By Jadihel Rodriguez, FAITH RXD Houma, LA Chapter Director.

 

FITNESS WORKOUT

The Mindset

This month we kick off our series on endurance. If it looks and feels a lot like Agust and perseverance, well, you’re not mistaken. However, while perseverance is more associated with the end result of trials and struggles, endurance is more often associated with the struggle itself. Thus it’s super important that we not get frustrated with the difficulty of the workout. The skill level or the ability to, but rather focus on just getting through it and finishing. There is no cap, and you are encouraged to scale appropriately. Make sure you have the correct starting position for your mind. Do not be defeated before it starts, and do not think it will be easy. In fact, it is meant to be complex. But the agony is part of the process.

 

The Workout

12 down to 1 

135/95

Squat Snatches

Bar Muscle-Ups

 

FAITH WORKOUT

Reading

Hebrews 12:1-11 ESV

 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,

    nor be weary when reproved by him.

For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,

    and chastises every son whom he receives.”

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

 

Message

When you think about quoted scriptures for faith and sport, few scriptures are more often used than Hebrews 12:1.

 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” 

 

There is 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, 2 Timothy 2:5, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 1 Timothy 4:8, and others. I hope one day I get the privilege of fleshing out with you some of these in our Faith and Fitness WOD. But since October’s theme of the month is endurance, let’s dig into Hebrews 12:1 together.

 

I imagine this verse is often used when we talk sport because of the Word’s reference to an actual race. But did you know the Greek word for race is ἀγῶνα? It’s pronounced agōna in English. And it is where we get the word “agony” from. 

 

Now substitute the word race with agony and read that last part again. “And let us run with endurance the agony that is set before us.” Doesn’t sound like a cute verse we get to put on t-shirts anymore, does it?  

 

It hits different.

 

The fact is that our walk with Christ, the Christian life, is like a race. And while yes, the good news is that you get a prize that far outweighs the pain at the end of the race. In this life, during the race, you are not promised anything other than agony.

 

Sound depressing? 

 

Eh, maybe. Depends on your perspective. Your lens. Or how you look at it. Better yet, it depends on your starting position for the race ahead.

 

Hebrews 12:2 ESV

 

“Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

 

Did you catch that part? The joy part. 

 

“Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.”

 

Jesus’ enduring of the cross was the joy set before Him. Look, I’m not trying to diminish any trial you or I go through, but none of us have, nor will have to endure the cross of Christ. But imagine we did. Would we count it joy the way Jesus did? The way James 1:2 tells us to? 

 

If you have not, I encourage you to go back and read my message on perseverance. It will help you really flesh out what endurance itself means. The word used in Greek for endurance is often interchangeable with patience and perseverance. In English, the word “endure” means to suffer patiently. Thus, if endurance is a skill set of our faith we need to sharpen and work on, pain and agony are not things we should be surprised or run away from. They are not things we should fear. I am not saying you should go around looking for pain and agony, although sometimes we go looking for sin and its fading pleasures as if some of us do. 

 

I am saying that Christ came into this world knowing he was walking into an inevitable fate to do the will of the Father that came with pain and agony. He did not shy away. Neither should you!

 

Hebrews 12:3-4 ESV

 

“Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”

 

Has anyone ever met the CrossFit noob that thinks CrossFit is going to be unicorns and rainbows? Do they believe it will have no pain, no suffering, no sweat, not even a little bit of hard work? Or that it’s just going to be a walk in the park? That it will be all gain, no pain?

 

Nope, of course they don’t. That kind of CrossFit noob doesn’t exist. That’s because our starting position with CrossFit is crystal clear. We will submit ourselves to an agony-filled physical experience in hopes of obtaining the gift of health and fitness.  

 

Yet why is our starting position with the gospel so different? Why are we so infatuated with prosperity and making life easy? Change the questions I asked about those who think coming to CrossFit will be unicorns and rainbows, and change the CrossFit part to Christianity. Instead of being hard-pressed with finding the athlete who thinks it’s going to be all gain and no pain, we are tasked with finding the Christian who feels following Christ will be all gain and no pain. 

