For 2017, Resolve to Quit Worshiping at the Church of CrossFit
Okay, I love Crossfit. It’s a great program…if you’re a girl. Okay, I’m kidding, for real. A group of special operators introduced me to Crossfit back in 2003 in Iraq and I’ve been hooked on functional fitness since though I’ve recently returned to and embraced my powerlifting roots. What I’m talking about is focus and time. As we ponder the gift of 2017 that lay before us, I exhort you to consider investing this same gift in things of eternity, things that will never perish, things that truly matter.
This week, 45% of you will resolve to lose weight, get in shape, and live a healthier life. One in four will last less than a week before picking up your first donut and skipping leg day. More than half of you will fail after less than a month. By three months, fully 80% of you will have forsaken your resolutions and by year’s end, less than 10% of you will even remember where the gym is.
Paul exhorts the believers at Ephesus to carefully examine their lives to ensure they are living as the wise rather than unwise and then he describes how this is done with the modifier, “making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16) What is the best use of the time? Why are the days evil?
The days are evil because time, when left alone, will spend itself and one day you’re going to wake up and be 40 or 50 or 60 and wonder, where did my life go? What have I done? Was it worthwhile? Every day, every minute, every second, you slog along on your march to the grave. As such, time is the most precious of resources and Paul exhorts the Ephesians to make the best use of it, not to waste it, to cherish it, to live intentionally.
No man on his death bed says, “If only I’d spent more time at work.” No man, on his death bed says, “If I’d just spent more time playing video games.” No man, when confronted with his own demise declares, “If only I had trained harder, I know I could’ve hit that 400lb squat.”
Don’t get me wrong, I treasure my time in the pain cave. I enjoy confronting myself with my own weakness. I relish moving heavy things and then moving them again. God has equipped us with physical bodies as the temple of the Holy Spirit and we should be good stewards of our bodies. We must care for our bodies lest we not be able to go when called.
Yet, the danger of idolatry is real. Many worship the god of fitness and really, the god of appearance. I’ve flirted with this idolatry over the years and reached a singular conclusion. No matter how hard I train, I’m still going to die at my appointed time. God numbered my days, declared them beforehand. My life, every minute, was recorded in the books in eternity past and nothing I do will add a single second. (Job 14:5, Psalm 139:16, Matthew 6:27) I may die with a solid deadlift but dead is still dead and two seconds after I’m in the dirt, the world will begin the process of forgetting all about me, erasing my memory from existence, unless…
…unless I make the most of the time, as the wise do, not the unwise, because the days are evil. I’ve reached the conclusion that my sons will never care about my bench press. They will never consider my sub 4:00 Fran time. My sons possess a much more profound consideration, that they have a father when at one time they didn’t.
Might you consider another resolution this year? Consider that in your own state, your town, hundreds of children struggle with no family, enslaved to a system that continually generates adults who fail at life – incarceration, addiction, pregnancy out of wedlock, you name it. Most of all, with no parents, with no father, they lack the most influential person in their life that might tell them and teach them of the cross of Christ. Yes, it’s a Gospel issue, a great and terrible Gospel issue.
Unlike the flesh that perishes to be forgotten (Isaiah 40:8), would you prayerfully consider a resolution with eternal effects, with legacy? Would you prayerfully consider those who languish with no family? Maybe you could actually become an answer to a young child’s prayer. They need you, desperately.
By all means, join a gym, sign up at a Crossfit box, maybe lose a few pounds. Yet resolve to get involved in the real battle, to get off the bench. Resolve to fight! Resolve that while you still draw breath, no child will languish in despair without a family. Make 2017 a year for the books. You have no guarantee of another.
Author - Founder
Soldier, Pastor, Author – Bradford stays busy, with his wife Ami, raising their 9 children, serving the nation, pastoring, preaching, and writing books (#3 is due out October ’17).
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