One type of physical training that has earned well-deserved attention is CrossFit. What is it? Their website says, “CrossFit is the principal strength and conditioning program for many police academies and tactical operations teams, military special operations units, champion martial artists, and hundreds of other elite and professional athletes worldwide. Our specialty is not specializing.” The program uses, “constantly varied, high-intensity, functional movement.”
It is how you do all the right moves in an ever-evolving fashion. It may be, in my opinion, about as close as you can come to doing what I call “Fully Loaded Fitness”. That is the process of lifting everything you should and nothing that you shouldn’t.
CrossFit and being fit by carrying YOUR own cross have some similarities. Do CrossFit for well-rounded physical strength. Lift your cross for genuine spiritual maturity.
If you’ve ever heard Christians talk about the beauty of the cross on which Jesus died to which they cling, you can’t help but wonder. What is this Christian fascination with the cross? All that blood and punishment can’t be good. Where is the value in all this pain and suffering? It ultimately leads to death. Stop right there (as many do) and you only get half the benefit (Yes, pain, suffering and death ARE benefits!).
Leave it right there and you would think that Jesus was the original inspiration for today’s fitness apparel company House of Pain. Few companies can successfully glorify punishment and blood like these guys do --- that is except for Christian churches! Both believe in hell and at least one wants you to experience it too.
But Jesus knew that lifting his own cross would have a great and eternal benefit. It was for THAT joy that He endured the cross. The beauty was in the obedience not in the suffering. The brokenness that was demonstrated disproved the “no guts – no glory” myth by revealing a more glorious grace.
When Christ says that his yoke is easy and his burden is light, what is He really saying? Be deliberate and committed. Like CrossFit, God’s grace produces in you a spiritual fitness that is, by design, broad, general, and inclusive. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. Learn to live freely.
Jesus says to take up your cross and follow Him. This is some serious weightlifting. Like anything serious, when you do it wrong there are some serious consequences. Doing it right is what you want to do. You need to lose sight of your own interests and be committed in conforming and living your life after the example that Jesus set. Expect that to be a tough thing to do.
The beauty of the cross is in the obedience not in the suffering.
It is much easier to be like the nation of Israel when they were enslaved to the Egyptians. The Bible recounts that when they gained their freedom during Moses time they ultimately complained. They felt it was easier to toil as a slave as compared to lifting the demands of freedom.
Fully loaded fitness isn’t for the faint of heart or the person who wants an easy and compromised solution. To take on the proper weights and unload all the junk you’ll have to pursue life as only God guides you.
Train strong in Christ,
-Brad Bloom, Publisher
(some photos and graphics on this page are from the House of Pain website.)
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