November 1, 2014

Good bye, Training Wheels

Will is our witty seven year old. He loves people, and he is sensitive to the feelings of others. He is a practical prayer warrior and a stereotypical third child. This guy has had a significant growth spurt since his seventh birthday. He has grown physically, mentally, and spiritually in this last few months. 

I could easily create a William Quote of the Day Twitter account. Some of the best ones this month include:
- "No one has prayed for me in a few days. Could you pray for me so that I can have a great start to my week?" (on a Monday morning before school)
- "I am getting a high quality education at this school." (in the car after school one day)
- "I am thinking about getting baptized. I think I will have more courage and less bad dreams." (He asked Jesus into his heart two years ago but hasn't felt ready for water baptism until now.)
- "I am not really a bike riding guy. It's all about balance, and I don't have enough." 

That was yesterday.

Yesterday. . .
Will's tiny Buzz Lightyear bicycle still had training wheels on it. His encouraging dad removed them last spring, but Will refused to risk his life for something that was supposed to be fun. So Dad put them back on the bike for him, but he rarely took it for a ride. He was enjoying his Razor Scooter but held intense angst toward that bike.

Yesterday. . .
I took the reluctant rider to Target to look at the bigger bikes. My thought was to create a drive toward something new instead of removing something as familiar as the beloved training wheels. In Will's mind, those training wheels provided the balance. He was feeling a deficiency in that much needed element. "It's all about balance, and I don't have enough."

Today. . .
As I returned home from an errand,  I spotted Will and big sister Charlotte riding bikes on our street. Will was riding his tiny bike. His daddy had removed those training wheels, and Will was free to ride! I could see his smile down the block. 

I cherish the verse, John 8:36, "When the Son has set you free, you are free indeed." No matter what the voices of doubt say to you, you are free if the Father is your emancipator. Galatians 5 is packed full of similar ideas that I need to ponder. Not just read and run. I can't just nod at these verses. They are as rich as dark chocolate for me. I need to take small bites, but I will slowly and eventually eat it all.

This is my take on Galatians 5: 1-3: Gaining access to Jesus through the law, by somehow proving our righteousness, will not work. It actually causes the opposite effect. We actually become alienated from Christ and lose access to the grace we so desperately need. It is only through the Holy Spirit that we even have a hope of any righteousness. 

If we wait until we have enough balance, we will never ride the bike. If we wait until we can abide by the law, we will never know righteousness. We must remove the training wheels and not reattach them. Once we are free (saved by faith), we must not go back to the burden of the law. For me, the law involves trying to please people instead of pleasing God. The law includes staying so busy with good things that I cannot focus on God things. Too busy to pray. Too busy to listen. Too busy keeping people happy with me. Too busy to obey. Too busy.  

The law sets an impossible standard and then laughs when we cannot reach it. 
The grace of God will draw us closer to the one who sets us free. 

Wind blowing on my face. Helmet hair notwithstanding. 

Good bye, Training Wheels. I am free.

Galatians 5: 1-6:  It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.