Have you ever ridden on a tandem bike—a bicycle built for two? We’re imagining a journey to the high places through life—your life—on a tandem bike, where you and the Lord are riding together.

As you began this journey, you asked the Lord to take the back seat and you chose to drive. When you came to a fork in the road, you decided to take the road that looked the smoothest to you, even though the Lord suggested you consult the road map he has provided for you—his Book. You didn’t want to take time for that, so you just kept on pedaling.

Now, as the day wears on, you start to get a little tired and a little worried. “I’m not sure we’re on the right road, Lord, so let me stop and ask for directions.” You pull into a service station and leave the Lord to watch the bike while you go inside. “Hi,” you say to the attendant, “I’m trying to get to the high places. Am I on the right road?”

“The high places?” The attendant looks a little puzzled. “Well, I’m not exactly sure where that is, but I can tell you that this road will take you to some wonderful spots where you can have a lot of fun. Remember, you only go around once in this life, so go for the gusto. This is an easy road; you’ll find that your self-confidence will improve on this road; your self-esteem will soar; and you will impress a lot of people. This road leads to fulfillment. Keep pedaling—you’re on the right road!”

You head back to the bike where the Lord is patiently waiting. “Wow, we’re going to have a great trip on this road, Lord,” you assure him. “This is the road to self-fulfillment.”

He looks you in the eye and says clearly, “But the road to self-fulfillment is a dead-end. You’ll never find the high places on this road. Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it” (Matthew 16:24-25).

“Lord, you must be mistaken,” you reply in astonishment. “Everybody knows that you have to be self-fulfilled, have confidence, and have good self-esteem in order to be happy. This is a great road, Lord; let’s keep going.”

You start down your road again, and pedal, and pedal, and pedal. . .and pedal. . .but the harder you pedal, the worse this road looks. “Lord, are you pedaling?” you ask, but you hear nothing from behind you. Finally, exhausted from your search for self-fulfillment, you stop and the tears start to roll down your cheek.

“My child,” he says to you so gently, “are you now ready for me to take the driver’s seat?”