Remember the first time you actually rode a bicycle? I’m sure you do. But here’s another question: Did you have ‘training wheels’ bolted to the back before you actually did it? If you are like most of us, you did. But here’s the thing: Did they really help you to learn enough balance to get the job done? Probably not.
In effect, the help that some folks give us … really isn’t help. Now I admit that those extra wheels saved me some bruises, skinned elbows and knees, but keeping me from falling didn’t teach me to learn the fine art of riding a bicycle.
Eventually, we took the training wheels off and I wobbled myself down the hill in the backyard until I crashed. But I was able to say “I rode my bike”! In the ensuing months I had a lot of mishaps but I can truthfully say I was able to continue my glorious career of traveling on two wheels.
The point of all of this is couched in the fact that not all ‘help’, helps us. Those who love us often endeavor to diminish the natural risks which are incumbent in growing up, but some things can not be avoided. Some things just take ‘practice’ to get good at it.
Living the Life of Christ is one of those things. When we first come to the Lord we have no foundation of habitual obedience because we haven’t practiced living how God wants us to live. As we endeavor to be what we know we should be, it is natural that we will make many mistakes along the way. And some times it can be very painful to us.
Having a broken heart for those mistakes is part of the process of living less like our old person and more like Jesus. But there is something we need to be aware of, as we ‘practice’ the Life of Christ’. With failure there are two things which are basic to spiritual growth: 1) sorrow for the failure and an accompanying desire to do better and 2), a measure of discouragement over that failure. The first is a naturally healthy motivation to try harder. The second can be a tool in Satan’s hand to convince us that we will never be good enough, so we should quit trying, altogether. We should be aware that the solution to sin is repentance, not quitting.
If Satan can convince us that we will never be acceptable to God, it is easier to convince us to go back to our former manner of life. ‘Giving Up’ is his goal, here. And what he is ever ‘helping’ us to center our lives back on self, rather than our Lord. Once it becomes ‘all about me’ again … it’s a done deal. He’s happy and God has seen one more child fall back into the darkness.
Brethren, there is ‘help’ and then there is help. We need to understand that God has not put ‘training wheels’ on Christian Living. Just like the bike, sometimes we are going to get bruises and scrapes. It’s called Practice, and there is no substitute for the process. As a matter of fact, because He loves us He allows us to learn the fine art of spiritually by letting us grow, painful or not.
So you see, God’s kind of Help teaches us lessons we will use in Eternity. And yes, sometimes it hurts. But we should always ‘get back on’ and learn from the experience, to His glory.