— The Preaching and Teaching Ministry of Kevin A. Pierpont

Looking down the trail

Mountain biking has been something I’ve enjoyed for years but we’ve never lived close enough to trails to be able to do much riding. We’re very fortunate now to live in the North Country and to have cross-country ski trails just a five-minute ride from the house. Don’t tell the skiers but those trails are great for mountain biking, at least during the two months there’s no snow here. Hey it’s August 11 and at 3 PM this afternoon it was 55 degrees Fahrenheit, so yes, it could snow any day now.

Last Saturday four of the children and I headed to the trail and explored a portion we hadn’t ridden before. It was a little more challenging than what we’d biked in the past. The hills were a little more work to climb but that meant there were also some really fast descents.

On one such downhill section there was a sharp curve at the bottom that turned around a big oak. As I approached at full speed I felt a little out of control as I tried to steer clear of the tree. At the last moment I looked up the trail and away from the tree just missing it with a hard left turn.

Nearly becoming one with nature reminded me of an important lesson so I stopped to teach my trail buddies lest they find themselves tree huggers along the trail.

Motorcycle and mountain bike racers both live by a simple truth that helps them keep from crashing. Here it is: look where you want to go. The idea is that you’ll steer where you’re looking. It’s as simple as looking into the turn ahead of you to where you want to be. The faster you’re going the more important this is. If you’re always looking at the trail directly in front of you then you’ll feel out of control when you get to a sharp turn and you’ll end up being out of control.

It’s not easy at first because keeping your eyes where you want to be isn’t too natural. It’s your nature to want to look right in front of you, at your present position. But with practice you can learn to look ahead of where you’re at to where you want to be and in the process steer that way and clear of danger.

The same is true for followers of Christ. If your desire is to follow Christ, you must look to Him and away from distractions of the world around you. Paul said it like this in Philippians 3:13,14 “?forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (ESV)” It doesn’t come naturally to look to Him but you can learn to do so with practice and obedience.