One of the most enjoyable memories of my childhood is riding my bicycle all over Douthat State Park when my family went on vacation. Honestly, I loved riding on the trails that said, “No bicycles.” It may have just been the rebel in me, but, seriously, those trails were the most enjoyable! I loved riding along the roads up to the very expensive lodge. Sometimes my parents allowed me to bring friends and we’d ride those bikes everywhere. I loved racing down the hills and climbing up the mountains. If you’ve never rode a bicycle before then you’ve have missed out on some fun adventures. Whenever I ride a bicycle it’s an experience of freedom.
Every time I visit Douthat State Park I am reminded of those childhood memories on the bicycle, but like most youth, hobbies come and go very easily. That was the case for me. Once I entered high school, other activities caught my attention. During my first semester of graduate school I started riding my bicycle as a means to exercise my cardio vascular system. I was going to the gym to play basketball, but I got tired of getting elbowed, rolling my ankles and playing against people acting like it was the NBA finals! Cycling became a great tool for me to relieve stress, to get my mind off studying and pastoring, to find a new way of prayerful meditation, to escape the busyness of life, to observe God’s beautiful hand in nature and to just have some fun.
As I meditate upon the freedom that’s enjoyed while riding a bicycle, I’d like share an important spiritual lesson I’ve learned from all of this: True freedom is only found in the Lord Jesus Christ! John 8:32 & 36 says, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (32). If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed (36).” The gospel of Christ (His death, burial and resurrection) contains the capability to set mankind free from the bondage of sin, the promise of death and eternal separation from God in hell. I grew up attending worship services my entire life, but I wasn’t freed from the chains of darkness until Jesus Christ became my Lord and Savior. As a sixteen-year-old at church camp, the conviction of the Spirit of God fell upon me and I cried out to God for salvation. It was on that day when I experienced true freedom.
Nowadays, as I ride my bicycle along the roads nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains, I do experience freedom from the busyness of life and its many troubles. I enjoy every second of it, but I know there’s more to it than just that. I now meditate upon the Scriptures, with deep heartfelt gratitude, about the freedom I have as a believer in the gospel of Jesus Christ! That, my friend, is true freedom! John 8:36 states, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” Have you experienced the freedom found in Jesus Christ?