I spent a large portion of my life on a bmx bike. In our neighborhood we had a
driveway at the end of a dead end street where a house once stood. It had the perfect
setting to dig jumps into the hill side. The early days of my jumping career was jumping
two old tires we dug out of the crick. As we found more tires we would add them to the
line. Advancing from that we dug a hole and jumped it. Then the penultimate jump. This
time we would light a fire in the hole and jump it. I pushed my bike up the hill across
from the driveway. Hands tightly griping the handlebars I gazed off in the distance at the
jump, thoughts of Evel Knievel in my head. The fire was lit, the flames reached their
apex and I was off pedaling as fast as my legs and bike would allow. I hit the jump,
sailing over the flames licked my tires. Success! I had jumped fire! It was a new level in
my daredevil days. From there it was on to bigger things. Tire jumping advanced from
two to thirteen. Cross ups off towering walls, racing through the woods at breakneck
speed and descending precipitous slag hills. It all began with an abandoned driveway
on a dead end street and two jumps dug into the hill side, and two tires.
In areas of life there is a progression. As babies we move from crawling to
walking to running. In school we move from coloring the ABCs to See Spot Run to
Shakespeare. All these progressions are necessary for us to grow and navigate life on a
greater scale. If we fail to progress we fail to grow and when we fail to grow we begin to
stagnate. When we stagnate we get comfortable and begin to atrophy.
There is a point in the Christians life that begins at what we call salvation. It is the
point when we recognize our need for forgiveness for sin found only in Jesus. That point
starts us down a road to make us into a clearer image of Jesus while the things in us
unworthy of Him die in the process.
As new believers Christ is our Savior but as we mature in Christ He becomes our
sanctifier. Sanctification literally means ‘holy’ it is us saying to Him “Thy will be done!”
AB Simpson wrote, “A sanctified Christian is submissive and obedient. He desires the
Divine will above everything else in.” Paul, speaking about growing into the image of his
Christ, says in Philippians 3:12-13, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have
already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus
took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.” The call
of a follower of Christ is never to stagnate but continue to grow our relationship with our
Savior, and grow into His image. Our desire, our passion, must be to continue to
develop this relationship. Every day we wake up we need to realize that God wants to
work in our life that day, conforming us in the image of his Son.
The start of a new year is always an opportunity to evaluate and start afresh. It is
easy to look back, to see where we’ve been, to see the highs and lows and rest on
them. However, God is calling us on so much more. Learn from the past but “press on
toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” in our life.
When we bought the farmhouse we planted a tree at the end of the yard. It was a small
thing. I towered over it. The wind would push it around like it was nothing. We actually
had to put a little fence around it so the dog wouldn’t trample it. Yet this tree, started as
a stick in the ground, took root and began to grow. Each year the growth was
As it reached for the sky and its branches spread out it soon towered over
me. The stick had become a shade tree. Now our dog enjoyed lounging in the grass at
it's base. It became a shelter and a home for the birds. In the Fall the winds would come
and its helicopter like seeds would catch the wind. Where they landed new sticks, soon
to be trees, would sprout.
What is the kingdom of God like?” What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed,
which a man took and planted in the garden. It became a tree, and the birds of the air
perched in its branches” (Luke 13:18-19).
A babe was born in a manger and the world took notice. The babe grew to be a man.
He gathered men around him and began to speak into their lives. People were drawn to
Him. He seemed to impact everyone who came in contact with Him. The deaf could
hear, The lame could walk, The possessed were set free. And the number of His
The disciples, like those helicopter seeds, were dispersed by the winds of tribulation.
Disciples were planted where they land, the gospel took root, and the kingdom grew.
Today when we walk into a church building we see the effects of that spread. That
single seed, the babe in a manger, continues to produce.
A tree God planted birthed a movement that continues to grow today. We are called to
partake in its growth.