Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mountain Mission

Read: Hebrews 10:19-25

The mountain looked enticing and yet challenging as I considered climbing it with my oldest son and daughter-in-law. On our recent short trip to western Montana, we took time to explore the state capital of Helena and area. One of the best experiences for me was the experience of climbing Mount Helena at an elevation of a little less than 6,000 feet above sea level. Several routes were possible, but I followed the others up the steepest path. At first, it felt good with not much effort required. But, the higher we climbed, the more my lungs gasped for more air. At several points in route, I wanted to end the climb and return.

However, I made it all the way to the mountain top due to three essential factors – factors that are just as essential in completing the mission that God gives to each serious disciple of Jesus. First, my mind was deeply focused on the incredible view that I would experience at the top. This beautiful little city set in its spectacular mountain valley was worth seeing in its entirety – I simply could not miss this opportunity! Second, when my determination wavered, my two family members were there to encourage and inspire me to continue – with words like: “We’re almost there!” The last few yards were the most difficult especially since it felt like we could fall over the edge and the sharp drop-off. Third, the reward we experienced included a most heavenly view, surprising wildlife and a local family of climbers who welcomed us, especially for taking the most difficult path and completing the task.

It reminded me of the mission of God in which each of us is called to be a passionate participant. In the context of the Bible verses mentioned above, a community of Hebrew Christian believers was showing signs of straying away from their commitment to Jesus and wanting to return to the more legalistic system of laws from which they had been delivered. Their spiritual journey of ‘climbing higher’ in Christ was proving to be more challenging as they progressed in their daily walk with God. Some wanted to turn back.

The author of Hebrews encouraged them to complete the spiritual climb for God – allowing God to complete His divine mission in them.

“….Since we have confidence to enter the most holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way…, let us draw near to God…” (Hebrews 10:19, 20a, 22a)

“Drawing near to God” is a life-long climb until we reach the top (our heavenly home) with God (Psalm 84:7) and experience fully the sheer joy being like Jesus (Romans 8:29). There will always be times in this life when you feel like giving up the climb to spiritual maturity but that is when our family in the local church needs to be there to encourage and inspire us forward – reminding us to keep climbing and reminding us that we are “almost there”. This is what the author of Hebrews meant when he said: “Let is consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit if doing, but let us ENCOURAGE one another…” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Are we ready to climb? We can reach the top for God if we do it together!

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