I’ve taken up cycling again for the 4th or 5th time in my life. At my age, it is taking considerably longer to “get in shape”. Bought a used hybrid bike and started riding with my wife who has been riding while I walked for exercise.
Made the mistake of going to Covington, LA and riding on the Tammany Trace, an old railroad corridor converted to a hiking and cycling asphalt pathway. I thought it would be okay when I saw that you could call 911 from the Trace and the paramedics would respond. After I made it to the Rusty Pelican in Mandeville for lunch, I thought I could keep up with my wife and my fifteen year old grandson on the twelve mile return. Not true. They left me in their dust but were gracious when I finally caught up with them at the truck.
Now this bothered me. I was running a 51.7 second quarter mile when I was seventeen….. of course, that was 49 years and 82 additional pounds ago.
This week, after still struggling on rides with my wife, I finally discovered the problem. I had erroneously assumed that the technician at the bike shop had maxed out the air pressure in my tires but instead of 85 pounds, there was only 35 pounds. The bikes are designed to operate most efficiently with high pressure tires. My old road bike operated at 115 pounds.
Not enough air. I felt 15 years younger when I fixed the problem!
My Christian life is sometimes like this cycling experience. A lot of effort, little visible results. Just as the under inflated tires created too much road drag and laborious pedaling, too much Carl and not enough daily reliance on the Holy Spirit creates drag in my spiritual life and causes diminished or no results. Just as the bike designers design road bikes to operate with high tire pressure, our Designer designed born again people to operate by His Spirit, not Self.
That is why the early Church was so effective in spreading the gospel without radio, TV, internet or the printing press. Pliny, The Younger, a pagan Roman official (circa 100 AD), reported to the Roman emperor that the pagan temples were almost deserted in his providence. Due to so many people being converted to Christianity, the sale of animals for idol sacrifices plummeted. The Holy Spirit was working through these “primitive” people. (It’s always interesting when a commentator speaks about the early Church as the “primitive church”. My how we need the primitive church today!)
To bring it closer to our time, in The Shantung Revival Dr. C. L. Culpepper, a Southern Baptist missionary, tells how dead the Christian churches were in north China in the 1920s and early 30s. He goes on to describe how the Lord brought the missionaries to surrender to the control of the Holy Spirit and then He could work through them to bring amazing revival to the Church in Northern China and Korea. Untold thousands were born again and the church was strengthened for the coming of communism.
Why? Because people surrendered to the Holy Spirit.
Listen to what Dr. Culpepper in 1968 said about the problem and the solution:
“Most of the things that took place in Shantung are as foreign as Chinese in American churches today, mainly because of resistance to the Holy Spirit. ”
“In his defense before the council, Stephen said, “Ye do always resist the Holy Spirit.” The charge remains true to this day. Actually this resistance is usually disguised by a professed aversion to “Pentecostalism”, but it’s becoming more and more evident as nothing more than resistance to the Holy Spirit.”
” The writer has used these expressions to designate the experience of total surrender to the Holy Spirit, resulting in a dramatic experience of Christian joy.”
The problem – resistance to the Holy Spirit.
The solution – total surrender to the Holy Spirit.
How about you? How is your tire? Properly inflated or under inflated?
Full of Self or Full of the Holy Spirit?