Tuesday, June 7, 2011

On the Road Again - CHARACTER




Make every effort to ADD to your faith ...
- 2 Peter 1: 5

What do I need in ever increasing measure to overcome the distress of a long hill climb? Better yet, maybe I should consider what behaviors and attitudes might come up to disrupt my upward progress rendering me ineffective or unproductive? If I recognize my antagonist, I can strengthen myself against it and carry on, right?

A long hill climb up a mountain on a road bike reminds me of our voyage toward heaven. If you consider faith to be similar to a dynamic long hill climb rather than a stationary one time action we execute then, faith becomes a launching pad to propel us in to the heavenly realm[1].

Faith is our capacity to respond to God reaching out to us. The more we respond to His prompting, the more we are equipped to persevere and endure the hardship climbing provides. As a Christian, I’m called to be a partaker of the divine nature of God. An apathetic approach to climbing will always render me weak and ineffective. I will certainly fall short and not finish strong.


2 PETER 1:5-9
Road Bike - Hill Climbs
Life in General
FAITH[2]






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Faith gets me to try a hill climb. It is also by faith that I continue to press on to overcome or not depending on the veracity of my faith.

Faith begins as something that saves us. It takes us on a journey to unfamiliar places of experiencing God. Faith is tested, proven, and strengthened under trial in suffering.

GOODNESS[3]







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As I peddle, I am to put off self-defeating thoughts of condemnation such as – “I’m worthless on hill climbs. I’m always defeated.” I am to believe I can achieve more than I ever thought I could.

Suffering makes me want my own way. I am to put off condemning reactional behaviors which distort the image of God in me. I am to measure my character against that of God’s.
KNOWLEDGE







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I am to heed and put in to practice the wisdom and warnings of accomplished hill climbers on how to pace myself, hydrate and utilize the appropriate equipment/gears.

The solution to ignorance is to come under the transforming guidance of truth. Knowledge becomes more impactful when it is carried out experientially in the context of a relationship with God.

SELF-CONTROL[4]








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I am to refrain from swerving or pumping my body when I become tired. These movements are wasteful and unprofitable even though they seem pleasurable at the time. I am put off physical pleasure for the greater benefit.

Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. (Proverbs 4) Our willingness to deny our SELF becomes a pivotal element to the journey of a disciple.  

PERSEVERANCE[5]





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Persist by executing mind control strategies to endure the discomfort even though the pain continues. Remain in the pain.

Persist with a joyful attitude in the midst of harrying circumstances and pain. Strength to endure will come from the divine. My mantra is to “stay and pray.”

GODLINESS









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Onlookers will admire the enduring spirit of a hill climber. They will covet the character traits needed to endure and persevere and will dream of possessing them for themselves.



We are to put in to practice an attitude of reverence which seeks to bring glory to God in all things. A desire for a right relationship with God and men. Godliness brings the sanctifying presence of God in to all facets of life for all to see – a life “set-apart.”

BROTHERLY KINDNESS[6]



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The camaraderie that occurs as two bikers join in a bond of suffering on a hill climb is unmatched.

A bond of peace exists between the members of the body who are in Christ. We are ONE body in ONE spirit. (1 Peter 1:22)

LOVE[7]










(Ta dah)
A euphoria ensues as the summit is approached. The seemingly impossible outcome of reaching the summit despite our every effort to derail the outcome is exquisite.
Perfect love is not evoked by what I am but by who God is. This love manifests itself in me by my sacrificial actions for the good of others. It is a seemly impossible task to carry out unless it is God’s love flowing through me. We love because He first loved us (1 John ).



Table 1 – Character Building on the Hill Climbs of Road Biking and Life

We are not merely saved from sin by our faith in the saving work of Jesus. Through faith we can pursue a life of holiness and restoration here on earth and not wait for heaven to have it (your will be done on earth as it is in heaven – Matthew ).

We are to have faith and keep peddling toward the summit. We are not to quit and sit on the roadside expecting the summit to come to us.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
- Philippians 3:12

Christian growth occurs as we diligently pursue it. It takes time and a willingness to press on in spite of harrowing circumstances. The sovereignty of God plays itself out through the refining work of the Spirit and by the provision of the scriptures.

Where are you in your faith journey right now?

  • You don’t own a bike?
  • Your bike sits collecting dust in a closet?
  • Ignoring the advice of accomplished riders?
  • On the roadside waiting for heaven?
  • Swerving and pumping my body (reacting in sin) because it feels good? Or,
  • Pressing on to the summit?

Make every effort to ADD to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
- 2 Peter 1: 5-9
This is the second post in a six week series on hill climbing. Be sure to read the ENTIRE series ... On the Road Again

If you enjoyed this blog series you may also enjoy the series ... Open Road, Narrow Path


[2] Sermon by Kirk Stephens http://www.northbiblechurch.com/getvideo.asp?id=26 (accessed June 6, 2011)
[3] Pastor Larry Anderson sermon on Goodness http://www.northbiblechurch.com/getvideo.asp?id=25 (accessed June 6, 2011)
[4] Pastor Larry Anderson sermon on self-control http://www.northbiblechurch.com/getvideo.asp?id=28 (accessed June 6, 2011)
[5] Pastor Larry Anderson sermon on patience http://www.northbiblechurch.com/getvideo.asp?id=23 (accessed June 6, 2011)
[6] Pastor Larry Anderson sermon on Kindness http://www.northbiblechurch.com/getvideo.asp?id=24 (accessed June 6, 2011)
[7] Pastor Larry Anderson sermon on Joy http://www.northbiblechurch.com/getvideo.asp?id=21 (accessed June 6, 2011) and Love http://www.northbiblechurch.com/getvideo.asp?id=20 (accessed June 6, 2011)

2 comments:

Living in Extreme Ways said...

On mile 11 out of 13 of this ride, the pitch got steeper and I started pumping and swerving. This kept up for almost a mile. By mile 12, I convinced myself to take control by making smooth pulls and pushes through each stroke and to steady the bars. It took specific effort to do so but it paid off for the last two miles.

It reminds me of the self-control I need to have in my everyday life. We can be free of our reactional behaviors (anger, bitterness, jealousy, lust, etc.) when we hone our efforts toward honoring God. We are meant for so much more.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how this fits with "the hill climb" exactly but I believe in the old saying that goes something like- "sow a thought reap an action, sow an action reap a habit, sow a habit reap a character, sow a character reap a destiny". Maybe it touches on what anonymous said (last weeks blog) about taking life/hill climbs in managable chunks. Maybe we make faith filled descisions in the moment while still remaining motivated by the eternal hope we hold on to. If we link together enough well pedaled sections of a hill climb aren't we then by definition, good at climbing hills? (remember we're talking about character development not salvation)