Faith and Works
One of the things I love about CrossFit is that it forces you to be a well-rounded athlete. It is a game of generalization, not specialization. Early on, I hated this about CrossFit. By nature, my instinct is to find something I’m decent at and focus in on that thing with 200% intensity until I feel that I’ve mastered it.
For many years, my strategy at CrossFit was to capitalize on my strengths and write off my weaknesses. I was always much more comfortable with working on cardio and body weight movements. When a technical lift was programmed, for about the first year, I would often skip that day altogether. Eventually I moved past that mentality and did the lift, but never gave any thought to the score for that day, telling myself that “I’m just not strong like those other girls.” Even when I would sign up with friends to do a competition, we would have this discussion: “We will do great on these 3 workouts, but we just need to know going into it that we’re not going to lift as much everyone else.”
After a few years passed, I couldn’t ignore the elephant in the room anymore. If I was going to spend this much time working on something, I needed to take it a bit more seriously. I began to switch my focus to working specifically on my weaknesses. I did the hard stuff. The boring stuff. The stuff I felt defeated at. The stuff I didn’t want to do.
Over time, I experienced a shift. Instead of wishing I was jumping rope or doing ab work, I began to feel proud of the fact that, even though I’m still not as strong as “those other girls,” I have come a LONG way from where I started.
I couldn’t help but think of how this concept relates to our spiritual journey as well. The Bible discusses the concept of having both faith and works. James 2:14 poses the question: What does it profit if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Then in verse 17 he answers the question: “Faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
For many years I lived as a Christian sitting comfortably in my faith. I felt good about the fact that I prayed and read my Bible and attended church services and was generally nice to people. But I had no idea what it was like to truly give up my life as I had built it in order to live out my faith on a daily basis. Just like lifting that heavy weight, it was something I really struggled with, fought against, and tried to excuse my way out of. But the more I drew near to God and really sought Him through His word, the more convinced I was that I was missing the whole point before. According to James 2:17, my faith had been dead for most of my life.
I think it’s important for each of us to ask ourselves if our lives are demonstrating both faith and works. I would challenge us all to step out of our comfort zones and truly seek God and what He wants us to be doing with our lives. Not as a desperate attempt to somehow earn our salvation, but out of love and obedience to Him. During challenging times, there are even more opportunities to live this out. Over the past year, I have loved watching people seek God, get a new idea, step out in faith, and then watch as He rewards and multiplies their efforts.
What if you went all-in and truly told God that your entire life was His?
What if you decided to give a large amount of money toward His work like the widow in Luke 21:1-4? I bet you’d be humbled and amazed to watch how the Lord makes sure you’re provided for afterwards.
Or what if you sold your big house in order to free up time, money and energy to put toward things more eternal in nature? I bet you’d experience an unbelievable sense of peace.
Or what if you flew across the country or across the world and committed to parenting a little one who just needs someone to give her a fighting chance in this life? I bet you’d be blown away to watch how the Lord can increase the faith in so many others and grow His kingdom through that one soul.
There are currently many needs in the US foster care system. Empty nesting could be the perfect time to invest in the lives of those vulnerable children and teens. Full time foster parents are also in desperate need of others who can provide respite care and give them a break from time to time.
It is human nature to think of excuses why living this extreme is not for you. Many people brought these same excuses to Jesus and the apostles when they were presented with the invitation of the gospel. Maybe you personally do have limiting factors, such as age or health concerns. The point is for each person to examine ourselves and ask the question: Does my life demonstrate both faith and works? And then to get busy doing something about it if the answer is No!
And who knows, over time, even though it will likely be very difficult, you may just start to enjoy this new way of life…
I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. John 9:4