By Jadihel Rodriguez, FAITH RXD Houma, LA Chapter Director.
A couple of weeks ago, we opened our series on peace. We learned that peace is not a feeling we search for but rather a state of being with God. But how does that manifest itself in our lives? How can we see the fruit of peace in everything we do, including our workouts? As you do this workout, choose to find contentment in success or in failure.
12 min time cap:
Establish 4RM Clean
12 calorie bike before every attempt
Philippians 4:12 NIV
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”
Last time I let y’all into a snapshot of my life and a little bit of my testimony, I shared how I returned to the faith due to a deep dissatisfaction with my life. I had checked every professional and personal box I had desired to check and then some.
Yet, there it was, that undeniable hole in my heart that no amount of money seemed to fill. No amount of sex seemed to suffice- No amount of work, no amount of material things, friendships, not even fitness. My soul was a starving insatiable empty barrel that the more I tried to fill to the brim, the more aware I became of how hollow it truly was.
I was at war with my creator, and thus I had no peace. I believe this is what Paul meant when he said he had learned the secret of being content when he had plenty.
Think about that. The secret of being content in want? The secret of being content in lacking? Those are titles to books that would sell by the thousands today! There are bestseller lists littered with the false gospel of self-help lying to you about how you can find happiness in these simple steps. How can you unlock the secret of contentment in trials if you just follow this, and this, or that step. For just $19.99, you too can learn how to be satisfied with what little you have!
But that’s not what I said earlier. The secret to contentment when you have plenty? When you are rich? When you are healthy? When you are in love? That just seems silly! Who isn’t content when they have all the things they want?!
Me. I wasn’t. And let me clue you in on something. You will never be content going through life, winning at everything you do. Every time you are done catching that rabbit you are chasing, you will look for another rabbit. Another mountain to climb. I know men who have climbed Everest and turn around and quit climbing and pick up a new hobby, a new challenge because their desire to conquer is insatiable. They simply cannot be pleased.
Peace is illustrated in life through contentment. And contentment either is a fickle leaf windblown around by circumstances, or it is a rock. Knowing you can be separated from riches and poverty, for your satisfaction and peace rests in Christ alone!
Man, I just almost got up out of my seat typing that! I got so fired up at the thought that you can have peace manifested into contentment if you just let go.
Seems difficult? Impossible? Let me introduce you to one of if not the most taken out of context scripture. It is found immediately after our message verse.
Philippians 4:13 NIV
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”
I really like the way it is worded in the NIV translation as opposed to other translations. Philippians 4:13 is often quoted as “I can do all things,” or “I can accomplish all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
This isn’t about winning a football game, climbing a mountain, graduating from law school, or getting your first muscle-up. I am not about to walk up to a bar loaded with 500 lbs and declare that I can lift it in the name of Jesus because he strengthens me.
And I’m not saying that you cannot do all those things. I’m just saying that is not what Paul is referring to here. Paul is saying he can find contentment, he can find peace, despite his circumstances through the miracle power of Jesus. And that is because only God can bring you the satisfaction you have been chasing in this world.
Philippians 4:6-7 NIV
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
As a college professor and even as Chaplain of our Faith RXD chapter in Houma, Louisiana, I am confronted by the difficulties of pragmatic reality. That is, a theory is nice, but how can we make all this practical? It starts with praying.
Can you think back to the time you made the decision to join CrossFit? Or perhaps it was the time you decided that you wanted to make a change in your lifestyle? The time you began to run, lift weights, swim, or just become more active for the sake of health.
Do you remember the time you decided to seek better nutrition? When you decided you would drink less, eat more whole foods and less processed foods, more fruits, and vegetables, cut out refined sugars and soft drinks.
According to CrossFit HQ, when thinking about behavior change within the context of a gym environment, first comes contemplation, then comes action. Meaning, first, there has to be an innate desire in you, the athlete, to recognize problematic behavior and make a change. After that recognition and willingness to change, then you do something about it.
Faith is no different, and contentment resulting from peace is also something we must first contemplate, then take the steps necessary. And that starts with prayer.
Paul tells us in verse 6 that in every situation, good or bad, without anxiety, approach your king and make your request known, always thanking Him. That means whether you win or lose, whether you hit that lift or not, riches or poverty, dream job or unemployment, praise and thank God, and come make your petition known to Him. Not just for the circumstances, you think you want God to change, but that you may find contentment despite those circumstances changed or remain the same.
Do this with all faith and humility, and the promise of verse 7, which promises the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds. The peace of God will be with you.
QUESTIONS FOR GROUP DISCUSSION OR PERSONAL JOURNALING:
- What was the workout like for you? Did God reveal anything to you while you did it?
- What aspects of my life is greed keeping me from contentment?
- What things in my life am I grateful for? Can I make a list of 50 things I am grateful for? Is there something that I have been ungrateful for because my contentment is not in Christ, but rather the circumstances?
- What ways were you challenged by in today’s message?