Biking on the Beach
July 19, 2022
We just returned from our annual family vacation. It was a wonderful time of loving, laughing, sharing, and making memories. We mostly enjoy doing things together, but we each have experiences we enjoy alone as well. One of my personal favorites is bike riding on the beach.
Now that I have been doing it for a while, I know a few things 😊. I’m far from a skilled cyclist. But it doesn’t take much to learn some significant facts.
It is one thing to ride with the wind; to have the wind at your back. Riding then is fun. It’s light and enjoyable. It takes minimal effort to get results. You travel further distances and feel better about it. You get energy more than you lose it. The wind helps you get where you want to go.
It is quite another thing when you are coming back, riding against the wind. It’s a struggle. I always laugh when I watch other people ride against the wind. Their facial expressions are hilarious – they are straining, pushing, fighting to make progress against an unseen obstacle. The wind has become their nemesis. It’s an invisible wall.
How do I know that? Because it does it to me. The ride in the very same territory that had been so enjoyable and energizing when the wind was at my back is quite different now. My leg and arm muscles are burning, and it takes all I can give to pedal all the way back. I wonder to myself why I biked so far, knowing I would have to ride back. But it was because riding with the wind, riding with the wind at my back, was so fulfilling.
As I took my daily cycling trips, it occurred to me what an apt illustration this is for life, either walking in the Spirit or walking in the flesh.
Walking in the Spirit is having a God-consciousness. It's having Christ foremost in all your affections. It's pursuing God with all of your heart. It's not simply believing – it is following Jesus in every way in moment-by-moment obedience. Walking in the Spirit denotes reliance upon Him. He leads the way, and we follow. As He speaks, we listen, heed His warnings, and obey His directions. The Spirit's way leads to fullness of life.
God's Spirit not only guides us, He is the wind behind us. He empowers us. The Holy Spirit supplies everything we need to live a godly life, and He produces His amazing fruit in us. He gives sensitivity to the things of God and understanding about the situations and people in our lives. Even though we have challenges, life is easier, our hearts are lighter, and walking with Him gives energy – no guilt or shame.
Walking in the flesh is a lot like riding into the wind. You struggle. Life is harder. Your choices are the kind that reap difficult consequences. Galatians 5 tells us that the choices of walking in the flesh are those of self-indulgence, self-assertion, blatant selfishness. Yet they are the ones that lead you away from a life of peace and energy. You bring struggle into your own life and the lives of others. Life that Jesus intended to be full and overflowing (John 10:10) has so much tension and hardship, eventually. Not surprising.
Wise Solomon said, “The way of the transgressor is hard.” That was one of the verses my dad quoted over and over as we were growing up. He told us he learned from his own experience that going against the wisdom of God, not walking with God, “transgressing,” is foolish and will make life more difficult than we can imagine.
Why ride against the wind of the Spirit of God? You can live in the Spirit and find life to work as God wants for you, His loved child.