Changes are coming to your inbox next week. Be watching for Dare 2 Share’s new, free, weekly Mobilize e-resource! While Soul Fuel has had a long and fruitful run, this is the final issue of the student e-devotional. Across the years, we’ve found that Soul Fuel’s readership has increasingly shifted from students to youth leaders. So we had the brilliant idea…why not provide something targeted more directly to our readers!?!
Whether you’re a youth leader or a concerned adult, Mobilize will provide you with the practical help you need to prioritize the advancement of the gospel in and through your students! Get inspired and equipped to personally embrace a gospel advancing lifestyle, learn how to pass that passion on to others and get the practical tools and tactics you need to fold the seven values of a Gospel Advancing Youth Ministry into your youth group.
Of course, you can still access Dare 2 Share’s Soul Fuel archives on our website. And if you’re looking for a weekly youth group curriculum replacement for Soul Fuel, we encourage you to check out our affordable, downloadable Youth Group 2 Go product line.
Continue with this week’s Soul Fuel…
I have to admit it—I’m totally addicted to American Ninja Warrior. Whether it’s the awkwardly brilliant commentary from Akbar, or the jaw-dropping feats from the athletes, the action is riveting and inspirational.
And what adds to the appeal for me is the fact that the Warriors who excel and move on all have certain skill sets that have to align like a planetary anomaly. You could push all the weights you want, sprint like you have a grizzly bear chasing you, or climb like Mt. Everest is a walk in the park. But if all those abilities don’t combine at the right time in the right place and in the right way, you’ll find yourself doing your failure interview with Kristine Leahy!
So how do we make an epic show like American Ninja Warrior even more epic?
Easy! Just pit teams of the best of the best against a course AND each other at the same time!
Hence ANW 2.0—called Team Ninja Warrior.
Brent Steffensen and Evan Dollard and Kacy Catanzaro—oh my!
You know, watching Episode One of Team Ninja Warrior actually inspired a few thoughts that I would like to share with you, because in a very real sense, we hold several things in common with these elite human beings, even though you may not realize it.
In other words, let me spell out for you how you, too, are a Team Ninja Warrior!
First of all, if you are a Christ follower, you are in serious training:
We all know that when there’s a race, all the runners bolt for the finish line, but only one will take the prize. When you run, run for the prize! Athletes in training are very strict with themselves, exercising self-control over desires, and for what? For a wreath that soon withers or is crushed or simply forgotten. That is not our race. We run for the crown that we will wear for eternity. So I don’t run aimlessly. I don’t let my eyes drift off the finish line. When I box, I don’t throw punches in the air. I discipline my body and make it my slave so that after all this, after I have brought the gospel to others, I will still be qualified to win the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24-27, The Voice).
The Ninjas are physically training to run a short race and win an earthly prize, and we are engaged in spiritual training to run a lifelong race to win a heavenly prize. Both types of training require focus, discipline and a desire to achieve.
So rather than pump iron, we pray incessantly. Rather than run wind sprints, we follow the Holy Spirit’s leading. Rather than climb walls, we conquer sinful desires.
But that’s only half the equation, because like the Team Ninja Warriors, we also are competing alongside our teammates against a very formidable opponent:
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6: 10-12, NIV).
Did you notice that the word “our” is one of the key concepts that Paul is going for here? Interestingly, when he wrote this verse, he was picturing a Roman soldier, and when the Roman army went into battle, they actually locked shields together to work as a team. And this is one of the reasons they were able to conquer most of the planet!
So it is with us—we are in a competition with our sinful nature and in a war with the Devil. But if we try this battle alone, we will epically fail.
So my friends, if you find any excitement and inspiration in watching Team Ninja Warrior, or you deep down dream about being one of the elite athletes who can jump over rivers and scale a warped wall—just remember that you are in training and you need your brothers and sisters in Christ to battle alongside you!
And best of all, if we stay focused and never give up the fight, we will cross the finish line of life and hear the greatest words we could ever hear from Jesus Christ:
“Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21, NIV).
Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action
This week—and really for the rest of your life—stay in strict training with prayer and studying the Bible. Keep yourself away from the temptations that trip you up, and invest yourself in godly friendships that help you in your struggle with the forces of darkness.
Accelerant: Fuel for THE Cause
Pray: Jesus, please help us keep our eyes fixed on You, so we can run for the prize and hear the words “well done, good and faithful servant” from You when we cross the finish line of life.
Read: Deuteronomy 31:6. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Get: Spiritual Warfare 101. Just using the term “spiritual warfare” makes some people squirm a bit, but this battle is real. Throughout the New Testament the words used when discussing this topic describe a true struggle: fighting words, boxing verbs, even military imagery. This is a serious and intense war. Don’t leave your students unprepared! Help them understand the basics of spiritual warfare with this downloadable Youth Group 2 Go topical lesson. Just $4.99.
Discussion Guide for Leaders
Want to use this Soul Fuel as a bible study with your students this week? Copy and text them the following: “Does your life ever feel like a race? The Bible says you are, check out this week’s devo for some life training!:http://hubs.ly/H01X5cs0”
Big Idea: Like Ninja Warriors, we are in training and we are in a competition.
Key Scripture: Ephesians 6:10-12
- How are you doing in your spiritual training?
- What Christian friends do you have who could help you in the battle?
- How motivated are you to hear the words “well done” from Jesus? Why?
- What other ways could you apply this Soul Fuel to THE Cause?