As the sport of CrossFit continues to grow, I find it extremely amusing how easy it is becoming to pick out fellow Crossfitters. (Or people completing the same genre of workouts) The Nanos are a dead giveaway. (Or the Innov8 or the Nike Metcons) add in a pair of Lululemon shorts, a T-shirt with some catchy phrase on it, and a pair of tall socks and I can pretty much pick a CrossFitter out of any crowd. This isn’t a new phenomenon. You can pick out a basketball player by the clothes they have on, you can generally pick out a golfer by their attire. Every sport has its own distinctives. Those distinctives make it easy to identify the person with the sport they compete in. The irony of these stereotypes is that any person anywhere could create an image that identifies with a sport they have no association to. If my dad, who does not do CrossFit, were to walk into the mall wearing a pair of Nanos and a Rogue T-shirt, I can guarantee you he would be identified as a Crossfit guy.
We laugh at this reality that people can pretend and disguise themselves as whatever they would like based off their appearance but the reality is that we do this in our spiritual lives as well. In Jeremiah 9:25, God warns the people of Israel about the substance of their faith merely being the outward sign of circumcision. In those days, circumcision was the sign and seal of God’s covenant with his people. Circumcision was literally the T-shirt that identified God’s people as His distinct from the world. Jeremiah’s warning in verse 25 is simple. There will be a day when God no longer tolerates people identifying with Him by external means only. God warns the people of Israel against pretending. What God desires most, and He stated this in verses 23 and 24 of chapter 9, is for His people to be circumcised in their heart. Outward, external markers are not the substance of faith. In the same way that anyone wearing a CrossFit T-shirt doesn’t make them a Crossfitter.
In Jeremiah chapter 9, God swears to punish his people for their false identity. The people of Israel had put on a façade of faithfulness when their hearts were nowhere near to God. They had put on a costume pretending to be faithful followers of the Lord when in reality their hearts were far from Him. We do this still today. The Christian faith is full of people who put on a façade of belief by attending church on Sunday morning and posting a Bible verse on their Twitter from time to time. These external actions not only will not save you but there fakeness are an insult to God. (Clearly I am not saying you should not go to church or post Gospel focused ideas on social media) What God wants from us still today is our heart. The actions that follow give glory to God when they flow from a heart submitted to Him. We live in a country whose culture is full of people who simply “put on the T-shirt” for the societal identification. Thousands of years ago, Jeremiah condemned Israel for this same offense. Uur fakeness and our façade has not gone unnoticed. God has noticed and He is not fooled. Examine your heart. Are the actions and words that identify you coming from a place of faith or are they simply attempts to appear faithful?