Hear His Voice and Believe in Yourself

My son Blake is a pretty confident kid. He loves putting himself out there and trying new adventures. So when we bought him his first bike two years ago, I was excited to see how he would have a whole new world opened up to him.

When he first got up on the bike, his eyes were wide with excitement and fear. His body was tense as I held onto him and his bike, and slowly walked him around the driveway. Of course, he had training wheels. But he had never been that high, never felt that much potential. And eventually, he got it.

That was, until one day when he came up to me and said, “I’m ready to take off my training wheels.”

We went out to the street. He climbed up into his seat. And I held the bike and walked with him. Suddenly, he wasn’t the confident bike rider he had become with his training wheels. He was afraid again. He was hesitant. He no longer had balance. And the bike shook just as hard as his body did.

But as I walked with him, I told him, “You can do this. Just relax. You’re going to fall. You’re going to get hurt. But that’s okay. You’ll get it. And you’ll have a whole new world opened to you.”

The next day, when I came home from work, he asked me to go outside with him so he could show me something. I watched as he got up on his bike all by himself, pushed into the pedal, and rode with smooth confidence.

There were a couple times when his front wheel started to shake back and forth. And at one point, he had to put his left leg down to stop a fall. But he rode down the street and came back to me with wonder in his face.

He said, “I came outside today to try it when you were at work. And I was afraid. But I just needed two things. I kept hearing your voice, and believing in myself. And eventually, I got it.”

Hear His voice.

When I was walking with Blake that first day without training wheels, I told him up front that he’s going to fall. He’s going to get hurt. But he’ll be okay. And he’ll be able to explore so much more when he opens himself up and just rides the bike.

John 14:26; 16:7, 13 say,

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you…It is for your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you…When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.”

There’s a really beautiful movement in these verses. Jesus says that we can’t stay where we are. He had to leave to a new place. And by him moving on to somewhere else, he’d leave his Spirit as an inner voice, a guide for us. That term “guide” implies movement on our part. We’re not to stay where we’ve always been. We are all on a journey, a journey deeper into all truth, not simply a limited part of truth. So Christ’s movement, brings movement from a Spirit, who moves in us, and then moves us forward into a deeper, fuller truth.

Have you ever wished that Jesus would actually physically be here to answer your questions? His disciples felt that, even though he was there!

John 16:29 says,

“His disciples said, ‘Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech!”

Like, finally! We hear your voice plainly and clearly!

But Jesus doesn’t speak to us in an audible, direct, plain voice. Instead, he gives us something better. He gives us his Spirit.

I believe that when Blake tried riding his bike alone that day, he may have wished I was there with him. He may have wished I could physically walk him through it again. But it was better for him that I wasn’t. It was better for him that he had to rely on my voice, my inner voice that brought to his mind what I had told him in person. Hearing my voice in this way gave him the courage and the confidence to step into the pedal and ride the bike.

Believe in yourself.

Most people that I have been in community with in my life would shy away from the statement, “Believe in yourself.” I’ve heard this idea called the “Disneyification” or the “Oprahization” of America. Kids are told that they can be whoever they want to be if they just believe. And then they grow up and realize that they actually stink at basketball, that they actually can’t carry a tune, that they don’t have what it takes despite their strong desires.

The conservative Church responds by saying, “Believe in Jesus.” The gospel, as it goes, says that Jesus is enough! Jesus has done everything for you that you need. Jesus is currently doing everything for you that you need. You just need to believe that! And if you really believe it with true faith, then your life will be transformed and work properly!

The problem with this mindset, however, is that it actually stunts growth. Imagine if Blake was content to lay in his crib because his parents were enough, and were doing everything he needs. Or imagine if he was content to simply crawl because we were doing what he needed. Consider if he were content to walk because we were doing what he needed. What if he had kept his training wheels because we would keep him from falling?

My point here is not to say that Jesus is somehow less than enough. But there is a healthy growing awareness in children that they can do it that spurs them on toward greater adventure and growth.

And parents are okay with that.

John 16:33 says,

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

He’s saying that we’re going to get hurt. We’re going to fall. There will be tribulation. But we can have a peace and confidence that moves us deeper into all truth.

John 10:4 says,

“The sheep follow him, for they know his voice.”

It doesn’t say that they simply believed or trusted a set of facts, and that their legs automatically started moving. It says that they knew, trusted, and followed his voice.

To follow the shepherd meant that you had to be able to listen and discern his voice. It meant that you needed to be able to walk.

There are many abilities and gifts that we have in life that we can have confidence to exercise in forward movement.

Simply expecting God to do everything for you would leave you in the cradle like a baby who needs his mom to do everything for him.

It’s okay to believe in your growing abilities to walk. It’s okay to believe you can do this. You can ride the bike. You can push into the pedal. You can steady your body and find true balance. God is guiding you and growing you like a parent into this growth. And he loves watching his kids catch greater experiences of wonder and adventure as they hear his voice and believe in the abilities he’s been growing in them.

So ride your bike. Try something scary. Know that you’re going to fall when you get out of your comfort zone and try new things. Know that he loves you even when you fall, that he’ll be there with you in the hurt. And believe that this new adventure will open up a whole new world for you to live life with your family and your neighbors.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *