This is something I’ve observed in myself that I haven’t seen put in quite the same way though I am sure it has been discussed by theologians. When I returned to Christ — or more truly came fully to him in his Holy Catholic Church — I was given what a steady rush or stream of Grace like being hit with a blast from a firehose. This gift made it easy for me to immediately cease the most immediately dangerous sins I was committing. There was little struggle involved… at least for a while.
As I continued to grow in my faith both spiritually and intellectually, I gradually began to notice other sins that I hadn’t before. This included the way I conducted myself with others, alcohol consumption, time spent with technology and the kind of entertainment I enjoyed. As I grew smaller and smaller sins I was guilty of became more obvious to me and I saw I needed to work on them. I began to see that my behaviour with regards to most of these examples either had to be modified or that I had to do away with some altogether.
This I believe came from my continued prayer and pursuit of holiness which allowed the Holy Spirit to guide me more directly. None of this was perfect and I should add that I often had to be prompted again as some sins are harder to shake than others. Some of these are still with me even as I write and I continue to struggle with them.
Gradually as I continued to grow, I started to experience more temptation and struggle but the point I had come to made me better able to handle these temptations. Some of the old sins mentioned before tempted me again and sometimes I experienced what must have been demonic attacks with these sins used to tempt me. Nothing like this happened early in my conversion which is why “training wheels” is a good analogy for my experience.
I believe that early in my journey home when I was struggling, I had support like a Father walking alongside his child as he rides his bicycle for the first time. The child might fall off the bike even with this support but the Father is ready to help. Eventually the Father sees that the child is ready to try without the wheels and he takes them off but remains by his child’s side. Indeed he has to come closer for a while after the training wheels have been removed. The child continues to trust the Father but the Father is still there to catch his child when he falls and help him back on the bike.
This is where I came to. I had the experience with the training wheels and I was ready to ride on my own. I knew my Father is there for me when I stumbled, fell or had to travel over rough terrain. My job was and is to keep my focus and most importantly — to get back on my bicycle when I fall. My Father is there for me but he can’t do much if I give up and stop trying to ride.
As I grow perhaps my Father will continue to let me go further on my own but I know he will be there if I am in trouble and call on him. When the journey is over, I will be with him.