My middle child, Kadence, has been blessed with her mother’s grace. If you know me, you know this is not the best trait to have. I have been sliding around her request to take the training wheels off her bike for quite some time now, in an effort to avoid an ER visit. Kadence has also been blessed with her daddy’s persistence and stubbornness so eventually, I agreed to let her give it a try.
Giving her the very best bike riding advice I could, I steadied her with one hand on her seat and the other guiding the handlebars, and we took off. She was yelling and giggling and wobbling to get her balance. I felt the tension between my hand and the handlebars ease, knowing she had found her balance. Heart pounding, I released the bike and halfway covered my eyes, awaiting the certain doom of a crash.
The sound of laughter echoed through the air as I looked up and saw my clumsy little girl controlling her balance and gracefully gliding down the road with no training wheels. She came to an uneasy stop and slowly toppled over into the grass with a soft thump. I could not believe it. She did so well! She encountered a few slight falls, but they were controlled and easy. The only battle wound she received was one she got on her forearm from running right into a brick wall. She conquered the bike with a quiet confidence that left her dad and I and her brother and sister chanting her name as she proudly exhibited her grace.
Reflecting on Kadence’s big moment made me think about the moments she will encounter in her Christian life when it is time to take the “training wheels” off and put into practice the things she has been taught. It made me think of the times that I, as a growing Christian, have had to take the training wheels off and be something more than what I had been used to. This has come in the form of going from being a student, to a Sunday school teacher. From being a Sunday school teacher to being a Ladies’ Bible Class Teacher. In each endeavor, I started off wobbly, falling a few times before I was able to perform my duties with confidence derived from the Lord. With each new task, I feel as if I have grown even more for having experienced them. I am still wobbly, more than I would like to admit, but have others to catch me and encourage me on.
Romans twelve begins with an appeal to the brothers to present themselves as holy and to maintain holiness, they were not to be conformed to the world but were to be “transformed by the renewal of [their] mind, that by testing [they] may discern what is the will of God” (Romans 12:2). To test ourselves, we must step outside of old habits, comfort zones, and crutches, and renew our faith in the Lord by allowing ourselves to be transformed daily through his word and the gift of the Holy Spirit within us. This transformation cannot take place unless we allow ourselves to grow and mature in Christ.
This growth occurs when we take in the meat of the word, and no longer rely on the sustenance of the milk of the word as babes in Christ as described in Hebrews 5:11-14. These people were still in need of the basics of God, because they had not devoted the time to grow in Christ. There were told that they should have been teachers by now, but were still unskilled in the word of righteousness. They had not shed the training wheels, and were still relying on others for their spiritual balance.
Do you see yourself as one of these? Are you still an infant in the word? Do you still rely on the training wheels of others’ teachings rather than discovering truths on your own? Have you ever tried to teach a class, do a home Bible study, go on a mission trip, or tried a community outreach project? Granted, we will always be in need of the instruction of the Word, and will always learn new truths. We will always be in need of our Lord and Savior, and will always need the brotherhood. However, the training wheels of complacency must come off at one point. We must become the teachers. We must become the examples, and the leaders. We must become wise in the word to benefit the babes in Christ. We must experience new works in the brotherhood and know that in Christ, we can do all things (Philippians 4:13).
I admit I did not have the confidence in Kadence that I should have. In my mind, I was setting her up for failure because of her clumsiness. She proved me wrong. All of us, at one point, are clumsy Christians: immature and uneasy, struggling to balance ourselves in our new walk. Then we get our training wheels in the form of the example of brothers and sisters cheering us on to stand firm on the foundation of Christ. At some point, we need to shed the training wheels, and do the training ourselves. We need to become the teachers, the missionaries, and the examples. This comes by the study of the word. Always rely on the good, solid example of others, but do not stop at that. The Church needs each and every member to grow into those who can eat the meat of the word. Strive to excel every day in your Christian walk so that you can trade in your training wheels and become the worker that God wants you to be in His kingdom. Let us all begin to put into practice the things we have been taught, and shed the training wheels.
By Ashley Hudson
Ashley Hudson is a stay-at-home-mom with three children ages 9, 5, and 3. She and her family worship at the 7th and Beech Church of Christ in Durant, Oklahoma. Her husband, Jake, is the Campus Minister for the Student Bible Center at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Be sure to check out her blog at www.hudsonfive.wordpress.com