Cycling and Sanctification in the Christian Life

Cycling has been a great joy to me for many reasons.

Last week on a long ride along the coast, my tire went flat. I had all the replacement things I needed, but my thumb and wrist were injured, preventing me from getting the tire back on. My buddy was able to repair the tire, and we began our ride back home. Without his help I would have been paying for a costly Uber thirty-plus miles back home. We need each other in cycling, and we desperately need one another in the Christian life.


I started cycling about five years ago as a hobby. It has proved to be fun, challenging, and great exercise. The more I have ridden through all kinds of weather and landscapes with friends, the more I have seen connections between cycling and sanctification. In fact, in his book Union with Christ: The Way to Know and Enjoy God, Rankin Wilbourne makes an analogy between the Christian life and a bicycle when he writes,

The front tire is grace. Grace always leads. The back tire is demand. Demand always follows grace (Exod. 20:1-3). But both are needed for the Christian life to move forward. To extend the analogy, belief and repentance are like pedals for this bicycle. You must keep pressing on both. Yes, occasionally the road will head downhill and you can coast, but if you ignore either tire or attempt to push only one of your pedals, you’ll get in a ditch. Attend to both tires, and keep pedaling. [1]

Here are four analogies between cycling and sanctification I have learned over the years:

1. Fellowship is an integral aspect of the Christian life.

I live in a place that is full of hills. This makes climbing a daily discipline in regard to cycling. Climbing can be severely more difficult on my own. Last year, I finally tackled a route in San Diego called The Great Western Loop. While the mileage is not bad (approx. 39 miles), it is the 4,000-plus feet of climbing that challenges riders. I did this ride on my own and had to fight quitting many times because the loneliness can get into my head.

Once a week, though, I ride with a good friend of mine to where he works.

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