I have no idea when I learned to ride a bike. Nor do I remember who taught me, but I do know it wasn’t my mom. She was a pretty amazing lady, but she never learned to ride a bike. Anyhow, I would guess that when I learned, it wasn’t much different than the way I taught the boys to ride, which is probably like many of you learned to ride.
You sat on the bike, the person teaching you held onto the seat and ran beside you. Eventually, the “teacher” would let go, and you were pedaling on your own. And the teacher? Well, she was standing there, yelling all sorts of instructions at you. And even though the instructions might have sounded confusing, you were riding a bike!
Of course, you don’t become an expert bike rider overnight. It happens in stages. At first, everything sounds and feels new and unfamiliar. Eventually, you get a feel for pedaling, for steering and especially braking. It no longer seems new and awkward. It becomes normal. There comes a point when you get on the bike, and you start pedaling; it is all second nature. You don’t even think about it anymore. If you see me riding a bike, and you yell, “Hey, Marty!” I am not going to yell back, “Hey, look at me! I am riding a bike!” Why? Because riding a bike is not a spectacular thing for me anymore and it has become very natural.
I think that’s how it is for those of us who are followers of Jesus. At first, it all seems new, unfamiliar, and maybe a little bit scary. But eventually, it becomes the way we live. It becomes natural to be a person of grace. It becomes second nature to live as Jesus calls us to live. We become what Paul calls “new creations”. We are changed; we are transformed. And when we experience transformation, then the words of the prophet are fulfilled: “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (Jeremiah 31:33).
What would it be like if we moved from new to normal to second nature? Maybe, it’s like riding a bike…