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.
Imagine walking into your gym tomorrow morning, and all that’s written on the board is “Clean & Jerk.” That’s it. Just those three words. Clean. And. Jerk. … If you’re like me, you’d lose your mind. Wha.. what? I need steps, I need weights. Do I power clean or squat clean? Do I split jerk, push jerk? How heavy to I go? What percent of my max? Am I building up to a max? How many reps? How many rounds? Do I go EMOM? Do I do it for time? Am I going to need a belt? How long do I warm up? How much weight do I even warm up with!?! What do I do!?”
If you read the Bible, you’ll actually be surprised at how little specific direction is in there. We’re commanded to do good things, don’t do bad things, right? But it doesn’t say “And on the third day, God said thou shalt be a dentist.” Or “You will meet and marry Karen on May 9th and you shall have 3 children, two dogs and one cat.” All throughout the Bible, what we don’t see is a specific plan. And that’s a little scary. Freedom is terrifying.
We want our lives to be prescribed! But when we look at the Bible, it doesn’t give us a plan unique to us. God’s Word doesn’t provide a tailored training regimen. It gives us a path to take, but it rarely tells us how to take it. So what do we do?!
The Great Commandment (Matt 22:37-39) states that – “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
All the law. Jesus is essentially saying here: Everything you know about Christianity can flow from one of these two statements. Every one of the ten commandments. Everything Jesus asks from you can be summarized here. That’s it. Love God. Love Others. And if you’ve heard these before, this seems simple. It’s easy to think “Yeah yeah, Love God. Love Others. Got it. But what about me? Get to the stuff specifically for me.”
What the Bible is telling you here is this is the stuff specifically for you. And we must be careful not to gloss over this or lose sight of this. These aren’t starting blocks you shoot out of when you become a Christian. This is the track underneath your feet that you’re running on the whole time. These aren’t simply basic building blocks, this is the whole building.
I liken it to this: How many of the most elite athletes walk into the gym, focus solely on pegboards, legless rope climbs, handstand walk obstacle courses, and weighted pistols? Not many. They always focus first on the basics. They always work on back squats, front squats, flexibility, cardio. The basics don’t go away, they grow deeper.
That doesn’t mean that the best athletes don’t have minor goals to improve their weaknesses, or improve PR numbers, or things like that. But if you ask most of them “why are you doing this?” They don’t say “I want to add 15 pounds to my max lift.” Or “I want to do better at this movement.” They say “I want to go to the CrossFit Games” or if you’re like me “I want to be fitter today than I was yesterday.” And when your goal is to be fitter today than yesterday, then all those other technical skills come with it. When your goal is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself, all the other minor details and mini goals will follow suit.
So let me ask you to pause for a moment and think, what are your spiritual goals? And now, why do you want to do more of this or less of that?
For those of you who perhaps grew up in the church, you may have heard this phrased as how Christianity is about relationship over religion. And that is so true. And I think many of us think that, too, but in practice we do the opposite. When we turn our spiritual goals into things like “I want to drop less f-bombs” or “I want to go to church more” – we end up doing the very thing that we say our faith isn’t about! We create a checklist of what we’ve done or not done! We hold our relationship hostage to our religion.
But Christianity isn’t that you once didn’t have your act together, and now you do. Christianity is that you once didn’t have your act together, and now you still don’t have your act together… but you’re doing it with Jesus.
It’s okay not to be okay. Don’t think that you should grow past the basics of faith. Instead – grow deeper into them.
- What are your spiritual goals?
- Why are they your spiritual goals?
- Do you find it difficult to remember that God loves you despite your “performance?”
Consider making a spiritual goal this year, but consider bringing it back to basics. Don’t weigh yourself down with the dos and don’ts. But instead, focus on this: Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul mind and strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.
Spend some time journaling:
- How can you focus on getting “back to the basics”?
- How might your goals this year be different if you focus less on the specifics?