Our biker crew recently rode through Las Vegas on I-15 with the temp a bit above 100, and in a strange manner, I enjoyed the warmth. I tried to remember that a few days later when we pulled out of Alpine WY with the temp at 30, but it soon dropped to 28, and stayed like that for an hour. In a strange manner, I embraced that too. We drove past a lot of alfalfa fields, many newly mown, and the scent reminded me of the hay barn at our old family farm.
Half a mile before we saw the truck, I knew it hauled onions from the faint aroma that we rode through. When the rain hit, even as I huddled behind my windshield, I enjoyed the cleansing. The eagle soaring above us in Yellowstone could only have been seen on a bike (OK, a convertible would have worked too!). And the sense of closeness to and danger from a magnificent buffalo, walking just four feet away on the side of the road would never have been the same in a car.
I ride to engage with the world. Bikes don’t provide a safe steel cage that insulates you from God’s creation. Cars do. Bikes only provide protection by maneuverability and power to get out of dicey situations, which often isn’t enough. Cars provide much more. But when I can choose, I choose a bike. Experiencing the world that God so graciously gave us seems worth the risk.
Not all feel that way, I get it. But riding gives us all a metaphor for something even more important than enjoying nature. As followers of Jesus, the biker metaphor encourages us to get in the world, to engage with it. Not to hide from it. Yes, that has extra risks, but it’s our call.
Jesus taught us that, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it” (John 17:15-16). We often paraphrase that with the line, we’re in the world but not of it, and that nicely expresses the balance.
We live in the world, but shouldn’t let it determine our values. God does that. We followers miss that in many ways. Some of us get so into identifying with the world that we become just like them, and we lose any chance of impacting them for God. Some of us withdraw from what we don’t agree with, and we lose any chance of impacting them for God. So, we miss our mission.
And, our intimacy with Jesus directly links to our commitment to the mission he’s given.
So, let’s get practical.
Kick Starting the Application
On that continuum of being in or withdrawn from the culture, where do you fit? Would that thrill Jesus? Ponder some ways that you personally could get more connected with the society around you.
On the continuum of being like the world in your values and behaviors, or choosing your values and actions from God, where do you fit? Would that thrill Jesus? Ponder some ways you can preserve a biblical value system even as you interact with the world.
Last, identify one thing you can do this week to increase your interaction with the world in a godly manner.