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Take Hold



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

Reading: Matthew 16:21-27


There’s a quote I use when I hear the phrase, “I don’t think CrossFit is for me.” I will say, “CrossFit is for everyone, but not everyone is for CrossFit.” What's unique about CrossFit is the transaction that occurs when you join a gym where coaching is their service. If your gym can consistently deliver relentless coaching and encouragement, that transaction can easily supply the value of a membership. When you join a gym like this, you are deciding to lay down a part of your life to entrust it in the hands of another. CrossFit was intended to serve everyone but not everyone desires to be served in this way.


Why is this transaction rejected? I think it's because oftentimes we like things better in our own way. The thought of spending money for someone else to tell you what to do sounds absurd to some. Instead of coming under someone else’s leadership, we choose to lead ourselves. While it's commendable to pave your own path and learn on your own terms, there comes a point in anyone's life where guidance is necessary. We believe far too much in ourselves to be the ones to help ourselves. The interesting part is that unknowingly we are being led or controlled everyday by something or someone and that doesn’t always take us any closer to where we intend to go. I believe success begins when we surrender our control for something of greater value.


We have a self-control crisis. We think that what we are holding on to has more value than what we could ever give it away to. For many of us the thing of most significant value is our own lives. Every day we do things to try and make our lives easier, happier, or more fulfilling. What you value the most is also the thing you have the most fear of losing. It's the same fear that enters our mind when we think of the discipline, the hard work, and the sacrifice it would mean to join a gym and commit to our goals. What if we considered our lives the same way as signing up for coaching? Could you lay down your life to take up something greater? The first question I might ask is, "What could be greater than my own life?" The answer is, the Giver of life, Jesus.


Rather than a transaction of give and take, Jesus offers a relationship that gives us more life the more we give our loves away. He says in Matthew 16:24-25, speaking to all who would choose to put their trust in Him,


"Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it."

To put it a different way, we are in the most control of our lives when we give that control to Jesus. We need to let go of the self-control where we try and grip life by our own hands and take hold of the self-control that surrenders everything into Jesus' hands. What do you have to lose? Well...everything. Verse 26 says,


"What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?"

Many of us think that we are in control of our own lives, but what power do we have to save our own soul? Knowing that Jesus took the initiative in the ultimate sacrifice of His own life on the cross gives us confidence. Because death had no victory over Him, death has no victory over us. Because He could trust His life in the hands of the Father, we can trust our lives in Him as well.


Jesus is calling us to follow Him and that will mean letting go of our old life and taking on a new and far greater one. While everyone may not be for Jesus, Jesus is for everyone.


Questions for Reflection:

What’s the process of surrendering control to God been like for you?


What are some of the things you find yourself trying to control in your own strength?

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