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Sequence


Spiritual Training Cycle: Presence (wk. 11/13)


At about the six-month to one year mark of a new CrossFit athlete’s journey they come to a crossroads. With regular attendance at a quality gym, they have no doubt by this point experienced some gains and made some progress. They’ve also developed some knowledge on how to move and because of all these factors, they’re beginning to experience more intensity in their workouts. I say crossroads because the decision they face is do they trust the process or do they pursue intensity. I love intensity, don’t get me wrong, but when an athlete comes in only focused on getting the most intensity from every workout, it sets the stage for burnout, mental fatigue, or worse, injury. It all comes down to having the right sequence.


And that sequence is established even in the first foundations class – mechanics, consistency, intensity. Mechanics both start and sustain the process. It’s critical to catch this because if you think mechanics is just checking a bunch of boxes one time, you’ll miss its importance in sustaining you as an athlete. You don’t pour a foundation and then build your house on the dirt pile next to it. You build on what you started, and it starts with mechanics.


Intensity is what drives the process to the desired outcome. Whether that’s fitting into your clothes better, lowering your cholesterol, or crushing a workout, intensity takes you there. It becomes the thing that drops you to the floor after a WOD yet has you asking at the same time what’s on tap for tomorrow. If you abandon the sequence and set your sights exclusively on intensity, it won’t be sustainable. Trust me.


There’s a sequence in our spiritual lives as well – faith, forgiveness, love, service. Faith in Jesus is the foundation of our spiritual life, the mechanics if you will. It not only starts your faith journey, it also sustains it. Our faith in Jesus brings His forgiveness, which is true peace. As the forgiveness from Christ takes root in our heart and grows, it produces a love unlike any other. And it is from this love we then go and serve the world, which is where the feel goods come from. Service is the mark of a grateful heart!


But in my own faith journey I’ve seen two pitfalls I want to caution you against. The first is forgetting your faith and focusing solely on service. This is just as dangerous as an athlete who pursues intensity without mechanics. Faith in Christ sustains your ability to serve others well, whether that’s family, friends, athletes, or coworkers. You’ll know you’re potentially in trouble when putting other’s needs before your own starts to frustrate you in ways it hasn’t before. Guard your heart.


The second is expecting other people to naturally be selfless and serve. You may get your kids to the soup kitchen or your friends on the mission trip, but honestly don’t expect them to be as stoked as you. Well, maybe the first time, but remember, without a stable foundation of faith in Christ, it’s out of sequence. The point of inviting them to serve with you is to share the faith that’s sustaining you. If you don’t share your foundation, you’re leaving a lot on the table.


When Jesus called His followers to go into the world and make disciples, they had the right sequence. Their faith in Jesus blossomed into an intense love and desire to serve. Mechanics, consistency, intensity. Faith, forgiveness, love, service. To get the most out of both your physical and spiritual life, you need the right sequence.


Questions for Reflection:

Does the suggested sequence of following Jesus impact what you share with those who don’t yet follow Him?


Is a life of service necessary for an eternity with God? What do you see as the relationship?

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