By Brad Bloom, Publisher
Late summer and early autumn are the time of year when wildfires are common. Combine lightening strikes, dry growth from a lack of precipitation, and strong winds and you have volatile conditions to ignite, fuel and consume. This year has been no exception. But, other fires seem to have captured our attention, flaming to distract us from giving attention and support to those in need. Heated political rhetoric, raging violence and out-of-control hate are sweeping the country. Unlike fire fighters who train consistently to be physically fit and prepared to respond, we can find ourselves to be spiritually weak and lack wise understanding to be vigilant.
Do you have a burning enthusiasm for fitness? Do you fan the flames of your faith so you can grow in God? Faith and fitness don’t happen when we’re passive, inactive or avoid the blazes God puts before us.
BEYOND CROSSFIT’S WOD, YOU NEED A LITTLE “WOM” (WORDS OF MOTIVATION)
Find the spark that ignites you.
For your physical fitness that might be your bodyweight, your health or your attitude. It may be an external force (someone else) or an internal driver (your own frustration, hope or commitment). For your spirit that igniter could be your awareness of sin, your longing for something more or your discovery of God’s grace and the powerful love of Jesus Christ. The fire in you may start gently or with an explosive burst. But – the fire within you has to have a start. Identify that moment and understand what happened. Know, value and celebrate the source of the blaze.
Fuel the fire within you.
This is where impact and change happens. Don’t let the fire go out. Smoldering creates dense smoke where you can’t see and unbreathable stench chokes you. It is neither hot nor cold. It is a dark place where mental, physical and spiritual wellness can’t survive.
For your physical fitness fuel is good nutrition, regular exercise, a combination of positive motivation, support and reinforcement by others, rest and recovery AND enthusiasm tempered with humility. For your spirit, fuel is much the same: regularly consuming wholesome nutrition (the Bible), exercise (prayer and practicing your faith by serving others) reinforcement and rest (fellowship) and humble enthusiasm (actively praising God and living joyfully).
Fueling your fitness and spiritual fires are certainly an active process requiring your full participation and focus. Yet like a literal physical fire you need to understand that there is also a significant reactive response component to the fire. There are forces over which you have no control. Fortunately God is the most significant force. How you respond to God and react are key to fueling the fire. You can be confident He will not leave you but instead be a very present help.
Pray for the fire to be an all-consuming fire.
Fire by its very nature is a tremendous force that has forever been a natural part of life on earth. Though we try to better understand, manage and respond to it, we often fear it and get hurt by it. A simple fire gives us warmth. A hot fire can refine, separating the undesirable from that which can have great beauty and worth. An all-consuming fire has such force that nothing remains except a fertile base on which new growth can begin.
Terrifying? It doesn’t have to be. Especially for those who call God their Lord. Read these Bible examples and visualize yourself in each of these three stories:
2. Like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spreads through the ranks of Christ’s disciples gathered for Pentecost thus leading to many more choosing to follow after Christ’s teaching.
3. Elijah was faithful to be used of God so that the fire of God could consume an offering, the wood, the stones and the water that drenched it all thus providing miraculous evidence of God.
If you consider the faith part of “faith and fitness” to simply be a gentle glowing flicker then I encourage you to embrace a Biblical view of God and what it means to respond to Christ’s calling to BE LIFE. If you wear the name “Christian” own up to God’s full consuming intention for YOU!
Now is the time. Train strong in Christ. Be the fire!
This Publisher's Letter appears in the August/September 2016 issue of Faith & Fitness Magazine.