As I was writing Mountain View, I realized that the fundamental truths I’ve been picking up on my way to the top of this Mountain require a post (or several) of their own.
Here’s the first of what may end up a series.
Training is important. In a past life I did a stint as a dancer in our church youth group. [I did say past life, did I not? LOL] And every time, the new high school term rolled in and we had to do a dreaded run thrice a week, I realized it was easier to do it when I’d spent my holiday busting a move or two rather than just curled up in front of the TV. The small things God asks us to do on a daily basis prepare us for the “big” stuff. It’s in being a faithful steward of the one talent that you learn what it takes to handle 10.
But training sucks. Or does it? My workmates trained for 7 months before they got to Mt. Kenya. I admire their tenacity. Olympians generally gush about their medals. Understandably so. But their training stories are typically some version of a first-one-in-last-one-out tale. We get to choose what to make of the tests and trials God brings our way. To say that every day will be an automatic happy day is hardly realistic. Sometimes it’s a sore case of Honest Worship. But even when our feelings about process are all over the place, we still have the option to choose worship…choose joy.
“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”
– Lou Holtz or CS Lewis or … [Google has me confused :)]
You can’t take on the entire mountain at a go. Are you crazy? Have you ever had so much to do you just sit down and do nothing? Or had such a gigantic scary task in front of you it paralyses you into inaction? I’ve come to find that it’s not the size of the problem but my perception of the problem that makes or breaks me.
“If you think you can, you’re right. If you think you can’t you’re also right.”
– Henry Ford
If I look at something as an immovable mountain, I will throw a pity party at the foot and end up doing little else. If I look at a mountain as small pieces of rock which I can move one at a time, then I can get straight to work. There are days when your biggest victory is simply taking one more step.
“God is not hiding from us, and He is certainly not lost. But He rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Because it is impossible to be saved without the working of the Holy Spirit, and because He seals us for ultimate redemption, we know that as Believers we have the Holy Spirit. The only real question is, ‘Does the Holy Spirit have us…, and if He does, how much of us does He have?'”
– Doctor Perspective (Comment on Our Daily Bread)
Where’s your guide? Even the most experienced mountain climbers are often required to have an expert guide with them during a climb. Someone who’s been up and down that mountain so many times they can practically do the climb in their sleep. They know the nook and crannies to look out for or avoid, they know what to do when things go wrong. And that’s what the Holy Spirit is to us as believers. Whether we’ve been at the faith for 5 minutes or 5 decades, we never stop needing Him. As Christ’s final gift to us, we have automatic access to Him. But are we using it?
“Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place].”
– Ephesians 6:13 [AMP]
Having the right gear is important. And it doesn’t come cheap either. Any mountain climber can give you tales about the investment they had to make before they even got to the foot of the mountain. The armour of God has become one of those platitudes that we so easily take for granted because we’ve heard is so.many.times. But why would we think it’s crazy to attempt a mountain climb dressed like we’re going to the beach when we do the equivalent facing life without the gear God’s given us? At a steep price.
So is having the right company. At some point, your strength and resolve is going to flail. It’s not a question of if but when. Regardless of how well prepared you may be. And in that moment, you need to have someone beside you who’s going to keep you going not happily leave you behind. God has given us fellowship and community via church with good reason. Life is hard. Christian living is harder. It takes a handful of people at the very least to get you to the finish line. Choose wisely who surrounds you. Just as importantly, choose to be that person for someone else.
Part II coming soon.