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Faith Workout 1807.1 | The Unbroken Commitment of a Competitor

READ

Genesis 22:1-19

REFLECT

Unbroken commitment is a mark of a true competitor.  We are familiar with this term in the fitness community.  Performing a series of pullups in an unbroken fashion means we do not come off the pullup bar until the entire set is complete.  How does a competitor for Christ live with unbroken commitment?

DISCUSSION

  1. What is the most difficult exercise for you to perform 10 repetitions unbroken?
  2. What does it take for a competitor to go unbroken when each repetition gets extremely difficult?

Abraham was a true competitor of the faith.  His relationship with God is a great example of unbroken commitment.  God challenged Abraham to sacrifice what was most valuable to him – his child.  As we reflect on this story we can see at least three reasons why Abraham stayed unbroken in his commitment to God:

  1. Abraham listened with unbroken commitment.  Abraham did not pick and choose when to listen to God’s voice.  When God spoke he simply said, “Here I am.” (Genesis 22:1)  Abraham listened to God faithfully because he kept his heart in a constant state of worship by reflecting on the faithfulness of God. (Genesis 12:7-8; 13:4,18; 21:33)  Do we listen to God’s Word with the same unbroken commitment?
  2. Abraham prepared with unbroken commitment.  When Abraham heard God’s instruction he immediately took steps of preparation.  He got up early in the morning, took two of his servants, and prepared the wood for the offering.  This unbroken commitment continued when he arrived at his destination. As Abraham ascended the mountain with his son he took the sacrificial knife as he prepared for the unthinkable.  Does our preparation demonstrate an unbroken commitment to God?
  3. Abraham believed with unbroken commitment.  When it was time for Abraham to ascend the mountain we see the heart behind his obedience as he spoke to his servants.  He said, “The boy and I will go over there to worship; then we’ll come back to you.” (Genesis 22:5)  This is the reason a competitor can remain in unbroken commitment to God.  He believes God always keeps His promises.

We have opportunity every day to listen to the promises of God through Scripture.  When we hear His instruction we can make preparations to obey God no matter what He tells us to do.  And the reason we take these steps of obedience is because we believe He is always seeking our good. How can you know this?  The apostle Paul reflected on this same thought.

“Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.” (Romans 4:20-25)

SKILL WORK

  1. Set a timer for 5 minutes and list everything God has given you.
  2. Spend time in prayer and praise thanking God for His blessings.
  3. Reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  What similarities do you see in the story of Abraham?
  4. Commit this month to God as an opportunity to listen, prepare, and believe with unbroken commitment.
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Athlete Mindset: The Unbroken Commitment of a Competitor with Chip Pugh

Genesis 22

Skill Work:
1. Set a timer for 5 minutes and list everything God has given you.
2. Spend time in prayer thanking God for His blessings.
3. Reflect on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. What similarities do you see in the story of Abraham?
4. Commit this month to God as an opportunity to listen, prepare, and believe with unbroken commitment.

What does it mean to you guys to have unbroken commitment between you and God?

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The Nutritional Strategy of a Competitor

READ

Luke 5:33-39

REFLECT

Competitors crave improved performance.  As we grow in this aim we become more intentional with our food choices.  When our performance demands increased food intake we add more calories, macronutrients, and make better choices.  But many of us have also found fasting to help us perform better as athletes. Intermittent fasting has become a valued trend in the athletic community with its attested benefits.  But how does a competitor for Christ approach this discipline? Should we fast? What information does Scripture provide on this subject?

DISCUSSION

  1. What nutritional strategies have you found to be helpful in your athletic performance?
  2. How have you incorporated fasting into your nutritional strategy?

In today’s reading, Jesus is asked directly about His approach to fasting.  His response provides His followers with guidance on this subject.

“Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast.”

We learn at least 3 important principles about fasting from Jesus’ response:

  1. Followers of Jesus practice fasting as a discipline.  Jesus says His disciples “will fast.”  In His Sermon on the Mount Jesus describes the appropriate attitude with which we are to fast.  As He gives these directions, He simply says, “When you fast…”  He does not give us a specific program or a prescribed method, but Jesus does expect His disciples to fast as part of the Christian life.
  2. Followers of Jesus practice fasting when they experience loss and they crave the Lord’s presence.  The metaphor Jesus uses to illustrate His relationship with His followers is described as the wedding feast.  In Jewish culture this was a celebratory time when the bridal party would enjoy life along with the bride and groom for an entire week.  But, the friends would naturally feel separation and sadness when the experience ended. Scripture reminds us life provides a balance of loss and gain.

“There is a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance”

The nutritional strategy of followers of Jesus is formed based upon their relationship with Him.  When our hunger for the Lord rises to new levels we may forget to eat, or even choose to intentionally avoid eating.

Fasting is intentionally, or unintentionally, going without food because of a craving for the presence of God and His work through our lives.

  1. Followers of Jesus celebrate when the Lord is present.  Since the Christian life is described as a wedding feast it must be designed to be filled with joy.  When the Lord’s mission is being carried out through our lives, we have reason to celebrate. This is what we have been made for!  God designed food and drink as one way to celebrate His creation.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

Competitors for Christ do not fast simply because it aids in increasing athletic performance.  Like everything else in life, the purpose of fasting is to praise God for what He has accomplished through Christ.  Competitors crave the presence and power of God in their lives so much, they are compelled to empty themselves of everything else to experience more of Him.  So, when you fast, do so because of your relationship with Him.

Why do we fast?  Because of Jesus.  

Why do we eat?  Because of Jesus.

Why do we train?  Because of Jesus.

