We’ve all experienced this or have been there to see it happen…
It’s a cycling club ride and you arrive at the scene and begin prepping for your bike ride (yes, of course you are wearing your Ascend Sportswear men’s biking or women’s cycling jersey). All the typical cycling club guys and girls show and the ride soon begins. As usual the peleton begins to split into its riding groups and your group, the ‘fast’ group, starts to gather up to lead the charge. Suddenly you take notice of a new face in the group. A guy that looks familiar and you’d guess you’ve seen before, but he must typically ride in another group. Nothing strange though, and everyone is welcoming as you continue along the bike route.
You’re now 10 miles in, the group is warm, and the pace picks up a notch as the ‘hammer’ of the biking group begins his obnoxious early pull up the first climb. It’s a painful pace and everyone is feeling it. All of the sudden, a few miles into the climb the new face drops the pack. Everyone sees him fall away. His face shows signs of grief from the stiff pace. The group looks around at each other and understands that his cycling wasn’t up to the test of the ‘fast group.’ His cycling skill and training on the bike was proven insufficient.
For most of us, we’ve either been that guy, been in the fast group in the cycling club to see that happen, or both! Me personally, I’ve been both. There’s nothing wrong with stretching your comfort zone and working at improving yourself by biking with the ‘fast’ group. It doesn’t matter if you get dropped a thousand times from a group. What does matter is the analogy we can draw of this event when we look at Romans 5:3-4.
“And rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope:” Romans 5:3-4 KJV
Paul points out two distinct things here. First, he emphasizes how we rejoice in the immediate effects of being Christian. We are regarded as righteous before God, we are admitted into his favor, and we have the prospect of even richer blessings once admitted into the kingdom of heaven. Second, he points out that we should not only rejoice in times of prosperity but also in the midst of trials because what it produces in us.
The word ‘experience’ used here is not what we typically use the word to mean today. The literal translation means trial, testing, or a thorough examination by which we ascertain the quality or nature of a thing, similar to how we test a metal by fire, or in some other way to ascertain if it is genuine.
It is from this understanding that we see that long tribulations that are dealt with patient faith show a Christian if he is genuine, if his religion is true, and if the religion that sustains him is from God. It is very much like the ‘new guy’ riding in the fast cycling group. The tribulation is a test to see if he is genuine. The testing determines if he really is part of the ‘fast cycling group,’ or if he is a artificial. Trials are often sent to us for this very reason, so as to know if our faith is genuine.
How often when the going gets tough do we just drop out of that department, marriage, or church? How often when things get a little uncomfortable do we just switch riding groups in life? Yet perhaps we are missing out on the glory of God and worse showing the world our faith isn’t genuine! Next time we find ourselves in a tribulation, remember that this is a great way to show God your faith is genuine. It’s also greatest way to share Christ by letting others see your patience and perseverance through Him.
That is what Ascend Sportswear and our cycling and biking jerseys are all about. We want to remind you and inspire you through scripture to persevere through your trials on and off your bike, so that you can glorify God and you can show others your faith is genuine bringing them to Christ as well.