Thursday, August 13, 2009

Walk the Path

A young preacher whom I do not know personally but whose blog I occasionally read recently posted some thoughts which challenged and intrigued me greatly. He narrates how he was “burned out, depressed, and stuck in a coffin-sized rut” in 2008. His doctor prescribed some medication, which helped, and he began doing an intense work-out routine called Crossfit while adopting CF’s recommended nutrition plan, The Zone. A year later he is off his medication, is planting a church in Austin, and feels fantastic. He notes:

Walk into a Crossfit gym and visit with a trainer and he or she will say something like this: Learn the fundamental movements, do the program, clean up your diet, and stick with it and you’ll get in the best shape of your life. You’ll be stronger, faster, leaner, and feel better. Follow this path and it will change your life.

Why does Crossfit have a cult-like following? Why won’t Crossfitters shut up about Crossfit? Why are we always inviting our friends to give it a try? Because it delivers on its promises in a way that few programs do. Crossfit works. Guaranteed.

When was the last time you said something like this to someone who was checking out your church: Walk this path with us as we follow Jesus, learn the basics of the gospel, listen to the collective wisdom gathered here, stick with it, and you will be transformed. You’ll find spiritual freedom, emotional peace, deep relationships, and the ultimate purpose for your life. Being part of our community will get you ready for anything life throws at you. We’re walking an ancient path that has been validated by the countless experiences of those who have gone before us. The gospel works. Give it a try. You won’t be disappointed. (see www.; July 20)

Hodges ends with this challenging assertion: “I’ve experienced more positive life change in myself and in others in the one year I’ve been doing Crossfit than I’ve seen in twelve years of church work.”

The Christian apologist G.K Chesterton famously noted that “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” Hodges is not implying that Christianity is a spiritual self-improvement program, because it is not. It is a religion, a worldview, and a way of life. Having said that, Jesus tells us that he came that we might have abundant life (John 10:10). Implicit in the gospel message is that we will experience transformation if we follow Christ in a significant way.

Following in a casual way won’t do. Again, Hodges: “One of the biggest differences between my experience with churches and with Crossfit is that in most churches there is very little expectation that what they are doing will actually change someone’s life.”

What expectations, indeed what desires, do you have for being changed by your relationship with Jesus? If you worship deeply, pray regularly, study the Scriptures, love and serve others, and give Christ the throne-chair of your life, you will experience change over time.

But you have to walk the path.


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