“Everything was created through Him and for Him…He holds all creation together…So He is first in everything.”

SKILL WORK

  1. How have you felt distant from the Lord and His power in your life?
  2. How could prayer and fasting help you draw nearer to Him?
  3. How have you experienced the presence and power of God in your life?
  4. How could you celebrate His closeness through eating and training?
  5. Commit 1 Corinthians 10:31 to memory.

 

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The Motivation of a Competitor’s Discipline

AthleteWord:  “The competitor’s greatest joy does not come from scoring points, but from being on the winning team”

 

READ

Luke 10:1-20

REFLECT

Competitors train with discipline.  In order to experience success they execute a plan that involves daily disciplines leading them toward their goals.  But, what about the days when we lose motivation? Where does it come from? What keeps a competitor moving toward the goal?

DISCUSSION

  1. What has helped you stay motivated to train?
  2. What could be missing when your motivation to train diminishes?

In today’s reading Jesus sends His followers into the world on a mission.  They have trained for this mission by watching their leader, but this mission is a continuation of their training.  This is evident when Jesus’ followers return to review what occurred on the mission field. They are so excited to have experienced success.  But Jesus reminds them where their motivation must be rooted in order to remain disciplined. Jesus says, “Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Jesus reminds His followers that lasting motivation does not come from counting the fruits of our discipline but from remembering the roots of our discipline.

What does this story teach us about the motivation of discipline?

  1. Discipline is motivated by the hope of success.  We commit to training because we believe it will help us reach our goals.  Jesus sends His followers into the mission field with hope of great success.  He says, “The harvest is plentiful.”  Overflowing, abundant success is the expectation of the competitor’s discipline.
  2. Discipline is motivated by progress.  Competitors train because they believe they will see progress.  One more rep or one more pound on the bar is what a competitor hopes to see through his discipline.  Jesus said, “The workers are few.”  This motivates us to pray for opportunity to train more workers in the kingdom of God, but it also implies work is necessary to achieve God’s mission.  Scripture teaches our labor is not the main reason we experience progress. Everything is a gift from God.

“It is the Lord’s blessing that brings wealth, and no hard work can add to it.”

Though this is true God designed effort to be the avenue He uses to bless us with success.  This is why He calls the results of our discipline “fruit.”  Progress motivates the competitor’s discipline, so they stay committed to hard work.

  1. Discipline remains motivated by identity, not by performance.  The joy that keeps someone motivated must come from joy rooted in that which can never be removed.  If we are motivated by our own performance, or the applause of others, our joy will fade. Jesus wants us to experience permanent joy so we can remain disciplined.  This only comes from that which can never be lost.

When we commit to following Jesus He writes our names in the book of life.  The only One who can erase it is the same One who wrote it down.

Be disciplined.  Be disciplined to win.  But let your discipline be rooted in the identity Christ has given you through His grace.

SKILL WORK

  1. Identify the areas of your life where you need to be more disciplined.
  2. How has progress served as a motivator for your discipline?
  3. How has your lack of progress, or lack of affirmation from others, affected your motivation?
  4. Has your name been written in the book of life?  If so, praise God for His grace. If not – receive His gift today!  Contact us if you are ready to take the next steps of obedience: chip@FAITHRXD.org

 

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We Need More “Ear-Speed”

AthleteWord:  Self-discipline is a mark of champions!

 

READ

Luke 8:4-15

REFLECT

At each FAITH RXD training seminars our Olympic lifting coach, Spencer Arnold, reminds us of the importance of BAR-speed.  The speed of the bar will dictate your success in the snatch and clean. Spencer teaches optimal position of the knees, hips, and shoulders to add speed to the bar.  

Do we realize the speed principle is also vital in our discipline as a competitor for Christ?  Just like BAR-speed when performing the snatch, the “speed” we listen with our ears determines our depth in understanding the Word of God.

DISCUSSION

  1. How have you noticed your lack of speed in an exercise or through athletics?
  2. How could your receptiveness to God’s Word help you grow as a follower of Jesus Christ?

Jesus describes four categories of soil which demonstrate the effectiveness of receiving seed that is sown.  His parable is meant to encourage us to “take care HOW we hear.”  Which soil best describes your EAR-speed?

  1. Hard soil – This is the packed-down path around the perimeter of a garden.  This soil does not permit the seed to penetrate and produce fruit. It represents the heart that is not open to the Word of God.
  2. Rocky soil – This is soil that lacks depth due to rock interfering with the root.  It is similar to a heart that lacks foundation in a relationship with Jesus Christ.  The heat of testing does not produce proper development, but, instead, it scorches a shallow, immature faith.
  3. Thorny soil – This soil does not allow the plant to grow because it has not been well-maintained.  Weeds that choke the plant represent the worries and pleasures of this present world.
  4. Good soil – This soil is soft enough to receive the seed, deep enough to grow roots, and clean enough to keep growing.  Jesus promises these qualities will not only permit strong personal growth but also produce 100 times its original strength through sharing our faith.

“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.  He stores up success for the upright; He is a shield for those who live with integrity so that he may guard the paths of justice and protect the way of his faithful followers.  Then you will understand righteousness, justice, and integrity—every good path.” – Proverbs 2:6-9

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” – Luke 8:8

 

SKILL WORK

  1. Which category of soil best describes your current spiritual condition?
  2. What does this story teach us about the importance of hearing God’s Word every day?
  3. What weeds do you need to cut back from your life to continue growing in Christ?  Worries? Stuff? Pleasures of this world?
  4. Look up James 1:21 & memorize it.
  5. Ask God to give you “ears to hear” His Word clearly today.