I live in the Dog River Basin. That means hills, lots of hills; hills that are relatively difficult (at least for me). I cannot ride five miles from my house without encountering at least four challenging climbs. God has used the hills around my house to teach me some interesting things about His kingdom, and my walk in it.

God first showed me that hills can be a distraction. This happened while riding on a relatively flat, and very pleasant, section of my route; think smooth road, few cars, lot of trees and sunshine. I should have been enjoying myself. Instead, I was troubled. There was a hill coming up; and two or three more after that. I caught myself dreading the ride, and wondering what I was doing out there. Silly, I know; but that’s what hills can do to you, if you let them.

God’s lesson that day: Don’t think too far ahead – particularly about hills. I am sure you see the connection this has with real life; even life in the real world – the place where we spend most of our waking hours; the place we call the Marketplace. Whether it’s running a business, defending a client, teaching a classroom of students, or trying to be your best in your favorite sport, it’s just not a good idea to let the future distract you from the pleasures of the moment. Jesus said it like this:

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:33-34

Not only was the hill taking my joy away, it was distracting me from one of the primary reasons I ride my bike – to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness. As I told you in my last lesson while riding, God speaks to me when I ride with Him. It is an amazing expression of His grace to join me on these rides. But that doesn’t happen when I take my mind’s eye off of Him in consideration of the future hill.

There is another pitfall that comes with thinking about the upcoming hills: The temptation to avoid them. Who would do that, right? That’s where you get the most exercise. Well, I can tell you from experience that it is human nature to avoid pain – to find a route around the challenges of our lives. The result: No growth, and the development of a timid spirit. Enjoy His presence, and you will avoid this debilitating temptation.

In conclusion, be encouraged that the time to think about the hills in our lives will come soon enough for each one of us. If you are on a hill now, then certainly think about it. Your Riding Partner will meet you in that moment; and He will teach you something in the challenge. In fact, there is much that we can learn from Him on the hills.

I will share some more in my next post. In the meantime, stay in the moment. Don’t let the future rob you of His pleasure.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Rob Streetman; President, inLight Consulting, Inc.