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Words Matter

Spiritual Training Cycle: Foundation (wk. 8/13)

Nobody told me that joining CrossFit would require me to learn a new vocabulary.

AMRAP. Chipper. EMOM. Fran. Grace. HSPU. Metcon. Murph. Muscle-ups. Pistols. RX. Thrusters. Toes-to-bar. Unbroken. WOD.

For the newcomer, seeing this language on the whiteboard can be confusing and intimidating. Even talking to a veteran can feel like you’re listening to someone who is speaking a foreign language: “I went on SugarWod to see today’s WOD and was bummed to see the Metcon was a modified Cindy AMRAP” means very little to the average human being, but to a CrossFit athlete, that phrase makes perfect (and potentially painful!) sense.

But CrossFit is not just about a new vocabulary. It’s about understanding the meaning behind the vocabulary. When it comes to fitness, words matter.

Vocabulary is just the beginning Words matter. They matter because they carry meaning. And the best words carry deep, rich meaning. Not just “that sentence makes sense” meaning, but “these words can change my life” meaning.

“The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” – Psalm 19:7

Three thousand years ago, written words were few. We were transitioning from oral traditions to pen-and-paper. (Okay, it wasn’t quite pen-and-paper yet, but you get my drift.) The Hebrew scriptures were some of the earliest writings known to man.

During his reign, King David was expected to keep his own copy of these scriptures close at hand at all times. The Hebrew Torah - translated as “the law of the Lord” in the verse above - included the Biblical books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. These were David’s regular reading assignments. In fact, Jewish scholars tell us the king was expected to carry his own personal copy of the Torah in a small tube attached to his right arm for easy reference (Sort of like a three-millennium-ago kindle app for the iPhone!). David needed access to God’s Word because he knew that God’s word matters.

Soul-reviving and Wisdom-imparting It has been more than 1000 days since Covid-19 shut our society down. While we’ve emerged from our homes and re-engaged in normal life, life isn’t normal anymore. The social, political, and economic climate has changed. Life is hard in ways that we weren’t even thinking about 36 months ago. The good news is that the word of God hasn’t changed. His soul-reviving, wisdom-creating Bible is as powerful today as it was three years - and three millennium - ago.

The solution? – spend time in God’s word. King David read God’s word consistently, and it revived his soul and gave him wisdom in some very tough times 3,000 years ago. It will do the same for us when we read it consistently.

Breath deep in God’s Word If reading the Bible is a new rhythm for you, a great place to start is the gospel of Mark. It’s the shortest (and some say the strongest) of the four Gospels (the first four books of the New Testament). When you finish that, turn to Proverbs. There are 31 chapters in Proverbs; many people read a chapter each day of the month, then start over again. Several of Paul’s writings in the New Testament are short and inspiring: Philippians, Galatians or Ephesians might be a great place to dive in. If Bible reading is not new to you, perhaps a deeper study of Romans or a year-through-the-Bible commitment may make sense. The key is to make Bible reading a consistent part of your day.

God’s word is powerful enough to revive a post-Covid soul and make wise those who feel too inadequate or anxious or fearful to handle the complications of life in 2023. The challenge: you and I need to be like King David and carry God’s word with us daily. Breathe deep in God’s word as we realize just how much His words matter.

Questions for Reflection:

What does God’s word in Psalm 19:7 say to you? How would you apply it to your life?

How do you deal with words, phrases, or passages in the Bible that are confusing or don’t make sense to you?

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