By James Metsger
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)
I taught my little girl how to ride a bike. I did all the things a loving parent would do. I strapped on her helmet and secured the elbow pads, knee pads, and all the bubble wrap I could find. She’s our only girl. You can never be too careful.
At first, we worked on balance. I grabbed the handlebars with my left hand and the back of her seat with my right. I slowly walked behind the bike. Eventually my walk became a jog until I let go of the handlebars and let her steer, keeping my hand on the seat the whole time. She was shaky at first, but eventually steadied herself. The only thing preventing her from her first solo ride was my hand on the back of her seat. Just as I was about to let go of her seat, I saw a vision of her going off to college, meeting a man, walking down the aisle, having children, and pursuing a career. I quickly snapped out of it when I heard her say, “Dad, you’re not going to let go of me, are you?” I said, “Of course not, sweetie.” Then I let go.
Fortunately, the goal of learning to ride a bike, i.e. independence, is completely different than the goal of your spiritual formation.
God doesn’t hold on to the seat until it’s time to shed the training wheels, only to let you go and figure it out. No, your spiritual formation is definitely not a solo flight. He doesn’t work that way.
On the night of his death, Jesus filled the last moments with his disciples by teaching them what they would need to survive in their faith once he left them. He knew the tribulations they would face, the doubts, and the hardships. But he wasn’t leaving them to fly solo or figure it all out for themselves. He told them, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,” (John 14:16). The Holy Spirit would live in them, and the same Holy Spirit lives in every believer helping us to obey, trust and believe. The Holy Spirit also moved these men and others to write out the very breath of God in words we could understand on the pages of Scripture. The Bible is another gracious witness of God not leaving us to go it alone. He is intimately involved in your spiritual formation. Even now He’s working.
God is working on you through his Holy Spirit during every mountain-top experience in the Christian life and in every mundane, ho-hum, seemingly uninspiring Tuesday afternoon. He doesn’t just do quarterly check-ins. He’s daily walking with you.
God’s work is good news for the imperfect among us. This is good news for those of us who can’t seem to control our temper or tame the tongue. It’s good news for those of us who continue to struggle with insecurity or envy. It’s good news for those of us paralyzed by fear or crippled by pride. It’s good news for those of us who are obsessed with waistlines or bottom lines. In other words, it is good news for all of us.
God has not left me to fend for myself. He’s got one hand on the handlebars, the other on the seat, and he’s walking beside us. All sides are covered. Knowing this can give me hope to face my fears and follow him even when life seems unsteady. God hasn’t let you go. He’s working even now. “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
In what areas of your life has God changed you?
In what areas of your life does God still have some work to do?
How does knowing that God has not left us encourage us to continue in our spiritual journey?