourselves very frustrated.

     Michael Jordan could spend the rest of his life teaching kids how to be like Mike, perhaps many will do well, but how many will grow to be as good or better than Michael? For sure, not many! In Michael Jordan’s case, people’s lives will not be in danger. However, in martial arts, it could cost getting your butt shamefully hurt or even killed in a real life situation.

     As martial artists, we should know ourselves enough to know the techniques that flow out of us as natural as breathing, speaking and walking. Those are the techniques that will perhaps, save our lives in a real life situation.

     As a responsible Martial Artist, I will teach you what I know, but most importantly, I will help you find yourself and what works for you. We will establish together, what is naturally easy for you to execute. I will encourage you to find the devastating power of simplicity as a Martial Artist. For some, it may be a lighting-fast Round Kick to the head. For others, it may be a simple slower front kick to the shin, as you distract your opponent. Whatever it may be, as long as you discover the power of your simplicity, your possibilities of survival will increase.

The Vision of Casiano’s Martial Arts


 Since I was a young teen I’ve had a passion for fighting. I will go as far as saying that I was filled with a violent spirit. I was always attracted by martial Arts, but martial arts cost money that my parents were not wiling to pay, so I engaged in boxing since it was free. I actually got involved in Martial Arts in my mid-twenties.

            When I became a Christian, somebody sent me an article that spoke very passionately against Christians getting involved with martial arts. I remember throwing away everything I had related to Martial Arts, trophies, equipment, certificate, etc. At least I knew that the spirit of violence was lifted out of me; it was not important to fight or compete anymore. I did not look back for five years.

            One morning, my prayer partner, James Burch, prophesied that God was going to use martial arts in my life for His glory. I told my friend that he was in the flesh. Shortly after that, there was a group of young people in my church who wanted me to teach them martial arts. They convinced me because I also saw the opportunity to minister the gospel to them. I told them to bring friends and they did.

            Even as I started teaching, I was not convinced that I was doing the right thing. All that changed when I saw people getting saved. Not only did student respond to the gospel, but also their parents. Unfortunately, I lost my passion for martial arts years ago. I don’t talk about martial arts, I don’t really read much about martial arts, but I saw it as an instrument to bring forth the gospel. Ministering the gospel is the foundational vision of our program.

            Two years ago I went to the Gospel Martial Arts Union Conference and took a small class with Master Michael Proctor. That class changed my life forever as a martial artist. I liked the traditional martial arts, but not presenting a way to defend ourselves from the brutality of the street, I considered us irresponsible. So my vision to my martial arts program is as follows.

“To present the gospel to the lost, to make disciples and to offer a high quality martial arts program where our students are able to defend themselves from the brutality of the streets by learning self defense without throwing a punch. That is, by avoiding certain situations, people, and places. However, in cases where physical self-defense is absolutely necessary, they will have the confidence and ability to apply simple, practical, and powerful techniques so their chances of coming out alive from those dangerous situations will be in their favor.”

Exercising the Spirit, the Soul and the Body in Martial Arts


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Even before I became a Christian, I was always impressed by the discipline and wisdom I saw in our martial arts heroes on TV and the movies. I was convinced that a martial artist was able to do everything. They look to me like they had some kind of special powers or something. As I became a Christian I recognized that many martial arts styles were filled with spirituality. However, something was lacking, they connected with the wrong source of spirituality.

 

     First Thessalonians 5:23 tells us, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (KJV)
Here Paul is writing to the Thessalonian church, he is informing the saints that he is praying that God sanctify them completely. To be sanctified is to be made holy. When we talk about holiness we are talking about being different from the world, we are talking about being separated for God. We can then expand by saying that God wants us, as Christians, to be holy physically, emotionally and spiritually.

 

     As I write this essay, I realize that perhaps Christian martial arts programs around the world are the only organizations that are able to fulfill this Bible verse. That is because we do our best to influence our students in all aspects, not only physically. Martial arts are designed to help us grow spiritually, mentally and physically. If our martial arts schools are all about stripes, bets and winning trophies in tournaments, we have lost sight of what this is all about. Lets address these three components individually.

 

Physically (Body)

 

     I had a friend who used to be a great athlete. He was one of the best volleyball players I have ever seen. Even as he was only 5’ 8”, he jumped so high and moved so fast that his stature was not really an issue. This same young man became a Christian some years later and, not too long after that, he was overweight and completely out of shape. I remember inviting him to play some volleyball and he will always say no, until one day, he quoted a Scripture he used to justify his physical condition and evidently, the physical condition of 90% of the members in our church. He quoted First Timothy 4:8, “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” (KJV) This man was an Elder in the church now and well respected, so I listened to what he had to say.

 

     One day I decided to really take a closer look at that verse of First Timothy 4:8. Obviously taking care of our soul is more important than any exercise. We can be in great physical shape and be on our way to hell. Physical exercise cannot compare in importance to salvation; that is clear. However, the way this Elder presented the verse was as if it was not important at all to exercise our bodies. Nothing can be further from the truth. The Bible here tells us that it profiteth little, no that it does not profit at all.

 

     Going back to First Thessalonians 5:23, the word body there it directly refers to our own physical body. We then, have a responsibility to take care of our bodies before the Lord. The Bible tells us in First Corinthians 6:19, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (NASV) Taking the condition of our bodies lightly is not Biblical. It is God’s will that we presents ourselves holy, separated for him in this area of ourselves also.

