Cross-Training for 2018

Hebrews 12:1, “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”
 
January 2018
Pastor Jeremiah Krieger
 
Running is one of my least favorite activities in the world. In fact, I know that I am highly allergic to running. Every time I do it, my face turns red; I sweat profusely, and I have a hard time breathing. In the medical world, we call these signs of anaphylactic shock! So I try to avoid it at all costs.

All kidding aside, in the Christian life, our faith is often equated to a long distance run. For some of us, that metaphor is a dream. We love to run. It is a time of freedom and inner cleansing. We live for the runner’s high. For others, we might wish the Bible had somehow creatively used a couch and channel surfing as a metaphor. But it didn’t. The writer of Hebrews encourages believers to exercise their faith with endurance.

The worst part of it is (if you don’t like running) that we can’t even casually live out our faith. The Apostle Paul says in 1 Cor. 9:24, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize?
So run that you may obtain it.” The manner that we are to run is in a way that we might obtain the prize! That means we must be conditioned and trained to win. We don’t casually slip and fall over the finish line! In today’s world, serious athletes cross-train.

Cross-training is typically defined as an exercise regimen that uses several modes of training to develop a specific component of fitness. A runner who includes other forms of training into his exercise routine will prevent himself from injury and strengthen other muscle groups that are not focused on during running. Cross-training helps improve overall performance in one’s sport.

The Apostle Paul says, “Rather train yourself for godliness; 8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come (1 Tim. 4:7b-8). Spiritual transformation (becoming more like Jesus in our attitudes and actions) doesn’t happen overnight.
 
One way we can help our growth in 2018 is by cross training in three specific areas of our life. If we are willing to devote these three areas to Christ, then we will see a remarkable transformation in ourselves and an awakening in our church and community. 
 

The first way that we should cross-train is through our corporate worship. Meeting together regularly is normative for disciples of Jesus and helps to strengthen our faith. Acts 2:42-47 shows us what followers of Christ did back then, “And they devoted themselves…to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

When we follow Jesus, we become part of a body. We become part of something much greater than ourselves. You can’t say “I love Christ,” but hate the bride. You can’t say, “I’m devoted to Jesus,” but not be devoted to his people. Being part of the Church is part of how Christ grows us. Attending worship services weekly will help us stay in the game and strong in our faith.

Second, we should cross-train by growing with each other. In the Epistles we will find the words “one another” joined together 45 times when speaking of our devotion to other believers for the purpose of deliberately building up their lives. Scripture calls us to be devoted to each other. Romans 12:10 says, “Be devoted to one another in love.”

Practicing discipleship through small groups is instrumental in our spiritual growth. It is instrumental in finding freedom from sin. It is instrumental in aiding believers in their full devotion to Christ. It is the practice field where the team is built up and prepared for the game. If you don’t already belong to a small group of friends to intentionally build each other up, consider setting aside an hour per week and inviting a few others to share that time with you to build friendships and grow in faith.

Third, our cross-training should involve serving with each other. If everyone in our church devoted one hour per week to serving in a church ministry, it would result in both personal growth and the corporate growth of our church.
 
We have all been given unique gifts, aptitudes and abilities that only we can do. We all have something to offer the body of Christ. If we do not serve the Church, we are hurting both ourselves and the Church.

Devoting time to serve with the Church is normative behavior in the life of the Christian. In fact, in 1 Corinthians 12:1-2, Paul goes as far as to say that he doesn’t want us to be uniformed about our spiritual gifts. The implication is that those who do not use their gifts to serve the Church are those who are using their gifts to serve mute idols. Jesus said we cannot serve both God and money. He is calling us to singular devotion to serving him.

Understanding what Christ is calling us to is essential to the faith. If we are living out the faith like a channel surfer instead of a cross-trained runner, chances are that we are not running for the purpose of getting the prize. If we have a carefree and thoughtless attitude towards our faith and aren’t intentionally living it out with others, then we will miss the mark.

We all have 168 hours in the week. We all are called to run the race. Our training doesn’t have to be that complicated. If we want to run for the long haul, we should definitely cross-train by devoting an hour each week for corporate worship together, an hour each week for growing together in abiding friendships, and one hour per week of serving alongside each other with the Church.

Cross-train this year with me and watch God change your life. Devote that time to Christ and watch Him use you to transform this church and our community.

God bless you,

Pastor Jeremiah

 

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