October 2, 2023

“He has told you, O man, what is good;  and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

-Micah 6:8

An unexpected thing happened to me when I started riding.  I found myself becoming a much calmer version of myself, I grew more patient, and I even found my relationship with the Lord was strengthened.  I think this has a lot to do with how focused we become when we are out on the road.  We must remain calm and we must learn patience, because we are fully aware that the other drivers on the road are not really watching out for us and they have a tendency to do some pretty dumb things on the road that put our lives in danger.  So, we must learn patience and we must learn to remain calm because if we let our emotions get the best of us, we are more likely to make a mistake of our own.  So how did riding a motorcycle help me grow in my relationship with the Lord?  It’s actually pretty simple.  I began praying more.  I found myself praying every single time before I took off and, many times, praying as I was riding, just talking to God.  But what was even better is that I actually started to learn how to listen for God to respond and discern His voice from my own.  I could tell when my thoughts and ideas were my own and when they were truly being influenced by God.  So, many times I pray for guidance on my weekly devotions and this week is no exception.  I don’t want these to turn into what I want you to hear, I want these devotions to be about something that God has impressed upon me and about what the Bible says, not what Jim Taylor thinks or says.  This week, the word that comes to mind is humility, for that very reason.  I am grateful for the love and support that has been growing over the past year for the Biker Devotionals but I want to always be sure that I don’t let it become about me and what I think or want.  John 3:30 comes to mind:

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”

-John 3:30

My friend Jonathan, the only Goldwing rider I know, will appreciate this devotion simply because all of his friends, for the most part, ride Harley’s and we love to give him a hard time.  I love my friend, and brother, and I am grateful for his sense of humor as we incessantly rib him about his quiet Honda compared to the deep, earth shaking rumble of our Harley’s.  Jonathan knows us and he knows where we are coming from when we give him a hard time, but there are people out there who are so obsessed with a particular motorcycle manufacturer that they could not fathom why anyone would ride anything else, and those that don’t ride their chosen brand are somehow beneath them.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love my Harley, but I am not so beholden to the name that I think anyone else is less of a biker than I am simply because they ride a Yamaha, Suzuki, Indian, or even a Honda…but those Honda guys have to know that they can do better!

The point is, we can all use a little humility.  Our motorcycles don’t define us, and if they do, then we really need to reevaluate our priorities in life.  We need to stop and consider that we are ALL created in the image of God and that none of us is better than the other, regardless of what we own, where we live, or how much money we make.  

For the past few weeks I have been going through the book of James with my church and this verse immediately comes to mind as I prepare this devotion:

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”

-James 4:10

Pride is a dangerous thing.  Sometimes it feels really good—for a while. But if left unchecked, selfish pride will destroy everything you hold dear. 

It will destroy your marriage. It will destroy the relationship between children and parents. It will destroy your family. It will destroy your friendships and it will destroy your church. In no way am I exaggerating when I say that selfish pride is the most destructive disease known to man. A disease that I, for a period in my own life, suffered from immensely.  It is only by God’s grace that I found salvation and it is by that same grace through faith that you can as well.

The bible talks of “lust” quite often as the root of our less than humble behaviors.  We often take that word to mean sexual desire, but the truth is that the object of lust can take many forms. Sex, drugs, alcohol, power, money, position, status, achievement, competition, popularity. The object can take many forms, but the symptom is the same. It is still lust and no matter what the object, it is still just as destructive. The first symptom of selfish pride is lust. 

The second symptom is consumption. Consumption is what the person who lusts does when he receives the object of his lust. To the person who is full of sexual lust, sex is merely a conquest. It is not an act of love or an act of passion. It is consumption. It is only devouring prey. The person who lusts for achievement is never satisfied. As soon as one achievement is met, they are obsessed with the next goal.

Look at these words of Christ in the gospel of Luke:

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

-Luke 14:11

When the obsession of your life is you, it can’t be God. When you become obsessed with feeding your all-consuming lusts, you can’t be obsessed with God. As a matter of fact, you can’t even really think about God. Because God will not take second place to anything in your life. He will not share your focus with anything. We call that the first commandment. In Exodus 20:3, God said, 

“You shall have no other gods before me.” 

-Exodus 20:3

He is not just talking about the gods of other religions, such as Muhammed, Buddha, or Krishna. He’s talking about you. Yourself. Your selfish lusts. Your all-consuming desires. Anything in this world that you obsess over is your god. Whether it’s your desires, your home, your health, your spouse, your stuff or your kids—it doesn’t matter. We, as a society, find it so easy to pride ourselves in the things we have or the things we have done.  In truth, how incredible would it be if we would simply place our hope in the Lord and humble ourselves before Him?  We boast of ourselves, unfortunately, more often than we boast of Him.

Think about these words from Proverbs:

“For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.”

-Psalm 149:4

We all could benefit from Paul’s guidance in Romans chapter 12.  I’m sure my friend Jonathan would like his Harley buddies to takes these words to heart:

“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”

-Romans 12:3

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