For the next 8 weeks, we’re going on a journey through a series called CrossFit: Follow God. Conquer Life. During our spring semester of Youth Alpha, we established a foundation of belief in God. During CrossFit, we want to give you tools that will help you experience God wherever you find yourself.
With any talent or skill, you can’t just pick it up immediately and become a professional. Whether you’re an athlete, musician, singer, or an artist, the early stages of participating in these activities doesn’t equal complete competency. Any professional in these crafts would tell you that they had a starting point, and a path they followed in order to master their craft. As a percussionist, I didn’t just pick up a pair of sticks and have it all figured out. It has taken me 19 years of constant practicing, frustration, plateauing, and some success in order to have accomplishment as a musician.
Whether you play a sport, play, sing, or draw, in the big picture of life, we’ve got a starting point, and a path we follow.
It doesn’t take you too long to figure out that there are lots of directions in life you could follow. All of us have gone down different paths in life. Some of you right now might feel like you’re right on track. You’ve got a career goal in mind. You’re accepted to right school. Others might be crazy lost. You’re wandering around like a lost puppy just wanting some clarity. Lastly, there might be those who just don’t care if the path exists, and so you spotted a pond by the path and you’re taking a swim and aren’t in a hurry to follow the path.
It’s the same way with life. Each of us has a path we’re following, but we get lost from time to time. Sometimes, we have crazy things happen to us. A friend dies. A parent is sick, and so on. Maybe, you have made some decisions you regret, which have you walking down a path you didn’t want. Others, you simply don’t care and are still out swimming in the pond with not a care in the world.
For all of us, at some we’ve all wanted to return to the starting point and give it another shot to follow the right direction.
Well, I believe there is a starting point that we can begin life. You see, Jesus showed us the starting point for life, and has given us his example as the path to follow.
Over and over, Jesus told those he came in contact with to “follow” him. Plenty of people did exactly that. They would leave their jobs, and families and literally follow wherever he was going. But, Jesus didn’t just mean to follow him like we are part of his posse. When Jesus said to “follow,” he literally meant to walk in the example of his life- The way he treated others, the time he spent with God, the love he showed others. Following wasn’t just an outward expression, but it was something that also affected what happens to us on the inside. Jesus gives some pretty radical instructions to those who claimed to be his “followers.”
Here is what he tells his followers:
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the Gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” -Mark 8:34-36
Essentially, he’s saying to them “if this is the life you’re seriously going to live, you’ve got to forget about what you want.” Jesus is telling us that we have to follow the path of life that he’s laid out, but that we cannot do it if we’re too worried about ourselves. A life sold out for our own ambitions, fame, fortune, and desires, without Jesus, ultimately leads to nowhere. On the contrary, Jesus tells us that if we give up ourselves, and take up the cause of the Gospel, we will save our lives.
This is a huge decision these people were faced with because it didn’t just affect their immediate time, but it was a decision that affected eternity. It’s a huge decision for us too. You might be on the right path with the career goal and college. You might be lost and still figuring out what end is up. Or, you might still be out in the pond swimming. No matter what path you identity with, the most important thing comes down whether you have given ALL…not half or even 99% over to Jesus.
The example Jesus wants us to follow in doesn’t mean that problems will go away, that you’ll always feel good, or that you will even gain anything immediately. In fact, the opposite might happen. How is following Jesus a good thing? I look at following Jesus through my own experience of of playing drums: There are moments where I get it and I feel great. Some days, I’m just feeling bleh. Some days, I feel down and confused. No matter what, I know that following Jesus is the right path because I’ve experienced the life, and joy that comes from giving ALL of myself over to Jesus.
Having Jesus as your starting point and the path you follow is the biggest decision you’ll make.