Only recently our church had a teens’ week where it was dedicated to teaching the youth on the pertinent issues that affect them in today’s age. On one particular afternoon, we went as a group to ice skate as a fun afternoon activity. I will be the first to admit that I was not very confident as skating, quite simply put, is not my forte. However, this was going to prove to be a lot of fun and I did not want to let my fear be the cause of missing out. This turned out to be one of the most spiritually enriching events of my year so far, let alone my week. For me, the ice rink represented the life of a Christian. Jesus himself told us that we are in a world where trouble will never be too far away as we are in a quite unforgiving world, just as the brutal, cold ice is unforgiving. As Christians, at times we really struggle, most of the time holding on to the guard rail, living a life far from the abundant life Christ came to give us(John 10:10). We lack the brevity to take a leap of faith and trust that Jesus has us covered even in unforgiving conditions. We look at those who seem to be doing well in life (the experienced skaters) with envy and wish we could make that of our lives as well.
Anyway, back to my story in the ice rink. As I slowly went around the ice rink with a supporting plastic dolphin I started getting more and more comfortable and confident. I discussed this particular part of the story with a good friend of mine, and she was of much help, showing how at times this really does represent us, we become so confident in ourselves that we forget that it is God who has been doing the heavy lifting, and we let go of our support, and it is at this exact moment of cockiness and overconfidence, that we are most likely to fall (sin), because in this walk of faith we can’t walk alone. When we fall, the devil does not rest, and heaps shame and guilt on us and wants us to feel unworthy of God, and it is for this reason that God provides his divine grace. Paul highlights in Romans 5:20, where sin abounds, grace abounds more. Staying on the ice and feeling pity for ourselves really is not an option; it is cold, unfriendly and harmful. Whenever I fell, even if I was in the middle of the ice, there was always someone to help me get back up. This shouldn’t be taken out of context as a license to sin (Romans 2:4), because there are consequences to sin, every time I fell I got wetter and wetter, but it should serve as an encouragement that when we sin (and we will because we are human) the grace of God will be there to lift uR back to our feet.
Perhaps the lesson that hit home best in the course of the afternoon was the issue of our weak points. As I got the hang of it slowly, I found myself falling at the exact same place every single time. Just as Superman had kryptonite, we all have our area where the ice is extra slippery. For some of us it is purity, others it is the love of money, others yet it is just the fact that we would do anything just to feel loved and accepted. Whatever it may be, we have our area of weakness. It is good for us to be watchful always, the Bible says, the enemy is prowling like a lion looking for one to devour, and as my youth pastor says, the devil does not play fair, and whatever opportunity he gets, best bet he’ll make the most out of it. Pray always, read the word of God, keep Jesus closer than anything and ultimately you will be better than okay.
My final take away from the escapade was the fun that I had. Ultimately God wants us to be joyful, more than we want to be joyful ourselves, and when we live within the guidelines he has placed for us, we will live a joyful, abundant and prosperous life (Joshua 1:8).