Our family has officially fallen in love with bike riding.
From bumpy neighborhood sidewalks to secluded trails, we have been busy exploring our town on wheels this summer.
Our oldest son is quickly becoming a master cyclist and our toddler enjoys the view over my shoulders from her carrier seat. Our middle son, however, is still very dependent on his training wheels. This is not necessarily a problem for a four year old, however one of these small wheels gave us significant issues on many of our rides. The screw would loosen causing the wheel to tilt and turn resulting in his inability to balance. The poor guy wanted to ride like his older brother but was restricted by his dependence on the inconsistent third wheel. True freedom will come for him in another summer or two when he can throw away the “help” of the training wheels and balance on the two tires created for riding.
I find myself often leaning on alternative “wheels” on this ride of life. Finding balance and freedom in the gospel alone seems scary. Certainly, I need something more than Christ’s work to effectively complete the trail in front of me.
So I strap on the training wheels of affirmation. If others approve of my work and support my endeavors, I will be successful. My work is only meaningful after all if others appreciate it.
I tighten the screws on the training wheels of perfection. Sure I will never be perfect enough to gain eternal favor with a holy God, but I need to get as close to flawless as possible in my everyday work. When I fail, it’s just a sign that I need to try harder next time.
I lean on the training wheels of worry. Someone needs to think through every scenario and outcome. There are so many details that could go wrong. If I can circumvent just a few of them, my ride will be smoother.
Unfortunately these wheels (along with dozens more) are just like my son’s tilting bike. They are broken and offer no true or lasting support.
Affirmation leaves me craving more and more attention from others. I act hypocritically because my actions are based on another’s opinion of me. I waste precious time in a conflicted state between slavery to others and slavery to Christ.
Perfection leaves me weary. My attempts to hide my shortcomings and to reach an unattainable ideal are exhausting and endless. My day begins with mistakes and ends with failures. I have convinced myself that if I work hard enough I will muster up my own version of holiness.
Worry wears me out too. My mind dwells on the cares of this life leading to discouragement and dismay. The beautiful goals and plans that seem to answer the worry crumble all too easily.
The truth is that as a believer, as a redeemed daughter of God, I don’t need spiritual training wheels. Anything less than the truth, love, forgiveness, and unfathomable grace found in the gospel of Jesus will not give me the support I need to finish the race.
Here’s even better news. My son needs help learning to balance until he is physically strong enough to ride like his older brother. This is not so for the believer. At salvation we receive the glorious benefits of Christ’s work on our behalf and from that moment forward, we have the complete enabling of the Spirit. Our growth depends not on our own strength and fortitude, but on our increased dependence on the unchanging truths of the gospel.
I can receive disapproving comments from others because I stand approved eternally before my Father.
I can fail on a daily basis because the ultimate work has been completed perfectly for me in Christ’s death and resurrection.
I can cast all my cares on Him because He cared enough to rescue my dead soul for His glory.
Friends, take off your spiritual training wheels (they will never stand up to the task anyway), and lean on the everlasting, all-powerful work of the Savior. You will enjoy the ride so much more if you do!