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Spiritual Training Cycle: Foundation (wk. 5/13)

“Here, let me show you.” Working with athletes is amazing. I love that they come from different backgrounds each with different abilities and goals, yet they are all united by the pursuit of fitness. As a coach, I must help each athlete learn positions, movements, and skills, which requires a wide variety of techniques. If someone is to become a great coach, they must commit themselves to a life of study and training. We study, we train, then we coach. Along the way, coaches amass an array of verbal cues to establish and correct. We use these cues with groups as well as with individuals. Even with all the cues I have in my arsenal, many times the best thing to do is demonstrate.

To goal of a demonstration is simple – One who knows how to do something shows others through action. Action is key in demonstration. Think how many home cooks have been born out of the Food Network. Millions of people, including me, would tune in nightly to see what Emeril Lagasse or Bobby Flay was cooking up. We learned to do something by watching these chefs do it themselves.

Demonstration is also a critical component of the fitness journey. And I know because I’ve encountered plenty of athletes with poor habits. When those knees dive in during the squat, I cringe on the inside. And the story is often the same. They read some article on how to squat or someone in a gym tried to explain a squat, but it just didn’t connect. If I tell them to spread the floor with their feet, they’re going to look at me like I’m crazy. I need to show them. The genesis point of a new habit is good demonstration.

One of the areas of our life where we face a similar struggle is learning to love. By show of hands, how many of you grew up in a perfect home full of nothing but love all the time? Liars, put your hands down. I’m kidding obviously, but the reality for many people is they did not see a good demonstration of love as they were growing up. Some of you lived in homes where there was no love, little love, or tough love. Others of you were raised in homes where love was weaponized, it was withheld as a punishment tool. And unfortunately, there’s no class in High School or College that teaches us to love. Instead, like the athlete with the poor squat, we read books or talk to friends. What we need is a demonstration. The good news is that God is the great Demonstrator of love.

All of humanity is loved by God – including you! God loves you deeply and fully. And He demonstrates His love for you through His actions. Let’s start with grace. Grace essentially guarantees you that there isn’t anything you can do to make God stop loving you. God’s love for you is always on. His love is so great it pursues you. God has been in pursuit of you since the day you were born. His love is demonstrated by His willingness to meet you with love whenever and wherever you are. And His love is sacrificial. God sent His Son Jesus as a demonstration of His love for us. When Jesus defeated death, it made a way for those who put their faith in Him to defeat death as well. God’s sacrifice is a demonstration of His love.

Let me encourage you to apply these to your love life. Learn to love others with grace. Simply put, love others as God loves you. His love is patient, kind, gentle, and enduring. Let your love be the same. Learn to pursue those you love. Don’t turn your love off just because things are difficult. Pursue the relationships in your life that matter. Pursue your kids. Pursue your spouse. It’s worth it! And finally, let your love by sacrificial by going first. Be the first to say I’m sorry. Be the first to say I love you. Be the first to say I was wrong. Sacrificing your selfishness is an act of love. Go show someone what God’s love looks like and demonstrate.

Questions for Reflection:

Of grace, pursuit, or sacrifice, where could you do a better job of demonstrating love?

Do you ever feel unloved by God?

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