I love CrossFit! I also love Jesus. I’ve been a Christian all my life. I was raised going to church. I’ve been a minister for 16 years. I get to talk about Jesus in churches across the country.
When I’m speaking to churches, I usually meet Christians who happen to be CrossFitters. When I’m working out, I meet CrossFitters who happen to be Christians. In both instances, we talk about the difference CrossFit has made in our lives. We tell our transformation stories and show off our “before” and “after” photos.
We usually end up connecting our CrossFit experience to our Christian faith.
Sometimes it starts when they tell me how CrossFit has helped them overcome adversity and grow spiritually.
What if we pursued spiritual fitness with the same tenacity and intensity with which we pursue physical fitness? What if we took CrossFit principles and insights and applied them to training for spiritual fitness?
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
-1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (NIV)
We started doing CrossFit for a variety of reasons. We wanted to lose weight, look or feel better, get stronger, or improve our 5k time. While CrossFit helps in each of these areas, all of these goals are secondary outcomes to CrossFit’s ultimate goal: General Physical Preparedness. This is a fancy way of saying that CrossFit gets us ready for anything.
It’s gratifying to know that when I walk into the gym to take on a workout, I’m preparing for the unknown and unknowable. With each workout I complete, with each new complex barbell movement I master, with each new personal record (PR) I set, I leave the gym with greater confidence. I’m getting better, stronger, and faster. I feel like I’m ready for anything.
At least I’m ready for a variety of physical challenges. There are some things for which CrossFit can’t prepare me. There are stresses, strains, temptations and difficulties that require more of me than the ability to do 25 unbroken pull-ups or deadlift 400 pounds.
The Apostle Paul articulates this deeper need when he tells Timothy, “Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”
The goal of CrossFit isn’t to work out in a certain kind of gym (industrial park garage, no mirrors, no air conditioning, no whining). The goal is to become a certain kind of athlete: one capable of taking on a variety of challenges across multiple domains. CrossFit’s programming is aimed at forming just such an athlete.
The goal of following Christ isn’t to attend a certain kind of church (contemporary, relevant, fun for the kids, no suits, no ties, no long sermons). The goal is to become a certain kind of person: one capable of responding to the unknown and unknowable in a Christ-like way. Your spiritual fitness training program should be designed to help you become this kind of person.
This is the first in a series of articles adapted with permission from the book “Train For Something Greater” by Wade Hodges. You can purchase the entire book and all other Amazon products at http://smile.amazon.com/ch/45-0706628 where 0.5% of your purchases supports Faith Rx’d programs – “same products, same prices, same service.” Be sure to copy or type “Train for Something Greater” in the search box.