Getting into the spirit of the season
Jesus is perceived as a kind, gentle person, a great religious teacher. But we do not think much about what it took for him to carry that cross. No one in history outranks him in toughness, courage, heroism, and sheer dogged persistence.
As you ponder Christ carrying his cross, you will like what is happening to you--you are discovering you have what it takes to carry your "cross" to the bitter end. Your "cross" may be persecution or, in places where Christianity is under no threat, it may simply be fatigue in life's long race. In either case, the temptation is to quit, to sit down and live your own life without trying to SYNC with Christ at all.
Don't quit! Get into the spirit of Grit Season, the time of inner strength, using whatever methods you like under the "How to SYNC" tab. There is a lot more to this than just gritting your teeth and gutting it out.
In 2018, Grit Season is September 18th through November 24th, that is, from the day after the Day of Atonement (end of Mercy Season) to the day before the Feast of Christ the King (start of Vision Season). Here are some basics about the season. Don't get lost in the details. Read a little. SYNC a lot.
Your goal during Grit Season
To "carry your cross"--to keep on with your God-given assignment in life regardless of pain, shame, or fatigue. Never give up. Never give in.
The main festival of Grit Season is the ancient festival of roughing it (the Festival of Shelters, Sept. 24-30 this year), reenacting how Israel camped out in the wilderness for decades. They should have died under those conditions but God got them through, and we are still celebrating thousands of years later.
Grit Declaration to get on your mind
This is a day to carry our cross, and we keep going.
Note: Start each day in Grit Season by making this Declaration. As a person in SYNC with Jesus, you are authorized to declare this, so use your authority. Shape your world. Make your day.
Grit Prayer that SYNCs us with the Declaration
Give us endurance as we carry our cross.
See us through, prove us true just like you.
(Note: the Declaration and Prayer are on the Grit Season meme.)
The symbolic color for Grit Season is charcoal gray, representing dark threatening clouds. The meme has this dark ominous look. The icon for the season is a person carrying a heavy beam like Jesus would have carried to his execution.
The big idea behind the Grit Declaration
If we are in SYNC with Christ, we are involved in his risky, costly mission. But when we carry a cross, we are never out on a limb. He is with us every step.
His presence gives us what it takes to get through. "Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, 'For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.') No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us." Ro. 8.35-37, NLT
The Grit Declaration is our commitment about what we are going to do when the going gets tough because of Christ. Our minds are made up. We rely on the Spirit to give us the power we need when the time comes.
SYNC does not promise that you will feel courageous. The Declaration does not say, "This is a day to carry our cross, and we feel full of courage." It says we will keep going. We will act courageously whether we feel like it or not.
SYNC also does not lead us into any boasting about our grit or courage, as if we can say, "Bring on the difficulties! We will show you that we can handle anything." On the contrary, Jesus teaches us to pray, "Lead us not into times of testing [that will require a lot of grit to get through], but deliver us from evil."
Use daily or weekly
Key grit story
Peter and John praying for boldness after the court that condemned Jesus ordered them not to speak in his name, Acts 4.20-31
Key grit phrase in the Lord's Prayer
"Lead us not into times of trial" (or “Don’t put us into situations that will test our limits")
Key grit verse in the New Testament
“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame.” Heb. 12.2 (NLT)
Key grit verse in the Old Testament
"God answered Moses, 'So, do you think I can’t take care of you? You’ll see soon enough whether what I say happens for you or not.'" Num. 11.23
Like all the other SYNC seasons, Grit Season links you, your world, and your day today back to something huge God has done.
To "SYNC" with that God-thing means to align yourself with God's intentions when he did it. In this case the God-thing is that Jesus Christ showed us he had what it takes to see his mission through to the end, and he gave us his Spirit so we can do the same thing.
Jesus' command to us is not, "Take up my sword," but "Take up my cross." Grit Season is not about conquest, forcing the world to reform. It is about endurance, staying true to God, and letting God leverage that endurance to transform the world.
This view of violence is terrifically liberating. We are free from the burden of thinking we have to conquer the world, as well as the deception of thinking the world would be wonderful after our conquest.
Jesus never told his followers to conquer the world, and on judgment day he will not ask us how much we conquered. He will ask about two other things: 1) how were we his witnesses, especially of his resurrection, and 2) and how did we endure whatever the world threw at us because it did not want to hear our witness.
Grit Season follows Forgiveness Season in the SYNC cycle. Forgiveness is a good start. Courageous suffering is a totally logical next step, showing that the forgiveness was authentic and deep.