A few Sundays ago, my friend jokingly handed me these colorful five keys on a lanyard from one of her kids toys. She said, “You are missing these aren’t you?” I smirked as I playfully fidgeted with them in my hands. Each key was a different color and had its own unique shape. As the evening went on I had this realization that this silly toy was a symbol of something that Jesus was trying to speak to me and I believe ultimately to all of us. It is with childlike faith we see clearly what God is speaking to us. He can speak to us through anything he pleases, and what better way than through the playfulness of a child’s toy. As I lay in bed that night, I continued to ask the Father what these five unique keys represented and what “doors” they were meant to open. The next morning at my daily exercise class I was given the context for why these keys were relevant. We were completing a workout in honor of a soldier who died in Afghanistan. These workouts are grueling and many do not complete them, but for me there is a sense of patriotism and honor that comes with remembering the brave and courageous who fought for our freedom and the freedom of others by completing them. As I rounded the corner of my third 400 meter run, I thought I was going to fall over on the ground. Desperately, I grabbed for the box I was supposed to immediately begin jumping up on 40 times before starting the next part of the workout. My coach looked at me and said, “are you going to finish or are you going to stop? It makes no difference to me.” Some people chose to do four out of the five rounds to complete the challenge and then stopped, while others were slugging through to the end. I looked at him and said “I have to finish, I cannot stop now.” With what little grit I had left, I stared my two rounds left in the face and crushed them even though everyone else had finished. I thought I was going to pass out it was so intense, but I could not give up. I looked up at the sky and told God I was going to take whatever I had left in me and I was going to go for it. As I finished, I sat on the ground covered in sweat, hands shaking, legs weak, absolutely exhausted, but I did it. I dug in and finished the task at hand. I felt like I was at the end of a level in a video game and my score was populating on the screen as I saw in the spirit that God was giving me the key to the first door. He said, “what you did today is one of the keys that opens one of the doors to the mysteries of the life of Christ.”
While some might guess that it is love. Love is not a mystery of the life of Christ, because he is love. That is not hidden. It is also something we do to unveil the deeper mysteries of his being. As it says in Galatians 5:22-23, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control. We know that Jesus produces this fruit because he embodies them all, but the keys that are being unveiled are ones that one can only pick up on through revelation and relationship with Christ. It is in reading scripture and spending time gazing into the eyes of Christ we see more than meets the eyes. It is doing so we can truly know the life of Christ.
The five keys for opening these doors come when we do hard things with great love. It is the difference between knowing when to turn the other cheek and when to walk away. It is in knowing when you hear the voice of God and when you hear the voice of the enemy. No greater honor exists than to live a life as a humble servant for Christ. Furthermore, to do things with great love is to do things with excellence; which is the call of a true believer in Christ. The heroic sacrificial life of Jesus is in many ways emulated by those who serve to protect their people. The principles of the life of a Christian is found in the ethos of the men and women who serve their Country and go out into the world to protect our brothers and sisters around the world. That is why, the first key that God shared with me is grit.
If you want an inside scoop on who Jesus is and what he was like, his life as a man on earth is steeped in good old fashioned grit. Grit means that a person has courage and shows strength of character. A person with true grit has a passion and a perseverance to follow through on what they set out to do. The man who we honored by doing his favorite workout died in the line of duty. In order to do what he did he had the special key of grit. He set out on a mission and would see it through even to the point of death, just as Jesus fulfilled in his promise to be crucified on the cross for our salvations. Many call the story of Jesus fulfilling his purpose on earth the “Passion of Christ”. He has a deep overflowing love and passion for his people, to the point he used every ounce of grit he had left inside of himself to fulllfil the promise.
