Spiritual Training Cycle: Foundation (wk. 2/13)
We exist in a material world. The sound of barbells dropping after a clean and jerk, the feel of the chalk gripping the rig, the smell of the knee sleeves rolled down to the ankles, all attest to a material, physical world we live in. The physical world is also wrapped into the things that are tangible, actionable, and attainable. We can focus on things such as setting PRs, competing for time, or achieving the right body type. The physical aspect of our lives is what makes up our first impressions of everything and everyone we perceive.
There's also an immaterial world we exist in that goes beyond what we can see. When you step into a CrossFit box, the one thing you might notice is that there are no mirrors. Because there are no mirrors to see things like form and figure, you have coaches. Your coach acts as your guide to instruct you wisely to make the best judgment of yourself, to challenge you when you don't feel you've done enough, and to persistently cheer you forward in moments of weakness. They serve as that wingman that notices your blind spots but also a faithful encouragement in your time of need. Coaches help make up that immaterial space where we feel inspired, motivated, and recognized. All the things we cannot analytically measure or tangibly hold in the palm of our hand.
The space that meets us between the physical world is a spiritual one. The spiritual world is made up of all the things we truly desire that we cannot see. Acceptance, peace, joy, and love to name a few, are all things we can try to seek out in the physical things of this world. However, how do you quantify the peace that you get when you are outside in nature breathing in the fresh air of the Great Smoky Mountains? How can you achieve the acceptance of a friend that chooses to sacrifice their time and resources to support you? How can you tangibly hold love like what a parent experiences when they are staring into the eyes of their newborn child nestled in their arms? Without the spiritual reality of things, we cannot live in a thriving humanity and existence. There must be more than what we can see.
Without the spiritual reality of life, we also cannot know God. Jesus says in John 6:46,
"No one has seen the Father except the One who is from God; only He has seen the Father."
If we only trusted in what is physical, we wouldn't be able to comprehend even the existence of God. But God uniquely made us material and immaterial. Our spirit can testify to the things unseen. Through the Holy Spirit, God speaks to our hearts. Like a coach guides you through the physical complexities of a lift but also the spiritual desire to endure, the Holy Spirit teaches, corrects, and empowers us, tapping into the physical and spiritual part of our lives in ways we cannot see. Through the Spirit we can better know God's heart and know we're not walking blindly. It says in 1 Corinthians 2:12,
"What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us."
What God has given to us is something that surpasses anything we can ever obtain or earn in this physical life. It's Jesus who came in physical flesh, dying on a material cross, taking the visible scorn of the world to give us a spiritual salvation from the chains of sin. It is in Jesus Christ our Lord that we can live with the same Spirit that also raised Him from the dead to remind us each day of God’s love that sacrificed everything for us. May we seek to grow our relationship with Him each day guided by His Spirit.
Questions for Reflection:
Name the spiritual desire you might have your heart set on that you are looking for in a physical pursuit. Can the material discovery you're looking for satisfy your spiritual need? If so, how?
What difficulties do you face believing/trusting in God when you cannot see Him? Explain why or why it might not be difficult for you.