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Spiritual Training Cycle: Foundation (wk. 12/13)


Our gym doesn’t have air conditioning. Every summer, I’m reminded how important a fan can be. When it’s 90 degrees and 90% humidity, working out in front of a fan makes a huge difference in how well you perform. The same goes for the other types of fans, those people who cheer you on and are on your side. Having a real fan, a real supporter, will change your life. We all need that person who will celebrate our victories and be there in our defeats. It is more than cheering; it is companionship in the highs and lows of life.


One of my earliest fans in CrossFit was a guy named Nathan. Nathan wasn’t the best athlete by any stretch of the imagination. Despite a few years of CrossFit, he scaled most workouts, lifted less than I did, and, by all accounts, was still scrawny. But he cared about me and my progress. He congratulated me after every WOD. He patiently worked with me to learn to kip and do double-unders.


I’ve had other fans, too. I remember Bob taking me to lunch to celebrate my first sermon. And sitting with me after my first failure. Or John standing up to misguided leadership to defend me when I wasn’t there. Or Jessica telling everyone what a superstar I was after just one month on the job. I’m sure you have a list of people like this in your own life.


Then there was Erin. He was also my fan. But in a different way. While he cheered and supported me, he also challenged me. I remember him sitting across the table from me in college, uttering these bone-chilling words, “You can’t impress me.” His words cut right through me. I had grown arrogant and cocky. My attitude was causing major problems for me and the ministry I was leading. Erin took the brave step to challenge me because he was my fan. He wanted what was best for me.


I was devastated. Erin was a good fan. 


Kindness is lending your strength to another. Perhaps one of the most powerful ways we can do that is by being a fan and a supporter of others. To show up and share our voice to cheer on others and be there when the score isn’t what they had hoped. It’s a hard thing to be someone else's fan. It requires a lot of strength and a lot less of your own ego.


But being a fan isn’t just thinking that everything someone does is great. It is wanting what is best for them – even if this means losing.


That is why I love college football. It requires character. For most players, what makes or breaks them is not their athletic ability but their character. Good coaches know this. No amount of running, squatting, or pass drills can make up for poor character. Only hard work, disappointment, and perseverance can create the character to help them succeed.


Kindness is wanting what is best for someone, even if it means losing; even when it is not what they want. Being a good fan isn’t just wanting them to win – it’s wanting what’s best for them. It’s wanting them to grow in character.


Questions for Reflection:

Who has wanted what is best for you when you just wanted what was easiest?


How does your ego get in the way of cheering for others?


How has God used defeat to forge your character?

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