Do you remember when you were a kid and you first learned to ride a bike? Do you remember how many times you wanted to give up because you kept falling down and falling off? When we were learning to ride our bikes, what kept us going? No matter how many times we fell down, we would get back up and keep peddling because we knew that if we could just hold on long enough we would conquer the task and be riding our bikes all over. We were diligent to learn and diligent to keep trying.
The past few days the Lord Jesus has been talking to me about an area in my life that needs His grace. (Well, I need His grace in every area, but this one in particular He wants to tackle first.)Our spiritual walks are similar to riding a bike. We are going to fall down, we are going to get hurt and we are going to need diligence to keep pressing through. That is something the Lord Jesus is showing me I need in my life- more diligence.
I always start out well; I am peddling along, following what the Lord has asked of me. I am riding my spiritual bike like there is no tomorrow, then it happens, I start to shake and wobble and the next thing you know I am flat on the ground with skinned up knees and in tears. Sometimes the hurt is so deep that I don’t want to get back on the bike, I want to just quit. I mean, who wants to have to go through pain and suffering just to get from point A to point B. But, without diligence, we will never be able to become the women God desires us to be. Falling down is a part of life, everyone does it and everyone will always experience it- there is no one who can ride a bike flawlessly the first time, so why do we think we can hop on our spiritual bikes for the first time and ride like the wind?
As I was praying and talking to the Lord this morning about diligence and how I need it in my life, I asked Him what to do? I mean, I have fallen down, I have messed up, I have not kept on the course He set for me- so now what? His words to me were to get back up on the bike and try again. But where do I begin? I found my answer in His word, as always. Genesis 12 tells us the story of Abram (before God renamed him Abraham). Abram followed God in faith. Abram was on his spiritual bike and he was just a peddling away. But then, Abram began to wobble and loose his balance.
“And it came to pass, when he was close to entering Egypt, that he said to Sarai his wife, ‘Indeed I know that you are a woman of beautiful countenance. Therefore, it will happen, when the Egyptians see you, that they will say, ‘This is his wife’; and they will kill me, but they will let you live. Please say that you are my sister, that it may be well with me for your sake, and that I may live because of you.” Genesis 12:11-13.
Now, God has just spoken to Abram and promised him great things, including protection. But Abram got scared and he fell off his bike. God protected Abram and Sarai, no harm came to them because God sent plagues over Pharaoh’s house for even thinking about Sarai. But Abram, instead of trusting in the Lord God, he turned his spiritual bike down a course that God had not intended him to go down, and Abram crashed. I found myself reading these verses and being able to sympathize with Abram. How many times have I started out full speed, peddling away on my spiritual bike, then take the wrong turn and find myself coasting down a large hill with no brakes! Even Abram screwed up, but the Lord gave him grace, and showed Abram how to get back on the bike and try again; just as He shows us how to do the same.
“And he went on his journey from the South as far as Bethel, to the place where his tent had been at the beginning between Bethel and Ai, to the place of the altar which he had made there at first. And there Abram called on the name of the Lord.” Genesis 13:3-4
Abram had fallen off his bike, he had messed up, so what did he do? He went back to the place where he was, where he started peddling. And there the Lord God met with Abram and they started over again. As I read this, I was reminded of the verse in Revelation 2:5. Jesus tells the church at Ephesus that they too have fallen off their bikes, and they need to get back on and start again. Jesus tells them to “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works…” Jesus tells us that when we fall off our bikes, pick it up, go back to where you first started and begin again.
Diligence means the “constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken; persistent exertion of body and mind.” When we fall down, when we mess up, we have to be diligent, we have to pick up our spiritual bikes, push them back to the beginning and get back on them- we have to keep peddling. No matter how many times we fall, just like when we learned to ride a bike- we did not give up, we did not lay down the bike and quit. We kept getting on, and we kept peddling. Today, no matter what it is that the Lord has asked you to do, no matter how many times you have fallen, pick up your bike; go back to the beginning and start peddling again. Just like our moms and dads held the seat to keep us balanced, Jesus has our seat in His hand, He will keep us balanced and keep us from falling- we just have to be diligent to get back on!