Friday, July 15, 2005

Discipleship is like Riding a Bike—There’s More To It Than Just Getting There.

Those who've spent time cycling have experienced a very real dynamic—how the very act of riding provides joy that goes beyond getting to your destination. Freedom, grace, and smoothness are an inherent part of riding a good bike, and even though you may be expending serious effort to get where you’re going, the air you move through keeps you cooler than you’d expect. It’s hard to adequately describe these things, but any one who has done serious cycling "knows" this dynamic.

The same is true of living according to God’s Word. While it too will get you where you need to be, it provides joys beyond that. It also provides a very real freedom: freedom from uncertain, and ultimately unhealthy, worldly perspectives. Moreover, the inherently perfect nature of God’s ways provide unique grace and smoothness and, although there is no denying that God requires real effort from us, something about the discipline of living in conformity with His precepts makes it easier than one would expect. Finally, that reality can only be partially described; it must be experienced to be fully appreciated.

That is reflected throughout scripture. Proverbs teaches that wisdom (i.e. living in conformity with God’s ways) “fills your soul with delight,” and provides “smooth” paths that “lead to contentment.” Prov. 2:10; 3: 6 and 17 (New Jerusalem Bible). Jesus tells us that shouldering God’s yoke is easier than it would appear and, as Jeremiah also recognized, gives “rest for your souls.’ Matthew 11:29-30; Jeremiah 6:16. Paul noted that living according to God’s direction gives us, among other things “joy, peace, patience,” Galatians 5:22, and strength beyond ourselves. Phillipians 4:13.

That’s not to say that being a dedicated disciple is without difficulty; the Old Testament, Jesus, Paul, James, Peter, and John make it clear that it can be very, very, demanding. But the truth remains that those who commit themselves to God’s direction are, like a cyclist, given special, indescribable, graces to get through those things as they get where they are going.

(Images dealing with cycling themes were posted July 11, 15, 20, and August 3, 2005.
Images about savoring God’s blessings were posted May 16 and 20, July 7, and 15, 2005.
Images about diligence/perseverance in doing God’s will were posted on October 1, 3a, 8, and 17 and November 7, 2004 and January 10c, June 11, 13, and 18; July 15 and August 27, 2005.)

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