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Spiritual Training Cycle: Unity (wk. 13/13)

“What is CrossFit?” I don’t hear this question as often as I used to. Which makes sense. When CrossFit began in 2000, it started with one gym. Today, there are over 14,000 gyms in 120 countries. Suffice it to say, more people know what it is. But my answer to that question often raised eyebrows. Some may have been confused, others probably more annoyed at the arrogance of my response. “It’s the sport of fitness.” I mean, that’s what they brainwashed me to say at the coach’s course. But it’s true. This is the sport that attempts to measure fitness across the broadest modalities it can. To be the sport of fitness, one must define what fitness is. CrossFit’s definition of fitness recognizes ten general physical skills: Cardiovascular/Respiratory Endurance, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Coordination, Agility, Balance, and Accuracy. An athlete is as fit as they are competent in each of the ten skills. A portion of these you develop through training and others you build through practice. And while some skills have limited cross-over in our spiritual lives, others have incredible potential – especially stamina.

CrossFit defines stamina as, “the ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy.” Webster defines it as, “the bodily or mental capacity to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity.” The key to stamina is sustaining the effort over time. Consistency becomes the trait athletes with stamina express. Their interval times in a workout will look the same across all intervals. Their sets and reps won’t diminish, and neither will the weight they move. The proof of stamina is the ability to maintain power even with the workout is long in the tooth.

But stamina is not just a body or mind thing. Webster also defines it as, “the moral or emotional strength to continue with a difficult process, effort, etc.” In other words, there’s a soulful component to stamina. I like to think of this as spiritual stamina. Just like we work to hold the power steady in a WOD, spiritual stamina is about holding the power steady in life. Whether that’s heading to the in-laws for dinner, tucking your child back in bed for the 300th time, or saying yes to a friend in need, you now have the load necessary to build spiritual stamina. In spiritual fitness, the proof of stamina is not the load, it’s our response to the load. James says it like this:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds. James 1:2

Not just joy, pure joy. Proof of spiritual stamina is a joyful response to the load of life. Avery Rimiller defines this kind of joy as, “A feeling of good pleasure that is dependent on who Jesus is rather than on who we are or what is happening around us.” Joy is the proof of our spiritual stamina. So let joy be the hallmark of your life. In today’s questions for reflection, I ask you to think of the most joyful person you know. If I asked your friends this question, would they say it was you? I’m not talking about fake smiling and blessing everybody’s heart. I’m talking about genuine, deep, authentic, unshakeable joy. The kind people turn to when their own life feels like it’s in the toilet. In your pursuit of shalom, let the joy of the Lord be your strength, and let the joy in your life be your stamina.

Questions for Reflection:

How would someone know they are developing greater spiritual stamina?

Who’s the most joyful person you know and why?

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