An analogy often used about something that is easy to remember years later, is to say it is “Like riding a bicycle.” It seems no matter how long it’s been since you’ve been on a bike, it will only take a few wobbly minutes to be peddling down the road.
In that moment of your first firm, strong pedal, you are able to recall the excitement of the very first time. That moment when the adult lets go of the seat and you were officially “riding a bicycle.”
But of course you can’t live in that moment. There will be flat tires, chains will fall off, and you will hit sand, rocks, and perform some really stupid jumps. But that’s what it means to go from training to riding.
In a letter dated May 15, 1952, C. S. Lewis explains to Genia Goelz what it will mean to live the Christian life. At the time of writing, Genia is awash with excitement and anticipation. Lewis understands. But he also knows something Genia will need to learn,
“Don’t imagine it is all ‘going to be an exciting adventure from now on’. It won’t. Excitement, of whatever sort, never lasts. This is the push to start you off on your first bicycle: you’ll be left to [do] lots of dogged peddling later on. And no need to be depressed about it either. It will be good for your spiritual leg muscles. So enjoy the push while it lasts, but enjoy it as a treat, not as something normal.”1
I’ve met many people whose first encounter with Christ was exciting. It happened to me. But that was then and this is now. In time you move from the bicycle to the weight room.
“It is for discipline that you have to endure.” – Hebrews 12:7.
- Walter Hooper, ed., The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy 1950-1963, Vol. III (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2007), 191. Italics in original.