I woke up in a funk today, and was having one of those preacher pity parties that we like to have sometimes, you know those Isaiah Woe is Me Moments! So, after praying about it, I decided to get back out on my bike and test the road, my muscles and will. While riding my bike, I wrecked and felt even more abandoned and upset. :-) I rode a little further down Eno Road near my home and it was there that God gave me the breakthrough that I had been looking for! God spoke to me and said, "It wasn't anyone's fault but your own you just wrecked!" He also began to show me lessons on Spiritual Growth as well as Church Growth [since the Church is just a Macrocosm of what's going on in the lives of the individual from the pastor to the pews] from riding my bike! I'd like to share a few with you today!
1. It's hard on your flesh to ride a bike. It's hard mentally, physically, and emotionally to ride a bike when you haven't done it in a while. Your mind tells you you'll die if you try and pedal over that hill. Your mouth gets dry; your nose and ears stop up; and everything about you is saying just give up and go back to the house and get back in bed. JUST QUIT! We do that in our Christian lives as well. God begins to lead us in a new direction. He convicts us of our need to develop spiritual disciplines like Bible Study, Prayer, Fasting and Tithing. Maybe He is calling our further and deeper into His abundant riches and giftings, but our flesh is screaming NO! YOU'RE JUST FINE HERE! YOU'VE GONE FAR ENOUGH! YOU CAN'T GO ANY FURTHER! The same is true for church growth as well! God moves and calls us to new ministries but our flesh is comfortable with the people we go to church with. We think, "Why do we need to reach more people, or a different type of people? Why do we need to change anything when we're comfortable now?" BUT WE MUST PRESS ON! WE MUST FULFILL OUR PURPOSE OF GLORIFYING GOD IN EVERYTHING WE DO! That's why we exercise. That's why we discipline and push ourselves. And that's why we follow the prompting of His Spirit no matter how little sense it makes to us at the time! PRESS ON!
2. Overcompensating because of Fear will cause you to wreck! As I said, I had a wreck. It wasn't a bad one with complex fractures of the tibia and fibula, but I did get scraped up and bruised a little. What happened was I was going down a hill and decided to turn right onto a side road. This side road had a lot of gravel on it and the turn was coming up fast. AFRAID that I wouldn't be able to make the turn I overcompensated and started braking hard and fast. I broke too hard and too fast! As a result my back tire began to slide to the left as I was turning right. I lost control and my right leg was sliding under the bike with the back tire. As I said, God spoke to me and said, "It wasn't my fault you wrecked." It was my fault! I OVERCOMPENSATED BECAUSE OF FEAR! We often do the same thing. We are afraid of the direction God is taking us because it's different than anything we ever knew before. We're afraid of what our lives will look like after the change because we have grown comfortable with life as we know it. We're afraid as leaders and pastors that people won't like us if we try and lead the church to make changes, so we never try; and we get frustrated with ourselves, others and God. We're afraid that our peers will turn their backs on us if they find out that we've changed our opinion on a doctrine or tradition of our denomination. SO WE SLAM ON THE BRAKES! And we end up a wreck because we didn't trust God to keep up safely through to the other side where He wanted to take us! We drowned in the middle with God pulling us from one side and our fleshly emotions and peers pulling from the other. DON'T LET FEAR KEEP YOU FROM WHAT GOD HAS FOR YOU! He has not given us a spirit of fear [2 Timothy 1:7]. And
3. You can coast longer than you think you can, but you can't coast forever! I have found that if I can push myself to the top of the hill right beside my house, I can coast down and to the top of the other hill. That hill though leads to a dead end, where I must turn around. I can coast back down that one, but I can only coast about half way up the first hill. I have also found that if I coast too long it makes it much more difficult to pedal to the top of the hill than if I start pedaling sooner while I still have some momentum built up. Here's the issue! We get to coasting in life and in the Church. Because you still have the momentum that was built from the climb, you coast down hill. You get down hill quick but a hill, sometimes not even as big as the first one causes us to quit because we coasted too long. We conquer one addiction only to get tripped up by a lesser problem. We conquer one growth plateau only to be stopped by the next one. We get to 300 but never beyond, because we got used to coasting and we coasted too long until the momentum was lost; and we didn't have the strength and energy to make the climb to 400 or 500. We made it up one hill and stayed faithful during a prolonged illness only to get stopped by some other issue of life, simply because we coasted when we should have been pedaling!
If you have found you have been coasting and losing momentum, START PEDALING! Start getting up earlier and spending time in the Word and in Prayer! Start exercising and change your diet to give you more energy physically! Start listening to Christian teaching and preaching on the Radio and Internet! Put on some Praise & Worship Music to strengthen your soul and excite your spirit!
Again, if we aren't where we need to be, or aren't leading as we should it is our fault! We must take ownership of our lives and learn the disciplines necessary to succeed! So again, JUST START PEDALING! IT WON'T BE LONG TILL YOUR BACK ON TOP AGAIN! God Bless!