Crossfit and Christianity
What do Christianity and Crossfit have in common? I have been considering this question the last few months, since becoming a member of a local Crossfit community [Crossfit OLAF]. (Crossift is an intensive exercise program [in a group setting with coaches] that uses weight lifting and gymnastic exercises–it is known for being high intensity and rigorous).
Here are some interesting parallels between the Crossfit experience and living for Jesus:
1. Group Encouragement: Crossfit is a social experience where we are all in it together to become more fit. Together, we tackle very difficult exercises and we encourage and cheer each other. Christianity is like this: we are in a body of believers, united in the cause of seeing Christ’s Kingdom advance, and we encourage each other along the way in our fight against sin and temptation. Living out your faith in Christ is difficult, but a follower of Christ is helped by the words of affirmation and comfort from other Christians.
2. Intentional Instructing: When I first started Crossfit I had to undergo 3 weeks of training on the basic movements of lifting weights and gymnastic movements. My coaches corrected my awkward movements and constantly helped me make adjustments. The Christian faith is similar: we disciple new believers and teach them the basics of what it means to be a Christian, how to pray, and how to grow closer to God. Intentional instructing is vital in the Christian faith, which is what Christians called discipleship.
3. Multiple Tools for Growth: In Crossfit we use a variety of weightlifting and gymnastic moves to train our bodies. Sometimes the focus is on the back and legs (squats and deadlifts), other times its the arms and abs (situps, pullups, pushups), sometimes its heavy on weight lifting and other times its more about metabolic conditioning. All of these exercises work together to shape our bodies. In a similar way, God has given the believer various spiritual disciplines to help the Christian love God and neighbor and to grow in godliness: praying, reading Scripture, tithing, fasting, fellowship, evangelism, etc. When one of these is missing or out of shape, so our walk with the Lord suffers.
4. Transformation Over Time: When I started Crossfit I could barely do a pushup and struggled with the most basic of movements. Now that I’m four months in, I feel reasonably confident with the basic movements and can lift much more weight. This transformation occurs over time, and not over night. I know that if I stick with Crossfit–which is what I hope to do–then I will see more transformation in the upcoming months. The same is true for the Christian: when someone turns from their sin and places their faith in Christ, they will see their life transform over time. Sure there are some things that are instantaneous–a Christian is now forgiven of sin, now a child of God, now a new creation, now sealed with the Holy Spirit–but growth in godliness and Christ-like character (sanctification) occurs over time. Often, change early right after a conversion is the most dramatic, but usually change occurs over time, as God helps a Christian become more like Christ daily.
These are just a few of the analogies I’ve noticed, but I’m sure there are more.