Recently I took the youth group ice skating. It was our first event of 2024. We had a lot of fun and enjoyed our time together. Since we have challenged ourselves to be even more spiritually focused, I asked them to think of ways ice skating related to our walk with Christ. I came up with a few and will share them here.
Lesson 1: Ice Skating is Hard!
Putting on a pair of boots with a blade on the bottom and expecting to move around isn’t easy. Your balance is thrown off and it’s not very comfortable. When you add in the slippery nature of ice, things get even more difficult and challenging. Odds are you’re going to fall down.
Likewise, being a Christian isn’t easy! Sure, when we look at the blessings of being in Christ it’s easy to see that it’s the best option for our life. Putting Christian living to practice becomes a lot more difficult. We face temptations daily to conform to the world, when we know we have been called to be transformed (Romans 12:1-2). We see people at school, work, and on social media choose to live in opposition to God, with what seems to be very little, if any repercussions.
Like ice skating choosing to do what’s right isn’t always easy! Sometimes we are going to fall and it’s going to hurt. But thanks be to God, we have the blood of Christ to catch us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness (Matthew 26:28).
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.(1 John 1:7 ESV)
Lesson 2: Ice Skating is Easier with Friends!
Ice skating is certainly difficult but doing it with friends makes it a lot more enjoyable. It was fun seeing the youth encourage their friends to get out on the ice and have some fun. Sure, sometimes this encouragement probably felt more like peer pressure, after all ice skating is hard and kind of scary. Especially if you are new to it. But the teens had their friends there to encourage, support, and push them out of their comfort zone onto the ice.
Since being a Christian comes with its own difficulties, we too need the support and love of our Christian friends. We need to encourage one another to live for Christ. This can be done in several different ways. We need to set a positive example for one another (1 Corinthians 11:1), we need to spend time together (Acts 2:42-47) and say things to build one another up (Ephesians 4:29).
There were a few occasions on the ice where the encouragement became hands on. A few students who were new to ice skating were holding onto some of the more experienced skaters. They did this to help themselves get the flow of the movement and to move at a little faster rate, while still maintaining their balance. It creates a powerful illustration of what Paul says in Galatians 6:2. We need to be willing to bear one another’s burdens through encouragement and support of one another in every way we can.
Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
(Galatians 6:2 ESV)
Lesson 3: Grow!
As you begin walking to the ice with the skates on, you quickly realize it’s going to be difficult. The blade on the ice skate is very thin, making balancing very difficult. The first time you’re on the ice, people typically hug the wall pretty tight and rely on it for balance. But the more time they spend on the ice the more comfortable they become, and they begin to let go of the wall. They begin to understand the movements and begin to ice skate more confidently. Sure they fall down a time or two or twelve, but when this happened to someone in our youth group they would help one another up, and begin to skate once again. The falls were just part of growing and getting better.
Ice skating, like many other aspects of life, is something we can grow in as we participate. They don’t require you to be a gold medalist in figure skating or a professional hockey player to put on a pair of skates. Nor does Christ demand us to be perfect. Instead, He became the perfect sacrifice so we can be made perfect in Him (Hebrews 10:14). Jesus took our imperfections and gave us God’s righteousness.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.(2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV)
Since we are a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) it’s important we grow as we live our lives for Christ, just like those in our youth group who put on ice skates for the first time. I am sure many have put on ice skates decided it was too hard and quickly taken them off. That’s totally fine, ice skating isn’t for everyone. But Christ is! And even though it might be difficult at times we cannot give Christ up! So lean in on your brothers and sisters. Look for help from your Christian friends and seek the encouragement and support you need to grow. And then strive to do better each day, being determined to grow in Him every day! After all, Christ has made us His own (Philippians 3:12)!
12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.(Philippians 3:12-14 ESV)
“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” – Zig Ziglar