As I drove home I was filled with excitement at this new development. I knew that each day I would be given a chance to honor a fallen soldier by completing a challenge that they loved most. In turn, I would be given an opportunity to commune with Jesus to understand the mystery of who he is through others. The first day involved a lot of hinging with weights, jumping, and running. The second day was long amounts of various types of cardio. If you wanted to complete this workout in a reasonable time frame you had to be willing to endure the long bought of cardio without stopping. As I ran back and forth between the running course and the row machine I envisioned Jesus walking for miles upon miles to preach the gospel. It did not matter how tired he was, the important thing was that he never stopped moving and kept pressing through. That day, I am proud to say I never walked or stopped once for the entire hour. I kept running even if it was at a slow pace. When I completed the second day, the Lord without hesitation shared with me another mystery of the life of Christ. The key is endurance. This soldier could endure long amounts of cardio without stopping to get to where he needed to go just as Jesus had an endurance to go all over the Middle East to share the good news of the gospel never stopping to this day.
The third day came and it was in honor of another fallen soldier who loved partner workouts. In this particular workout we had several rounds of work to complete that we had to divide between us, followed by carrying your partner on your shoulders for 100 meters then switching. I could tell that some of the movements we had to complete were making her uncomfortable so I began to do more reps to lighten her load. I cheered her on and counted each round to get her through, never ceasing to communicate the task at hand and that she had what it took to complete it. It took a lot of communication to keep things running smoothly, which takes me to the third key. This soldier must have been the ultimate communicator and burden bearer because the third key is communication. The third mystery of the life of Christ is that he was a gifted communicator. He was direct with his chosen apostles and shared with them the truth of who they were and what they would accomplish to advance the kingdom. He knew when it was time to carry the burdens of others and how to direct them to complete what they were destined to fulfill.
As we continued to coarse through the week, I was excited to accomplish the next workout and reveal more about the Lord. The workout was all about climbing ropes, burpees, and running for as many rounds as possible within a short ten minute window. If you wanted to complete this workout, you had to understand how to pace yourself or you would burnout quickly and end up doing less rounds. It is the whole notion of slow and steady wins the race. This soldier was a bright man. He understood the importance of showing up each round with a consistent steady effort. As the clock struck ten I stood in the gym proud to have finished rounds consistently every 2 minutes. As I drove home, I asked the Lord what was so unique about this workout and what it revealed about him. He said, I was a man who new when to rest in the garden and when to work. I new what needed to be done even though the amount for me was limitless. That is why the forth key is consistency.
As we rounded out the week for day five of workouts honoring the fallen soldiers, we had a second team workout. This time is was two lifts at 50 percent of our one repetition maximum for each movement. It was important that we make sure the load was light because we had to do 11 rounds each. We also had to make sure that the weight was doable for each of us because we had to use the same bar. As the timer went off, I began to tap into the first four keys. I new that like Christ, I must use my grit to press through the heavy resistance of the bar. I had to use my built up endurance to complete all 11 rounds. Without communication we would have failed midway through the rounds, especially if the weights were not the right amount. And fourth, it was important that we were both consistent with how fast we went through our repetitions to ensure the proper amount of rest for our teammate. Thus, the last and final key that the Lord revealed to me that day was that he was a firm believer of teamwork. After all, he sent them out two by two to preach, teach, and heal. I believe that this soldier who loved this workout also had a high value for the men and women he worked alongside.
At the end of this week, there was a deep level of fulfillment as we went through five grueling workouts. It was fulfilling not only because we were honoring fallen soldiers and carrying on their legacies, but that I personally was given revelation on what these five keys opened up about Jesus. Jesus is the key to a fulfilling life. His legacy is far reaching beyond any other person who has, is, or will walk the earth. He is a far more dynamic and complex being than we ever talk about. It is a joy to discover more of who he is and the keys he is willing to share with us if we ask. To know him better is to know what we as his beloved children are capable of doing while in the world. So this week as you face your ups and downs, when you think of Jesus, broaden your view of who he is for us, and see that like Jesus you too can possess grit, endurance, excellent communication skills, an approach to life that embodies consistency in all tasks, and most of all that there is a team of people that Jesus wants to surround you with to accomplish great things while on earth. It takes teamwork to make this world a better place. We cannot do it alone, nor should you have to, so link arms with those Jesus brings your way and go win souls for the kingdom!