By Lindsey Strickler, FAITH RXD Marketing and Media Director, average athlete, and dedicated fitness enthusiast.
The Open is starting this week and it will be my sixth one. I go into each one with an equal mixture of nerves and excitement. Everyone’s mental strategy is different, but each time a workout has been announced and my reaction is, “Oh I got this,” it ends up humbling me. Those are the workouts I don’t ask for help with; I don’t talk through strategy with anyone, because, “This is my moment.” The moment the clock starts for these workouts, I’m done. I don’t do well. A similar thing happens to a guy named Peter in today’s message.
Jesus tells him that in the near future he’s going to fail a test of his faith, of his loyalty to Jesus. Peter gets indignant and says he would never deny Jesus. What happens? His faith gets tested, and he basically chokes.
We’re going to tackle an old Open workout today. You’ll see it’s only two movements, and easy to assume it will be no big deal. It’s a humbling workout, and has the reputation of being one of the hardest Open workouts.
When it gets tough, it will be easy to be focused on yourself and forget those around you. However, today is all about “others-awareness.” Don’t become unaware of the people around you. Even as you’re doing the work, find a way to yell out encouragement to those around you. This workout isn’t about you today, it’s about everyone else in the room.
If you’re doing the workout alone, practice this “others-awareness” next time you’re in the gym. Look for a way to encourage someone else while you’re mid workout.
CrossFit Open Workout 14.5/16.5- No Safety Net
21-18-15-12-9-6-3 Reps for Time
Thrusters (95/65 lb)
Spoiler alert, in the reading today we’re witnessing a redeeming moment between Jesus and one of his closest friends, Peter. Earlier, in John 18:15-27, Peter fulfilled what Jesus said would happen in John 13:36-38. He denied knowing Jesus – three times.
Picture this. Jesus has been arrested, and Peter and another disciple have followed the soldiers to the places Jesus was taken. Because the disciple with Peter knew the servant at the door of the home Jesus was taken to to be questioned, she let Peter and the other disciple into the courtyard.
It was a cold night, so Peter, instead of trying to be close to his friend, teacher, and savior, stayed in the courtyard and warmed himself at a fire with the soldiers. It was there he was recognized, and in three different scenarios, questioned about his association with Jesus. In all of them, he vehemently denied the accusations. When Jesus was led out after being intensely questioned and pressured, he would have seen Peter standing there, trying to make himself comfortable, avoiding the potential uncomfortable outcome that would have come from acknowledging Jesus.
If you look at other aspects of Peter’s life, he was not a cowardly guy. When Jesus was arrested Peter had lunged at one of the servants and cut off his ear. Jesus chastised and corrected Peter, making it clear that Jesus was choosing to walk into the future God had for him – death on a cross.
Peter was ready to fight. He had that, “Let’s go!” mentality,but he was still battling his own definition of what that should look like. He wanted to fight with swords and logic for an earthly kingdom, not with spirit and truth for a heavenly kingdom.
In Luke’s Gospel, he also shares this story, but we get more details. As Peter denied knowing Jesus a third time, it says in 22:61, “And the Lord turned and looked at Peter.” Jesus knew right in that moment that Peter hadn’t been loyal, and Peter was reminded of the prophesied betrayal.
We witness the humbling of Peter in these verses.
Gotquestions.org says, “The Bible describes humility as meekness, lowliness, and absence of self. The Greek word translated “humility” in Colossians 3:12 and elsewhere literally means ‘lowliness of mind,’ so we see that humility is a heart attitude, not merely an outward demeanor.” It’s easy for us to look at the outward actions of people and think they’re humble, but God is continually looking at the heart of someone.
Essentially, what we have to realize, is that it’s not about us. This life, this place where you find yourself, is not about you. You may identify with the side of Peter that’s ready to fight for what you believe is right and have your own view of what that should look like. Or maybe you identify with the side of Peter that wants to fly under the radar and not rock any boat (pun intended, because a story for another time is how Peter was eager to jump out of the boat).
All of us are wired differently and have various definitions of what it means to be comfortable… and we do everything we can to remain in those comfortable situations or to make them more comfortable for us. But as Christians, we’re not called to be comfortable. We’re called to make disciples of every nation, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19-20).
For some that may look like staying exactly where you are, but finding a new boldness to share about Jesus in spirit and truth to those already in your life – your neighbors, the guy at the gas station, your friends, your co-workers, your family. For others, it might look like leaving the place you’re in and going to a new job, taking your kids to a new school and joining the PTA, or maybe starting a FAITH RXD chapter in your city (wink, wink, no agenda here).
In John 22:15-19, Jesus is giving Peter a second chance. In the same way that Peter denied Jesus three times, Jesus gives Peter the opportunity to reaffirm his love and commitment to Jesus three times. This time, Peter is commiting to lowering himself below Jesus, and humbly doing what God is asking him to do, “Feed my sheep.”
Peter’s betrayal doesn’t disqualify him, God’s grace extends and forgives, and Peter has another chance. Jesus says to him in verse 19, “Follow me.” Peter does. The Holy Spirit shapes Peter’s brazen, passionate, impulsive, strong-willed nature and he becomes a force for the early church. Peter takes the Gospel and feeds people the Word of God. His boldness and counter-cultural message even lands him in prison at times.
In Matthew 16:18-19, Jesús had said Peter would be the rock on whom he would build the church. “Jesus’ promise that Peter would be foundational in building the Church was fulfilled in three stages: Peter preached on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). Then, he was present when the Samaritans received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8). Finally, he was summoned to the home of the Roman centurion Cornelius, who also believed and received the Holy Spirit (Acts 10). In this way, Peter “unlocked” three different worlds and opened the door of the Church to Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles (Gotquestions.org).”
Being humble goes beyond “not taking the credit” or “serving others;” it’s a complete heart shift to viewing God, and what God wants you to do, as more important than you and your comfort. Maybe this is your redeeming, Peter-re-commissioning moment, and Jesus is asking you, “Do you love me?”
If so, feed His sheep. Follow Him.
QUESTIONS FOR GROUP DISCUSSION OR PERSONAL JOURNALING:
1. During the fitness workout, did you ever want to quit because it was too uncomfortable and painful of a workout? Was hard for you to remember to encourage other people around you?
2. Did you identify with Peter at all? Do you struggle more with pushing your own agenda, or with trying to fly under the radar and not rocking the boat?
3. In the message it says:
“All of us are wired differently and have various definitions of what it means to be comfortable… and we do everything we can to remain in those comfortable situations or to make them more comfortable for us. But as Christians, we’re not called to be comfortable. We’re called to make disciples of every nation, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19-20).
“For some that may look like staying exactly where you are, but finding a new boldness to share about Jesus in spirit and truth to those already in your life – your neighbors, the guy at the gas station, your friends, your co-workers, your family. For others, it might look like leaving the place you’re in and going to a new job, taking your kids to a new school and joining the PTA, or maybe starting a FAITH RXD chapter in your city (wink, wink, no agenda here).”
Is there something that stood out to you- A relationship or area that you feel God is calling you to step out and be bold in?