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Take Off Your Training Wheels

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"Dad, I want to take the training wheels off my bike," my daughter said with a bit of hopeful fear.

I wasn't sure what to think. Was she ready? I didn't want her to get hurt, but I also knew she needed to break free and ride on her own at some point. "Are you sure you want to take them off, honey?" I asked.

"Yes Dad! I'm sure. Can we go get my bike now?"

So the wheels came off. There I was holding my daughter up on her bike as we stared down the long street in front of us. I think I was more scared then she was. She started to pedal, and I held her tight so she wouldn't fall. We made it a few houses down before we had to stop because Dad was out of breath. We went back and forth down the street that day. It was the best work out I have had in quite some time. She would, at times, begin to balance by herself. She wanted so bad to ride on her own, but it was not to be the day.

We went through this routine of Dad running beside the bike for a number of afternoons. My daughter was determined to ride her bike without training wheels. She kept telling herself, "I can do it. I know I can! I know I can!"

Then it happened! One afternoon, she climbed on her bike and faced that all too familiar street with her dad holding her up. She started pedaling, and she was off. I let go, and she kept on riding all by herself. She even came to a stop by herself without falling and was able to turn, stop, and start that afternoon. My daughter had persevered.

The author of Hebrews challenges us to "run with perseverance the race marked out for us" (Heb. 12:1). Yet how do we persevere through the journey we are on? So often, we look at the road ahead with the same hopeful fear that my daughter felt. We sit and stare down the road we are called to take by our God. Will we fall and get hurt? Will someone help us stay balanced, even for only awhile? Will we persevere?

As an introduction to perseverance, the author of Hebrews reminds us that "we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses" (Heb. 12:1). We do not have to run this race alone. A great crowd of faithful people have gone before us. They hold us up, just as I held my daughter, while we persevered on our road.

Hebrews reminds us that we are called to look "to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb. 12:2). Jesus did not endure his journey alone. He had the apostles, of course. But more importantly, he was balanced—with the Father on one side and the Holy Spirit on the other. He persevered through the cross and sits by the throne of God.

Is it time for you to take off your training wheels? God has promised he will run with you on the road. So run with perseverance the race marked out for you! The cloud of faithful witnesses will be there holding you up. When it is time, they will let you go to follow the path of Jesus, through the cross to your heavenly home.

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