I longed for more than the short spandex shorts and fitted zippered top the morning we began cycling around Lake Tahoe’s alpine blue edge. Venting, intended to prevent my feet from overheating, was counterproductive as the frigid air circulated through my thin socks weaving it’s chill between my toes.
Ten minutes into the ride, toes stiff and aching, I began to question why I voluntarily chose to pay money for an event that would put my body through the paces. The fortunate part about being a determined person (with a bit too much ego) is that once started, there’s no turning back. Head bowed I focused my mind on my cadence and like Dorey swimming through the jellyfish in Finding Nemo, I repeatedly sang to myself, “Just keep movin’ movin’…”
As we neared Emerald Bay my internal temperature rose and carried warmth to the tips of my limbs. This sounds like relief, but what you may not know is the excruciating pain caused by this process. Salty tears dried on contact and crusted at my eye’s edge as we began the first significant climb of the day; my mind was intent on redirecting my energy.
Up the vertical wall with hairpin turns I climbed. Sitting, standing, pulling on handle bars for leverage I simply kept that foot melded to the pedal, a monotonous round and round it cycled until we reached the top. Satisfaction washed over me as I looked into the emerald-green water and the clear blue beyond the mouth of the bay.
Jesus said to the church in Ephesus:
“I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.” Revelation 2:2
To the church in Smyrna:
“I know the blasphemy of those opposing you. They say they are Jews, but they are not, because their synagogue belongs to Satan. Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer…if you remain faithful even when facing death, I will give you the crown of life.” Revelation 2:9-10
To the church in Pergamum:
“Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me.” Revelation 2:12
As I read the letters to the first three churches I noticed a common thread:
Deeds- Hard work – Perseverance- Certainty of Faith- Diligence in Pursuing Faith- Determination to be true to Christ.
The moment we stop any of these strong traits from cycling in our lives a small crack forms allowing things that oppose God to seep into our lives. We may lose our first love like Ephesus or begin to tolerate wrong behaviors or worldviews like Pergamum. All worthwhile convictions require effort and sacrifice on our parts.
I must water and weed my garden for plants to live and thrive.
We must eat food or languish and die.
We us must exercise in order to maintain a healthily functioning body.
We must choose and live determined to follow in Jesus’ ways.
My ride around Lake Tahoe sucked every ounce of energy and depleted my muscles completely. Several times I wanted to quit, but my husband’s presence, and the drafting I was able to do, allowed me to finish.
How determined are you to live and love like Jesus? Maybe life is cold and numbing your heart. Will you fix your eyes on our loving Savior (and maybe draft behind some other believers)? Perhaps you’ve thawed out, you’re reaching the summit or close to it, will you encourage the weary hearts still making the climb?
Everyone is going to cross the finish line of life and enter eternity in heaven or hell. The question is, what will that finish line look like for you?