Friday, March 14, 2014

Cross training...

This topic has been on my mind for a while now. I'd wonder, "What about an article on 'cross' training?" Then I'd think, naw - it's probably been done to death already.

Today I decided to look it up and find an article on the kind of cross training I meant and post it to my face book wall, which is what I do when I am trying to avoid doing actual work - I either "pin" the idea or post it and give the illusion of productivity.

I typed cross training into Google and came up with 331,000,000 results (in .31 seconds!) 

The first one that came close to what I was looking for was about training to share the gospel "across cultures." Not quite what I was looking for. I looked on and the post that followed that one was for a company that recycles computers. Seriously? Finally on page seven I found a link to a group called Men at the Cross with a series on training men to share Christ...still not quite what I was looking for, (even though I did bookmark it to read later.)

After getting to page 15 of my search without finding what I was looking for, I finally stopped. Seems there is a LOT out there about getting our bodies into shape through training "across" the disciplines, but there is very little about doing the same for our souls. 

I get it. One is a WHOLE lot easier to discuss than the other. Interdisciplinary training physically yields results the world can see. We get better at our sport, look better physically, and of course get the benefit of bragging about how much we work out...and the world likes that. The other "cross" training, however, isn't quite as accepted by the world. It is the training that says to follow Christ we must, "take up our cross and follow..." We don't like to follow. 

In America, we pride ourselves on pulling up by our own bootstraps. We are tough! We are leaders! We do things "our way." We even dare to want our sandwiches prepared, "our way." One of my favorite quotes from a movie is "My way, no highway option." We are strong, we are invincible, we are....sorry, almost broke into a song from the 70's there. Still you get the point.

But Jesus gave another command. He said to take up our cross and follow Him. Give up our dreams, our desires, our plans for life and lose everything that we might think is important. To follow Him? Where? What does He have planned? 

I'm not sure this is the "cross" training I want. Where are the motivational posters? Where is the blaring music in the gym? Where are the cute outfits that I just KNOW I will one day fit in without looking like a partially popped can of biscuits? This kind of "cross" training looks HARD!

I kind of like the world's cross training, mainly because it's all about ME. This cross training is about GIVING UP me. It's all about HIM. 

That "cross" looks uncomfortable. It looks hard. It looks rough. It doesn't look fun at all! 

But the thing is, Christ hasn't asked me to take up HIS cross - that is one I could never have carried. He simply tells me to take up MY cross...the one I already have. It may seem larger to me than that of someone else, but then again I don't really know what theirs looks like. Each day, I get the chance to "cross" train by picking up my cross and following Him. I get to choose what to do - follow or not. THAT is real cross training.

There are no motivational posters on the wall (well, I guess all those scriptures I post on my facebook wall might count...) There are no "competitions" to prepare for....except the ones against the enemy and those are not really that much fun. As for cute clothes, well, I guess you could print yourself up a t-shirt if that helps, but that's not really what it's all about. 

This "cross" training isn't the kind that pops up in a Google search, but it does pop up in God's search. The Bible says His eyes go to and fro looking for those totally committed to Him. (2 Chron. 16:9) 

I have a feeling there is a LOT more to this "cross" training than any Google search could ever record...and I'm just starting to scratch the surface. For now, I'm doing my best to figure out how to "grab" this cross of mine - where to even start trying to pick it up. 

Thankfully I have a patient "Trainer" who never condemns, always encourages, and knows just how to motivate me when I want to quit....and a "high-five" from Him means more than anything else in the world.

Cross's just not what I thought it would be.

Matthew 16:24-26 (ESV)

Then Jesus told his disciples, “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 will find it.  For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
 Matthew 16:24-26
The Message (MSG)
24-26 Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?

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