These past few weeks, our series in church is about cross training. We as Christians need cross training to be prepared on life’s battles. If we are not cross trained, temptations and problems will be too hard for us.
For this post, I won’t follow the exact pattern of our preaching. Instead, I will also put my own take in these series of preachings.
For us to be cross trained, the only thing we need to do is to continue even in tough times. Don’t lose heart but don’t be too lax. Have the DISCIPLINE to be cross trained REGULARLY.
Our pastor demonstrated it like this : In cross training, we are like walking on a thin line and whenever we go out of that line, our mind should only be focused on NOT TO BE DISCOURAGED but DO NOT BE TOO RELAXED as well. We always have to give our best while training; but in times we fail and felt tired, we should not lose heart. We have our mentor, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Until one day, you can already cross not just a thin line but a tight rope on a high mountaintop. Just like boxers or basketball players, God wants us to be prepared in many trials and temptations. Cross training will help us not just in trials, but also in temptations, losses and even pain. Cross training makes us a better Christian.
Champions are not made in the ring. They are only recognized there. -John Maxwell
With his kind of cross training in his personal life and boxing career, Pacquiao is already a champion even when the judges say otherwise. We always want to be like the “champions” but the question is, “Are we willing to do the same kind of training they have?“
We are already winners even before winning the “fight,” the true battle is in the trials and temptations we face before the fight. We need to be cross trained or life will just knock us down in times of hardships.
For us to be cross trained as Christians, we must ALWAYS :
We must pray whenever, wherever and whatever our situation is. The prayer of a thankful heart matters. If we seek His Kingdom first, EVERYTHING will FOLLOW. God knows our needs and our prayer even before we open our mouths; but in praying, we learn to communicate with God and prioritize Him DAILY. When we pray, our faith increases.
B. Read the Bible
It is a necessity for a Christian to always read the Bible so we can learn more about God and also hear from Him through His Word. It is okay to read daily devotional; but it’s still best to read our Bible first before reading a devotion. They say that reading a devotion is like chewing food that was already chewed by someone else. Let’s feed our souls by reading first-hand Word from God.
By reading His Word, we’ll know the direct answers to our prayers.
Don’t let the dust eat your Bible. Read it instead!
C. Give Unconditionally
Our pastor said, “Give until it hurts.” Giving is easier for us Christians because we already know what God has given us. It is just too easy to share the overflow of the blessings He has showered upon us.
When we give, God gives more! In giving, it is best to give secretly and let God get the glory of our giving. Because of social media, giving or receiving something have been too easy to share lately. That’s why we are encouraged to give in secret and let God get the honor in our giving.
Now sometimes, giving has been too easy for us that we tend to easily give material things; but let us not forget that the best thing to give is ourselves — our time, love and effort for someone — that someone could be our enemy, a stranger, a father who left or a friend who betrayed. It is very easy for us to give to someone who’s nice to us and will treat us back nicely. The challenge is in giving to someone who can’t give back. God sees every giver especially the giver of oneself. We give because we have too many blessings to keep. Not just material things but eternal blessings.
The problem in our society is that the poor people felt privileged to ask for help while the rich people felt entitled to receive favor. It becomes harder for us to give because we always ask for what we deserve. The truth is, we don’t deserve anything! Because of our sins, we deserve to die on the cross. Our pastor also added, “After salvation, EVERYTHING is BONUS!” The moment we become a Christian, all good things that happen in our lives are automatically a BONUS from God. Blessings are not just material things; it could also be good health, happy relationships, wisdom, promotion, stable career, and many other things that we can be grateful for — a faithful wife, smart children, high grades, happy life, and healthy body are all a bonus right after we’ve been saved. Without grace, it’s impossible for us to get the blessings we deserve. That’s why giving should be a practice. Now how should we give?
Give in SECRET.
When we still count the things we give to others, we still don’t know the worth of what Jesus gave.
It is expected from us Christians to FAST. In the Bible, Jesus gave an equal weight in fasting, praying and giving. In fasting, we assume that punishing ourselves will make God answer our prayers. Wrong!
Fasting is counter intuitive – we don’t understand why. But here are some reasons on why we have to fast :
1. To give God a way to purify our hearts from idols. We are consumed to the busyness of life that we have to be purified. Fasting is God’s way to purify us and be focused on what needs to be prioritized. We are so busy in life that we forget about God and spend more time in idols. What are idols? Idols are anything or anyone that will make us hate God when they are taken away from us. Idolatry is anything that consumes us.
Personally, my idols are my family, work and Facebook. That is why this fasting week, I stopped using Facebook and I finally understood what it means to be focused. I learned to value life more and to take one step at a time. Moreover, I also learned to communicate to Jesus instead on Facebook. I was reminded on what truly matters.
2. Fasting will remind us what to focus on. Look at God and no one else. We tend to focus on our identity, security and significance. It’s always about us. We define ourselves by the brands we use, our possessions, our title in life, our travel experiences. It’s always about US. Fasting helps us know what we can exchange for God.
3. It’s a never ending discovery to know God. Through fasting, we will learn more about Him. Last January, we had our first fasting for 2015 and we also had one of our best breakthroughs in life. Relationships have been reconciled and my husband won a Vespa PX-150 plus a Php 25,000 worth of gift certificates to shop in major brands. This is an unexpected blessing because we only have 1 entry and we already forgot about the contest; but God is so good that He knows what we need even before asking for it. My prayer at that time is for me to have a way to bless my husband. My husband always blesses me. He always sacrifices his needs just so he can prioritize mine. My prayer is for God to just give back all the things my husband gave me.. but God gave him more.
God answers prayers especially when we fast!
4. Fasting allows us to hear God more — give us more sensitivity to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes fasting is best when we consecrate ourselves to God alone. No MEDIA. Because I have a lot of medicines to take, I cannot fast the whole day so my whole fasting week is not just about skipping meals; but also to disconnect myself in social media. It helped me hear God’s corrections and instructions CLEARLY.
5. Fasting doesn’t change God. It changes us. We do not fast to gain the world. We fast to gain more of Him. Fasting will teach us how to sacrifice and give up things for God but that doesn’t mean that our sacrifices will save us. It simply means that our sacrifices will change us.
Along the process of training, God will show more of Himself and as always He will prove to us that He is Faithful and Just to complete what He started in our lives.
As we end our series in church, I would like to pray for you. Close your eyes as I pray for you.
Father, thank You for this reader’s life. I pray God that he will have the strength and the motivation to be trained by You. May this reader find You in times that he is lonely and depressed. May he find encouragement in times of sadness. Lord, I pray that as we continue to walk in life, may he be reminded to always pray, read the Bible, give and fast. May this training teach us to number our days and be focused on our goal — that is to glorify You in everything that we will do. Continue to bless this reader God. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
Did you pray along with me? Do you want to know God more? We have friends who can help. Like 700 Club’s page by clicking here. They can help you in your walk with God.
Keep up the good work. Don’t lose heart! Don’t be lax!