April 14, 2008

Live to Ride. Ride to Live.

Spring is officially here. You want to know how I know? The blooming forsythias? The goldfinches at the birdfeeder? The first grass cutting of the year? Nope. It’s the arrival of the motorcycles. Just yesterday, while on a 15-minute drive, I saw eight of them.

I’ll share a tidbit about me that few people know. I love motorcycles—Harleys to be exact. I love the way Harleys look. And I LOVE the way they sound—that distinctive throaty roar. I can’t explain the source of this admiration, I just know that whenever a Harley passes I pause to admire the view and savor the moment. (Sometimes I even dream about joining my “fellow” riders on the streets of Sturgis.)

I know my family is baffled and a bit concerned by all of this. Luckily for them I will probably never own a motorcycle of any kind, let alone a Harley. But, what a thrill it would be to drive one on the open road—once!

Suppose I actually bought one. (Pretend for the moment that I actually know how to ride a motorcycle!) Even if I got an awesome bike, the coolest clothes and the latest accessories, without gas in the tank I wouldn’t be able to get very far. Let’s see, I could sit on it in the driveway. I could push it while I walked. Or I could lug it to the top of a hill, hop on and ride to the bottom.

It seems pretty ridiculous to try to power a motorcycle by one’s own efforts. Doesn’t it?

Well, this describes a lot of our lives as Christians. Maybe yours.

Maybe you have the “accessories” of the Christian life (like volunteer positions, church friends and Bible knowledge) but feel empty inside. Maybe despite your best efforts to “get it,” God seems far away. Or maybe it feels like you’re pushing your faith up a hill—and you’re tired and discouraged.

You want the “Vroom!” that other believers seem to have. Why does it have to be so hard?

It doesn’t. This Christian life was never meant to “go” by our own efforts. Just like a Harley, we need gas. What’s the gas in our tank? The Holy Spirit.

Look at the disciples. While Jesus ministered to them, try as they might to understand his teachings, they just didn’t “get it.” When I first started reading the Bible I thought, “C’mon, dummies! The water into wine, the walking on water, the casting out demons and STILL you don’t understand! Are you blind?!”

In a sense they were.

Because the Holy Spirit was not yet available, they had to rely on their own efforts to fuel their faith. It was frustrating if not impossible for them to get very far.

Then, Jesus pointed them to the gas: “the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (Jn 14:26) “…You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you…” (Acts 1:5,8)

This power came on Pentecost when God poured out his Spirit on all present and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Finally the disciples could “see” and understand. Their faith was turbocharged. They had their “Vroom!”

And the Good News spread like wildfire.

Thankfully, this wasn’t an isolated incident. God sent this “spiritual fill-up” to all believers. He “set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Cor. 1:22)

The Holy Spirit is God in us. He leads, guides, teaches, gives wisdom and spiritual gifts, compels, protects, renews, gives life, intercedes in prayer, sanctifies, knows God’s thoughts, empowers, gives righteousness, reveals the mystery of Christ and more!

It is powerful fuel indeed. Best of all, it doesn’t cost $3.85 a gallon. It’s free—you just have to ask…and receive.

Is your faith running on empty? Does God seem distant? Are you tired of working so hard? Stop trying to do it on your own. Fill up with the Holy Spirit—and feel the power.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Ro. 15:13)

See you on the road. “Vroom!”


danregan said...

As Kelli's husband, I want to point out that, in this article, a rather alarming change of tone has taken place. Seems she has upgraded her years-old "I don't actually WANT a motorcycle, I just like to look at them," mantra to "I'll PROBABLY never own one." A nuance, to be sure, but a potentially expensive one.

More importantly Kel, you've once again done a wonderful job of pointing out one of God's gifts that I routinely overlook in my frantic search to "figure it all out" - you know...on my own. It's good to be reminded that I don't have to do ALL the work myself!

Peggy said...

Once again, WOW!!!!!!!
I know how to get you a ride on a real Harley, just as we both know how to have the great ride through life with Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Go get 'em girlfriend.
I need some super unleaded this week (Dr. is going to do the surgery on Thurs.).
Please all of you, pray for speedy recovery.
Thanks and Blessings and Love,

Katherine said...

Kelli- Don't ever rule out the possibility of having tried!

Having said that, I'm sure your husband and kids will be just "thrilled" at seeing you riding down 95!

Good post!