Looking from the outside in on the life of basketball superstar Justin Jackson, fans easily see the fame and the skill he possesses. We all see the guy who helped lead UNC to a National Championship, the guy that’s leaving for the NBA as a junior in college. We see the guy with the beautiful girlfriend and the picture perfect life. However, living from the inside out is where the real faith and genuine personality that Justin Jackson has made and continues to make a priority shows. No matter how pretty the picture looks from the other side of the camera, this man has found the only true beauty in an overwhelming love for the Lord.
Some background for ya!! His career as a basketball player for the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill has included 895 points in 78 games, 75 starts , a shooting percentage of 54.0 from the two-point range, 29.7 percent 3FG and 68.8 from the free throw line. Jackson has scored in double figures 50 times and has 201 assists, all from just three years as a Tarheel. He was named the 2017 Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year and is saying goodbye to his college career early to head to the NBA. Nobody can look at those stats and turn away from the fact that he is an outstanding athlete. Beyond these stats, there’s something even more special about Jackson.
Jackson does not hesitate to admit his times of weakness, and the transition into college became a huge weak spot for him as he struggled in his faith. Jackson recently posted a video on Vimeo put together by Derrick Bills on his Twitter. In this video, he shows his fans the beauty on the other side of the camera. Jackson shares his walk in faith and introduces it starting through a time of weakness.
“Coming into college I thought I was strong in my faith, I thought I was prepared for everything that was gonna be thrown in my face. I found out very quickly that I wasn’t very strong in my faith. I went down the path of some things that I definitely shouldn’t have. It took God taking me to the lowest points that I could possibly be at and making me realize that at the end of the day basketball, school all of that’s gonna fail me,” Jackson shared with Bills.
Not so picture perfect right? But that didn’t matter to Jackson. He wanted something real, something beyond a camera or an interview. He didn’t want to be the superstar, he wanted to leave that for God.
“Once God brought me down to my knees and made me realize that he’s the only thing that can give me pure joy that’s when I really buckled down and that’s when I say I truly became a believer. From that point all I’ve been striving to do and trying to do is trying to show him what I do and trying to grow with him every single day. You know I don’t want to walk around and blend in with everybody and therefore while here in college that’s kind of what it was. People might have even forgotten that I’m a Christian but now that’s all I really strive for,” Jackson said in the video.
Take what you want from these words of Jackson’s but the pure tenderness and humbleness from this outstanding of an athlete is what makes Jackson even more special. The power to find his joy and beauty in God and thank Him for giving him the skills that have led him to success. Jackson is an athlete who doesn’t want to hide behind a camera or a basketball or a National Championship Ring. He wants to show off God and his faith. He wants to make known that he is something more than a basketball star.
“My worth is in Jesus Christ, not in basketball, not in school, not in my family. It’s found in him and everything he’s given me,” Jackson said.
On October 7, 2016 he tweeted, “He must increase; I must decrease.” -John 3:30. And that in itself is a perfect example on the life Jackson strives to live through everyday. Fame isn’t everything, beauty doesn’t come from being known but instead from knowing He who has created you to be known.
Justin Jackson is just about as good as they get. On the other side of the camera is a guy spreading the Lord’s love day in and day out.
One side of the camera truly matters. Not the one used for personal glory but instead the one used to glorify. The difference is in living for the rest of the world and living for Christ, the matter is letting the world know you’re different. Living for yourself not only satisfies one side of the camera but denies the other, living for the kingdom of Heaven. Glorifying God prevents you from taking God’s name in vain. We are not of this world, our home is in Heaven. Stop trying to fit into the conformities the world puts into a camera. Claim Christ with your words and actions each day and don’t live an empty life. See the beauty in the Lord, not in a picture.
~Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.~
Lastly, make Him the Glory of your goal.