God is spirit, and the people who worship him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24)

“Mr. Don, in Pakistan girls not learn bicycle.” Michelle looked at me with the brown eyes of a deer.

I was determined to give this child the thrill of cycling. I held on to the bike and ran after her, calling out winded advice. Michelle’s brothers watched me wear down until intervention was in order. They introduced the Middle Eastern method, which was to ride the bike myself, with the pupil perched in front, and let her gradually take over steering. It worked. Michelle quickly centered her weight, and felt the joy of gliding through space.

Cycling is learned experientially. You have to get on the thing and feel your way forward.

I spent much of my Christian life dodging encounters with the Holy Spirit. There was a nebulous fear that I might “fall off the bike” and look the fool, or it would take me someplace I never wanted to go. I satisfied myself with watching others, and judging their experiences.

In our age of reason we think we’ve given all when we mentally embrace the Trinity. But true worship requires more than a commitment of intellect. I must also lay my body, emotions, and spirit on the altar. A desire to have all of God finally drove me to step out from the sidelines and throw my leg over the bike, to learn experientially. With sweet reminiscence I can name the time and place where I first soared in the Spirit.

The body of Christ is diverse by design. It’s an error to conclude I worship in spirit and truth because someone else’s experiences have come to me. The correct measure is when I have moved out from behind my fears and said, “Unite with me, Lord, in whatever way you choose.” The deeper joy comes, not from receiving supernatural experiences, but from yielding to the Spirit of God.

Prayer: Sweet Spirit, break out of any limitations I have put on you.