 

Emotionally (Soul) and Spiritually

 

     The soul is what gives life to the body; if the body looses his soul, the body is dead. In Genesis 2:7 the Bible describe our beginning, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” (KJV).

 

     In the soul we have our feelings, emotions, intellect, our minds, decision-making, personality, etc. It is God’s desire that we prosper in all of these aspects of the soul I just numbered. The Apostle John tells us, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” 3 John 1:2 (KJV)

 

     We can have a great physical condition, but walk around with a troubled soul. God wants us to prosper; He wants for us to be bless and in good health, but He do not want us to leave our souls behind. As a matter fact the Bible tells us that we can gain the whole world, but it will profit nothing if we loose our soul in the process (Matthew 16:23). This Bible verse is telling us that the whole world and what is in it can’t compare to the value of one soul.

 

     Our spirit, on the other hand, is a different matter. Only those who are born again posses a spirit. John 3:3-5 tells us, “3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (KJV)

 

 

     The spirit is the part of us that willingly cooperates with God; Jesus gave us the following truth regarding our spirits, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41 (KJV) Our spirit is the deepest part of who we are. Our spirituality or lack there of, will affect our soul. That means that when we neglect our spiritual walk, we will experience very uncomfortable emotions; sadness, regret, despair, depression, anger, etc.

 

     What I am trying to say is that if you take your spiritual life serious, your soul will be strong enough to make the right choices, to read the right books, to avoid what is not Godly, etc. Taking care of your spiritual life will give you a stable mind. On the other hand, if we neglect our spirit man, our soul will be directly affected also.

 

     Our soul and our spirit have a common enemy, the flesh. (Galatians 5:17 / First Peter 2:11) So, lets emphasize in taking care of our spirits as we already establish that is the part of us that is wiling to cooperate with God.

 

     We were not created to die; after the fall of Adam and Eve we were introduced to two different deaths: 1. Physical death: We will all experience this death, with the exception of the rapture generation, and, 2. Spiritual death: This death took place instantly in the lives of Adam and Eve. The spirit in us is activated by the born again experience.

 

 

     There is one thing that is designed to massively affect our spiritual walk and that is worship. In John 4 Jesus gave us a powerful lesson, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.” John 4:23 (KJV)

 

     Worship is a spiritual matter; if we don’t take care of ourselves spiritually we will end up worshipping other things; that is call the sin of idolatry. That is the sin that destroyed Israel and caused their captivity.
David committed many sins, but God still said of David that he was a man after God’s heart. God did not say that of Solomon; Why? Solomon actually worshipped other gods (I King 11:4), David never did; he had a heart after God, but he still had a flesh that when against God’s Spirit. That is the struggle that we all have according to Galatians 5.

 

     We most take care of our spirits; it is from the spirit that our worship flows. Just like physically we need to be careful with what we allow in, we must be, especially careful, with what we allow ourselves to be exposed to spiritually.

 

     In conclusion, the issue of holiness is more than just going to church, participating in a few Bible studies, getting involved in a few ministries and so on. We can do all of these wonderful things and still be emotionally unstable. James 1:8 tells us, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (KJV) This is the reason why many times our testimony is so horrible among the lost, because, even as we identify ourselves as Christians, our double mindedness make us people that nobody can count on. This is the part that reflects our emotional instability. I will go as far to say that the emotions we reflect are perhaps our best witnessing tool.

 

     If we are always speaking negatively, gossiping and walking around depressed or if we are people that stand for nothing, we are no different from the world. This means that we are not holy; we are not separated for God.

 

     We also have to be careful that physically we don’t find ourselves unable to function. As Christians we are not called to be lazy, we are called to work six days out of the week. If you are always tired, you do the minimum in your job and come home to seat on the couch and watch TV until you go to sleep, you are not holy in that area either.

 

     Lastly, we must be diligent in not infecting ourselves with the things of this world that are designed to steal our spirits through the worship of other things. The world has a system that is designed to worship Satan, who is the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) It is impossible to worship God when we are friends with this world system. The Bible actually tells us, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” James 4:4 (KJV)

Conveying the Ministry of Prayer to Our Students


Martial-Arts

No other ministry is challenged more by Satan than the ministry of prayer. People can fake many things; they can go to church on Sundays, they can read Christian Books, they can enjoy Bible Studies, they can talk the Christian talk and they can even learn how to sound good praying publicly. However, we can never fake our intimate relationship with God in our secret places.

            As we see in the life of Jesus, our ultimate example, everything He did had its foundation in prayer. Jesus, days before His death, asked the disciples, Can you not pray one hour? (Matthew 26:40) Eve on the cross, Christ kept His relationship with the Father through prayer and even interceded for others.

            We start every class in prayer. Also at the end of the physical aspect of our classes we do small devotionals and, at times, we pray for each one of our students as we play anointed worship music. Through our devotionals, we are constantly encouraging our students to develop their own relationship with Christ.

            Because our classes are held outside of the traditional church, the focus becomes salvation more than prayer, which can be challenging for those who have not grown up in a Christian home environment. The only time some of our students hear the Word is in our school.

            I often tell my students that jogging is to the athlete, as prayer is to the Christian, it is indeed the key exercise of our faith. We teach the Word, we teach sound doctrine, and we trust that the Word will not return void.

            If I can successfully encourage my students to develop a relationship with God through to the study of His Word and prayer, then the student will have attained something much more valuable than any black belt or degree.