Like Learning to Ride a Bike

Hebrews 12:11 

11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. 


I have been thinking of the time when Canon, our son, learned to ride a bike, and this verse reminds me of this moment all the more.  Moving from training wheels to without, was a process that he was determined to do himself.  He decided, one day, that it was time.  As my wife or I went to help him he would push us away and say “NO.”  He was, again, determined to do it himself.  We’d both learned with our parents holding the back of the seat, walking alongside us until it was safe to let go.  We’d taught our oldest the same way.  Yet Canon wasn’t having it.  He’d get up and soon fall down, sometimes hard, and then scream, cry, yell and try again.  We’d try to help and encourage him, but he was ( a third time) determined to do it himself.   


Within about an hour, maybe two, he was riding.  Within a day he was zooming past us, speeding down our street.  Within a week he was racing; within 2-3 weeks he was riding, confidently, hands free.  “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace.”  Canon was determined to get it, and was soon flying down our street.  He learned something new every time he fell down and got hurt, got angry and yelled.  He’d learn the things that didn’t work and those that did in order to achieve his goal of riding a bike and applying what he learned each time. His determination to reach his goal made the discipline of falling, while he learned to balance himself, … worth it to him.  Falling was a momentary consequence for this unlearned skill, but only until it was learned.   


I’ve been discussing the importance of spiritual disciplines, but I must remind us of our goal.  The disciplines are not the goal, becoming like Jesus and less like our old selves is.  It’s a new skill that is learned over time by trial and error that often isn’t pleasant at the time, but “produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”  I don’t mention this story about Canon, because help is wrong.  Mentoring is imperative in the discipleship process.  I mention it because the determination was right.  It was having a goal, and that goal motivated determination in the process to see it to completion.  To not quit.  To quote Dallas Willard, “God isn’t opposed to effort, He is opposed to earning.”  So, give your best effort as worship.  We aren’t earning God’s affection in our effort, we are thanking Him for His affection over us.  


Spiritual disciplines are the method.  The way to develop ourselves in the way of Jesus as we worship Jesus. They are not the “thing,” Jesus is.  John 15 says that He is the vine and we are the branches… with this being the case, spiritual disciplines are the trellis by which that vine grows within us to produce a harvest of righteousness and peace.  Let the hope of eternal glory motivate us until the end.  Stick with it, we’re going somewhere.  We’re going to Him, …to be with Him and to be like Him.   



Love You, Trust Him- 



Pastor, newhopeforyou.com