On Tuesday morning when we take off on our bicycles again from Prairie City we will start right off climbing up to Dixie Pass which peaks at 5,240 feet and we are starting at 3,300 feet here at Prairie City. Most of the climb will be at 6% grade and will go for about 8 miles. I will be in my small ring on the front and my big ring in the back meaning I will be in my lowest gear on my bike pushing with all my might on the pedals going about 4.5 mph. I will probably stop about 4 times to catch my breath, rest, drink some water and massage my neck. It will take me about 2 hours to complete the climb and then the cool thing is that it is downhill almost all the way to camp which is about 70 miles away. Another cool thing is that it will be very cool even border line cold as we get towards the top so we won’t overheat from the exertion. There are a lot of people who wonder why we do these bicycle trips, and the simple answer is that challenge is rewarding. These bicycle trips are a lot like living the Christian life.
One of the things I hear and read a lot of today is that living for Jesus is just trusting, and that effort, self-discipline, trying hard, and work are not necessary. I am memorizing the book of Hebrews and have the first 8 chapters down good. When you memorize a book you go over and over the verses until you can quote them in your sleep. In doing that you notice so much more that is in the book that you never saw before. Hebrews 6:1 says, “let us press on to maturity” which means work hard. The word “diligent” is used 6 times throughout the book. The words of Jesus were, “take up your cross”, “deny yourself”, “give up everything”, and choose the narrow, hard gate instead of the broad, easy gate.
There are 7 key principles to remember and practice that makes the cross and yoke of Jesus easy;
1. We are saved, forgiven, and adopted into the family of God by faith in the gospel, Jesus did it all, we are going to live with Him because He died for us. Our diligence and discipline is for the purpose of growing in the character of Christ and bearing much fruit for Him, doing something with our life that matters, and that changes others for all eternity, we are not working our way to heaven.
2. God gives His strength to us to do all that we do for Him, but we must ask. He loves to give His strength to those who ask, and ask often.
3. We will mess up, but it isn’t failure, just a speed bump. One of my favorite Bible verses is Psalms 37:24 which says, “When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand. “. That is me!!
4. God will supply the opportunities to do something great with our life, but we must look for them, and want to do something that matters. In John 4, Jesus says, “lift up your eyes and look”. Passivity, laziness, and apathy are not synonymous with faith.
5. Accomplishment, significance, and greatness require planning, thinking, wisdom, and goals are good to. God gives wisdom to those who seek it like gold and silver and pray often and ask for it because they need it.
6. Every accomplishment that really matters requires endurance, which is a major weak link in most people who attempt to do something with their life that is exceptional. The key to endurance is learning what it means to “abide in the Lord”.
7. The “basic disciplines of the Christian life” are means of God’s strength, guidance, wisdom, and passion. Bible reading, scripture memory, prayer, gathering with other believers, confession of sin, seeking wisdom, giving, etc are like eating healthy meals, sleep, brushing our teeth, washing our hands etc are to our physical life.