You just left a terrific weekend long conference and you have that proverbial mountaintop high. The view from that perch is breathtaking. You feel an intense burst of joy and energy; you are ready to take on the world using all you garnered at the conference. Then Monday morning comes and the past due bills still sit on your desk, the kids are off the rails, your boss is ultra demanding, and on top of that, you find a puddle under a pipe in the basement.
We have all had those mountaintop experience moments only to have them come crashing down in a heap. Joy and ecstasy is quickly replaced with fear, worry, sadness, frustration. We go from the highest of mountain tops to the lowest of valleys.
We all desire those moments of intense pleasure but we don’t really want to have to work for them. The same can often be said of our experiences with God. We want those mountaintop experiences; those momentary floods of joy and peace that eclipse all other human experience.
There is a great market for momentary religious experience but there is very little enthusiasm for the patient apprenticeship of allowing God to mold us into His image. While it is true that God can and does show up anytime, anyplace, both expected and unexpected, it is also true is that mountaintop experiences often emerge from the regular spiritual disciplines that we build into our lives. Becoming more like Jesus does not happen through a momentary experience, it occurs when we commit our lives to Him and engage in practices that allow Him to change us day after day. The Christian life is a long-distance race.
Here is what we read in Hebrews 12:1-3, as found in The Message:
“Do you see what all this means – all these pioneers who blazed the way, all the veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running – and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, both who began and finished the race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourself flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline in your souls!”
The view from the mountaintop is beautiful, but is fleeting, whereas the constant walk along the path leads you to even greater places of beauty. If you desire God to regularly show up in your life, show up before Him in faithful and consistent ways.
New Bern, North Carolina