Discipleship & Spirituality

The Wheel

By Jerry Truex

Jesus spoke about a narrow path as the way of genuine spiritual life. But he also said it was difficult and one of the least traveled roads (Matt 7:13-14).

For travelers on the narrow road, “the wheel” can be very useful.  I learned to use the wheel many years ago from the Navigators. It has been part of my spiritual journey ever since.

The wheel is a simple illustration that helps us follow Christ on the narrow path. Each part of the wheel represents an essential element of the journey. Each element keeps the wheel turning and the disciple on course.

If one element is missing, the wheel collapses and a disciple can end up in a ditch.


The Hub: Christ (2 Cor 5:17; Gal 2:20)

The hub of the wheel is Christ. Being a Christian means making Christ central. Making Christ central is an act of the will. It is a daily decision to walk as Christ walked (Lk 9:23-24; 1 Jn 2:6). It requires submitting to what God wants you to do here-and-now. It means trusting God and letting go of your demands to have life “your way” or on “your terms.” The payoff for surrender is new life and hope (2 Cor 5:17) even as it feels like death of the old self (Gal 2:20).

The Rim: Obedience (Rom 12:1; Jn 14:21)

The rim of the wheel is obedience to God. Some acts of obedience are internal. But internal acts of obedience—such as changing attitudes, motives, values, and thoughts—eventually surface as external and observable behaviors, particularly in our relationships with others. Observable obedience separates spiritual fantasy from reality. So it is important to make acts of obedience concrete and observable.

First Spoke: The Word (2 Tim 3:16; Josh 1:8)

The first spoke of the wheel is the Word. I believe that God speaks to you and me through Scripture. Meditating on Scripture and responding to what you hear God saying through Scripture is vital for walking on the narrow path. After all, the path itself is illuminated by the light of Scripture (Psa 119:105). I recommend seeking God every day in and through Scripture, starting with the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7) or Mark’s Gospel, if you have not read them.

Second Spoke: Prayer (Jn 15:7; Phil 4:6-7)

The second spoke is prayer. Prayer is a natural response to God as you encounter the difficulties, uncertainties, and joys of life. It is sharing your heart with the One who created you for companionship. Prayer helps us see our lives from God’s perspective. Prayer gives us power to deal with personal battles. And prayer can be another way to hear God speak to us in very personal ways.

Third Spoke: Fellowship (Matt 18:20; Heb 10:24-25)

The third spoke is fellowship. Just as God was in Christ, so God is present in the body of Christ, the church. In this fellowship of the church, each member is part of one body (1 Cor 12:4-7) with different gifts, functions, and needs (1 Cor 12:8-11). Each member functions interdependently with other members (1 Cor 12:12-14) and each needs the others to be whole (1 Cor 12:14-26). I think of fellowship as a divine family in the making.

Fourth Spoke: Witnessing (Matt 4:19; Rom 1:16)

The fourth spoke is witnessing. It is natural for any group that values what they are doing to want to share it with others. In a word, it means “witnessing,” but to what? To the Good News—that God has created and cares for each individual, that each person can experience fulfillment as God has designed when they walk the narrow path. Witnessing can take many forms, but ultimately it means witnessing in both word (preaching, teaching, and telling) and in deed (serving, loving, and sharing).

So keep the wheel turning. Make Christ central by submitting to what God wants you to do. Make responses to God in concrete and observable ways. Take time to encounter God in the Word and in prayer. Fellowship with other Christians and “make family” with other travelers on the narrow path. And, finally, reach out to others in word and deed to encourage their journey on the narrow path. 

Jerry Truex is the Pastor of the Mennonite Church of the Servant; instructor of Biblical Studies at AMBS-Great Plains.