Today's Faith Workout was written by FAITH RXD DENVER Chaplain, Addison Howard. Local FAITH RXD Chapters meet all over the world, hosting Service Events and free Faith +Fitness Events that include a workout and faith discussion. Connect to local chapter near you.
In The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), Jesus says that “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore…” How quickly do we gloss past the first part and go straight to the directive? “Go” – But when Jesus says “ALL authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” It doesn’t matter what follows that statement! Jesus could say “Go therefore, and sprout wings and fly away.” Or “Go therefore, and deadlift a Semi.”
However, despite the holy authority given to God, how easily do we find ourselves limiting our spiritual plans? E.g. “Next year, I plan to read the bible more” or “Next year, I plan to go to church more often…” That’s it? The God of the Universe is in your corner!!! His glory knows no bounds! In Romans 8:31 it says “If our God is for us, who can be against us?” Take a second to pause and think about that. “If God is for us, who can be against us?”
What would our lives look like if we lived in light of the fullness and goodness of God being on our side?
Following Jesus is both the best and hardest decision you’ll ever make. Jesus says that following him means you’ll sacrifice your status, your priorities, your reputation, yourself. Putting Jesus first means putting your “old self” to death. Jesus says that following him means you will lay down your life, and pick up your cross. Imagine that. Walking around every day with your electric chair, your lethal injection syringe, your noose. But Jesus is saying this: Your faith isn’t something that can be taken lightly.
But when we make that decision, we are not making it alone. We are not living this life on our own. We’re doing it with the God of the Universe in our corner. The God who holds all authority in heaven and on earth.
A life with Christ as the center may result in removing unhealthy relationships that drain us instead of filling us. Making God everything may ask of us to sacrifice a certain lifestyle or hobby so we can be more generous with our time and money. Laying down your life may result in rough obstacles in our lives that prevent us from going down paths that leads to destruction.
Jesus is essentially saying this: “Do you know what you’re getting yourself into? Do you understand that this changes everything?” There’s no half-hearted approach to faith. There’s no “scaled” version of Christianity.
God is strong, and he wants you strong. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish.
Some workouts take 2 minutes to complete. Others might be closer to an hour. And one of the worst strategies you can have as an athlete is to simply say “Well, I guess I’ll figure it out when I get there.” Ever get off the assault bike and spend more time recovering than you actually spent on the bike itself? Just me?
In Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase of Ephesians 6, he says “Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.”
Even Jesus, himself, counted the cost. It says in Hebrews 12:2 that he knew exactly what he was getting into when he was going to be crucified. Yet, “For the joy set before him, he endured the cross.” What was that joy? That was us! Jesus was willing to go through literally the most excruciating death on the planet, because the love he had for you and I was far greater.
Remember as you look to the new year: may we set our eyes on the founder and perfecter of our faith – Jesus – and as Jesus gave all for us, may we give all for him.
- What kinds of plans do you normally try to make in your fitness? In your faith?
- How has following Christ been different than you might have expected?
- What might be some areas of your life God is calling you to sacrifice in order to better “pick up your cross” and follow Him?
- Now – what will your next year look like in light of the fullness and goodness of God being on your side?
- What would you like to see God do in your life this year?
- Are you trying to limit what God can do in your life by setting small goals?
- How does your view of God’s goodness and grandeur impact what you ask from him?
- How might this year look different if you set your goals after you count the cost of following Christ?