By Lindsey Strickler, FAITH RXD Marketing and Media Director, average athlete, and dedicated fitness enthusiast.
Since we’re still in the Open season, we’re going to continue celebrating by doing another Open Workout, 19.1. In our FAITH Workout, we’re going to ask the question, “Whose kingdom are you building?”
In the Open, it’s super easy to lose sight of what you’re training for and get caught up in the excitement, competition, and comparison of it all. Don’t get us wrong, we love healthy competition that drives us to be better, but not everyone is in the same place or has the same goals. Our pride will want us to build that earthly kingdom of popularity and beating others in our box or community. But remember why you’re here and what you’re here for. What is your ultimate training purpose?
As you do the workout, we have two verses for you to focus your heart and mind on. These were taken from #WorshipInTheOpen, the series our Executive Director, Guido Trinidad, put together to help us turn the Open into an act of Worshiping our Creator, and not turning performance into an idol:
- HEART FOCUS: Romans 12:1, “I urge you brothers and sisters in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.” At the end of the day, this is why we train. Even our bodies are vehicles for God to work in the world. We want to be in the best shape that we can so we can serve him the best we can.
- MIND FOCUS: Hebrews 12:3, “Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Last FAITH + FITNESS Workout we learned that being humble means we recognize that this life is not about us. The pain we go through in this workout is temporary.
CrossFit Open Workout 19.1
AMRAP in 15 minutes
- 19 Wall Ball Shots (20/14 lb, 10/9 ft)
- 19 calorie Row
♀14 lb. Wall Ball, 9ft Target
♂20 lb. Wall Ball, 10ft Target
Luke 19 pretty much flips all our understanding of kingdoms and success upside down. It starts off with the story of a tax collector, who, at the time was one of the wealthiest positions someone could hold. From there, we go into a parable about a king and those that worked for him that didn’t want him to be the king. After that, the chapter finishes with Jesus entering Jerusalem as a king. Not from a place of dominance and power, but from a place of humility. An act that starts our story for the season we’re entering- Easter.
We’re all busy building a kingdom. We live in a culture that glorifies success, fame, power, and wealth. If you’re in the CrossFit world, everyone’s comparing and chasing better scores and Instagram likes.
The tax collector in our story deals with the same thing. He’s busy building his own kingdom without a care for others or God. During that time, tax collectors would add an additional amount to what they collected to cover their expenses. Since that amount wasn’t regulated by the government, you can only imagine the corruption it would bread and how hated these people were in their communities.
If you even whisper “IRS” in the US, everyone bristles and rolls their eyes. Especially right now as many of us are in the middle of doing our taxes. Now imagine what would happen if the IRS sent people door to door to collect taxes, and in addition to what someone was paying the them, the collector made their income by squeezing you for more money and would said, “Make sure to add on 20% to what you owe the government.” They’d need additional security walking around with them.
Yet, in our story, Jesus came in, met him where he was at and rocked his world. He not only pays attention to Zaccheus, Jesus goes and dines at his house. Imagine inviting someone who drives you up the wall, and that you can’t stand, over for dinner. But not only that, you need to genuinely care for that person and show an interest in their lives. That’s what Jesus did, because that is what Jesus was about. He loved the unlovable. He loved the outcast. He poured into the “uncool.”
Jesus even risked his own reputation. People were incredulous that Jesus would dare be “the guest of a sinner.” But Jesus wasn’t building an earthly kingdom. He wasn’t building fame, or power, or popularity. He was building a heavenly kingdom.
If you read on in Luke 19, you’ll read a parable (a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson), about how there’s people who know about God and his kingdom, yet resent it and work against it. They are trying to disrupt God’s kingdom and destroy it.
Next in the chapter, we see Jesus entering Jerusalem as a King. Yet, he didn’t parade in on a horse like a conquering man coming to reign as the physical king of Jerusalem. He rode in on a donkey, humble and low.
Jesus was submitted to to what God the Father had called him to do and was coming to fulfill promises and prophecies to build the Kingdom of Heaven.
Are we working for our own kingdom? Do we resent God as the ruler of our lives and work against him by doing our own thing? Or are we submitted to Him, and building his Kingdom?
In the last FAITH + FITNESS Workout, we learned that 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.” If we’re going to be focused on building an eternal, heavenly kingdom, and not our own earthly one, we have to surrender the glorified view of success that our culture has. We have to be willing to let God define our value, and not the world around us.
We want to make sure we clarify something though. It’s okay to be successful by the world’s standards. It’s okay to have a standard of excellence in what you do and striving to be the best you can at your job or whatever task is before you. That actually can glorify God as well, what we’re looking at is our heart posture, and the way we go about achieving that success, and the focus that we have.
Easter is right around the corner. This is a season where we celebrate the reason any of us can have our sins forgiven, have a relationship with God, and one day be with Him in Heaven. Jesus came, took all our sins, and died for us. A man literally died for us so that we can have eternal life with the God that created us.
There’s many of us who most likely identify more with the Tax Collector or the Servant, yet there’s really good news for us. If we come to God, as those people who have been sinning against him, believe that Jesus is who he says he is, and ask God to forgive us, He does. He forgives and wipes all our sins away. He forgave Paul, a murderer. He forgave the woman at the well, a woman who had multiple affairs. He forgave Mary Magdelene, a woman who had been demon possessed. He forgave Peter, his friend and disciple who betrayed him.
Wherever you’re at right now, just stop, and take a moment. Ask God to show you how you’ve been building your own kingdom, and ask him how He wants you to shift your perspective and be about the business of building his.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” The only reason we can be saved from the traps of building our own kingdom’s is because of what God did. There’s nothing we can do, accept turn to him. Romans 6:23 tells us, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Believe. That’s all you have to do to be a child of God. John 1:12–13, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”
QUESTIONS FOR GROUP DISCUSSION OR PERSONAL JOURNALING:
1. Do you feel like you kept the proper focus during the workout? Did you remember your personal goals, or did you fall trap to trying to impress others with your performance?
2. Who do you feel you identify the most with from our story? Zaccheus, the servant in the parable, or Jesus?
3. Do you struggle with prioritizing building your kingdom over God’s kingdom? When we took a moment to ask God to show us how we’ve been building our own kingdoms, and ask him how He wants us to shift our perspective and be about the business of building his, did he show you anything or reveal anything about yourself?
4. Is there something that got you excited or that you felt freed from in today’s message?