When we ride with a group, generally there are different levels of riders, riding. The faster ones will obviously be up front, and the slower ones will be towards the back. The rest of us will fall somewhere in between. But I’ve noticed something peculiar in the two years I’ve been riding: some people don’t ever get any faster or stronger or in better shape. Seriously. There are a couple of people that I know ride every week and still have a big ‘ol pot-belly and are still averaging the same speed they were two years ago. How is that possible?
Let me give you my opinion on how this happens and then explain what that has to do with the kingdom of God.
When we ride a bike, our bodies build up a comfort level. For instance, right now, I can hop on a bike and ride roughly 50 miles in three hours and not over extend myself. That is my current fitness level. My body has gotten comfortable at that level. If I do 75 miles or try to speed up and do 50 miles in 2 1/2 hours, then I’ll be stretching myself. What happens to riders, and this isn’t an indictment, is that we find a comfort level and then we ride at that level for years. We eat what we want and, as long as we can maintain the same level of energy, we don’t change our behavior.
So, what happens is that you see a new rider get started, lose weight and gain energy and then they just level off for the next few years, never getting any faster or healthier. They are comfortable. That is the reason I see a rider who, today, looks the same and rides the same speed as he did two years ago.
But on the other end of the spectrum, I’ve seen some riders who are in infinitely better shape and much faster today than they were two years ago. What’s the difference? These riders aren’t comfortable just being the same. They push themselves to be faster and stronger. But not only do they push themselves on the bike, they also watch what they eat. Their goal is to be the best rider they can be. They may not become Lance Armstrong, but they want to continually get better, not settling for “complacency”.
What does this have to do with the kingdom of God? I’m glad you asked. In Revelation 3:15-16, John wrote to the church at Laodicea:
15I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
We, as Christians, tend to get complacent, comfortable. We get into a comfort zone with life and we never really get any better at handling situations or money or relationships. My guess is, you know Christians who aren’t in any better shape –financially, spiritually, socially, emotionally- today than they were five years ago.
If you read the Bible, those who came in contact with Jesus were never the same. I truly believe it is impossible to spend time with the Son of God and not have your life altered for the better. But, we let ourselves get into a comfortable routine and never realize our fullest potential.
Most of us will never be a famous preacher or evangelist, but that is no excuse for letting ourselves become complacent in our walk with God. We need to keep pushing ourselves to become the best “believer” we can be. It is through this “pushing” that we become a better father, mother, wife, husband, teacher, mechanic, roofing salesman, etc.. As we study and meditate on the word of God He transforms us and molds us into the person we were meant to be.
Wherever you are, spiritually, is not where you were meant to stay. God has an entirely new level for you, but it will take being uncomfortable with the current one.
The next time you ride with a group, look around. Have you maxed out your riding energy level? If not, then maybe you need to push it a little bit. Who knows, in a year, you may be up front pulling the rest of the group behind you.