How do You ride your bicycle?
Destin Sandlin tells the story of the backwards bicycle. When you turn the handlebars left, the front wheel turns right and vice versa. Having ridden a normal bicycle all of his life, Sandlin literally cannot ride this bike. His habits and thoughts are trained to ride a normal bicycle. But the story is different for his son. His son learned to ride using the backwards bike. He never knew anything else. As Christians we are more like Destin than his son. We come from lives of rebellion against God. Our habits and thoughts have been trained in seasons of rebellion. We cannot expect to just change overnight. We must go into training. The theological term for this is sanctification. We require a context where God works “to renew our loves, reorient our desires, and retrain our appetites.” (James Smith) The Bible speaks of such training this way, “Rather clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Romans 13:14) Putting on Christ is a life-long endeavor. It speaks of the work of Christ in our lives and our responses to that work. Putting on Christ involves a willingness to change. This is often where the breakdown occurs. Change is sometimes good in theory but always difficult in application. It requires embracing moments when we are challenged by God’s Word; and accepting life lived with the question, “What if I was wrong?” That question or something like it will continually invite us to dig deeper into the foundations of our character, to examine closely our beliefs, our habits and our goals. Being a Christian is hard work but it is the best work. It is not work to be done alone. Most significantly it is work done with Christ, through Christ and for Christ. Next it is work done with others in fellowship. This is how we raise the bar on our discipleship. Gerald