 

How many people come to Christ thinking their life will now be easy? That all their struggles will instantly go away?

 

Can you think of one? How about a few? A hundred? Not enough? OK, OK, a thousand? Still not enough? 

 

It feels like we can find hundreds of thousands of Christians, that preach this false gospel. It goes like this:

 

“Come to Christ, and your life here on Earth will be filled with wealth and health. Heck, your life will be easy if you just declare it hard enough. There is nothing impossible for Jesus. Philippians 4:13! Jeremiah 29:11!”

 

This is a clear counterfeit of the gospel because they cannot make sense of scripture’s call to endurance. God did not manifest himself incarnate for us in Christ so that you may have money, cars, and a big house.

 

He came so that you and your sins may nail Him to that cross unknowingly. So that later, you may find everlasting life and forgiveness in front of a holy God when you come back to that same cross.

 

That is the will of the Father for which He joyously endured.

 

Hebrews 12:5-9 ESV

 

 “And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,

    nor be weary when reproved by him.

For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,

    and chastises every son whom he receives.”

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?” 

 

Sometimes bad things happen for no other reason than we live in a fallen world. Whether man-made or natural, tragedy and evil are often just byproducts of living in a sinful world. And don’t get me started on the “Why do bad things happen to good people?” question. 

 

Go listen to our last podcast with Spencer and Lindsey. There is no such thing as a good person. The world has only had one good person, and we nailed him to a cross. The question we should be asking, as Spencer said, “Why do good things happen to us?” That’s the mystery of God’s grace.

 

Yes, there are times we cannot explain evil in this world with logic and reasoning. But other times, it is God Himself chastising us for our own good. Whether it be sin in our life or from our past, actions have consequences. 

 

We know the drill. Heck, we quickly punish ourselves after a long vacation of overeating sweets or too much fat. I’ve had athletes come into the gym and ask for extra work because they skipped the gym the week before or were not disciplined in their nutrition. The concept is not alien to us, yet we want to act surprised when God holds us to the same standards.

 

I grew up in a very strict household, where there were always consequences to my actions.

 

“Son, I am doing this for your own good,” my mom would often say. Man, did I hate hearing that. As a kid, I definitely did not get it. But my mom did. No different in our spiritual life.

 

Other times it is not punishment. I have a reputation at my gym for being a bit of a drill sergeant, for demanding excellence from every one of my athletes. When you take the floor during my one hour of coaching, you can bank on one thing. Either you come prepared to give me everything you got, or I will spend one hour of your paid time squeezing it out of you. 

 

And do you know why?

 

Because I love people. Because I value their hard-earned money and time. I take it as my personal mission to minister to people through CrossFit coaching. When you leave my class, you may leave unsure about my methodology, but you will not leave thinking that I do not care.

 

And do you know what athletes I am toughest on?

 

My wife, nephew, best friends, FAITH RXD Houma Chapter members, and any member I get the slightest inkling of great potential. 

 

Whether it be punishment or grooming, every time God places us in positions of suffering where we are asked to endure, He does it for discipline. Because he loves us. 

 

Hebrews 12:10-11 ESV

 

“For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

 

Verses 10 and 11 are some of my favorites in all scripture. 

 

“He disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. In the moment it may not seem pleasant, but it later yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained in it.”

 

Ain’t that the truth! But that’s it right there. That is your meat and potatoes of trials and endurance. God disciplines those who he loves to share in His holiness. And we are not going to like it while we go through it, but in the end, if and only if we are trained in it, we will reflect in the peaceful fruit of righteousness that it produces. 

 

So saints, next time the race of life brings suffering, remember. Do not run away, do not fret! We are called to suffer patiently. Or, as the author of Hebrews says, let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

 

On your starting position! 

 

Ready, set, geaux!

 

He disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

 

 

 

QUESTIONS FOR GROUP DISCUSSION OR PERSONAL JOURNALING:

  1. What was the workout like for you? Did God reveal anything to you while you did it?
  2. Do you fall into the trap of thinking life should be easier because you’re a Christian? Do you ever battle anger or resentment towards God when things are harder than you want them to be?
  3. What ways were you challenged by in today’s message?

 

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