Come Down from the Mountain!

     The air is thin; it’s difficult to breathe as you climb higher and higher.  You, and your climbing partners, are struggling just to get a breath.  Your chest aches, the muscles in your legs begin to cramp because there isn’t enough oxygen.  With each step you think to yourself, “Why did I think I could climb this mountain?”  You look around and realize that even the trees can’t survive at this altitude!  But your friends, those closest to you are right there, encouraging you to the top of the mountain.  There must be a reason for the pain; what’s so important about the top of the mountain?  What’s the big deal?  It would be so easy to turn around; no more climbing, no more muscle cramps, the breathing is easier in the valley.  But, you know there is something special at the top of the mountain, so you keep climbing.   When you reach the peak you understand why the pain of the climb was worth it!  The sky is bluer, the air is cleaner, and the view of God’s creation is nothing short of amazing!  All your senses are on high alert; this is something special.  It’s a moment to remember; one of those life-marker moments.  Then it hits you, you can’t stay here; you have to come down from the mountain!  

     We’ve all had mountaintop experiences.   Those special experiences are good and necessary for our edification, character development and simply our enjoyment.  For Jesus, one of those experiences is recorded in scripture when He took Peter, James and John, His inner circle, to the top of a mountain and gave them a glimpse of His future glory.  This was a mountaintop experience on steroids!  For me, the most important part of that story is recorded in Matthew 17:9, “And as they were coming down from the mountain…..”  There are three things I’ve learned about why coming down from the mountain is a very good thing.

  1.  We can’t live on the mountaintop!   Jesus taught us that our place is in the valley, not on the mountaintop.  He could have stayed with Peter, James, and John on the mountain; they even offered to build a shelter for Him, but He knew that His place was in the valley.  There are special experiences on the mountaintop, but it’s in the valley where life and ministry take place.
  2. We can’t depend on mountaintop experiences to sustain us!  The mountaintop was not designed to sustain us.  All the water, air, food, and vegetation is in the valley!  Everything we need to sustain our lives is in the valley.  If you are depending on mountaintop experiences to sustain your spiritual life, you are going to be starved!  Your spiritual sustenance is in the valley. 
  3. The mountaintop can be a dangerous place!  The Discovery Channel has a show about Mt. Everest and the people who travel there to climb the world’s highest peak.  One episode featured a group of climbers who were making their way up the last part of the climb.  One of the members of the climbing party couldn’t keep up so he fell behind.  The person in charge of those groups was at base camp and radioed him to come down the mountain because he knew that this guy wasn’t going to make the peak.  The man refused to turn back, ran out of oxygen, got caught in a storm, and died on the mountain.  Even those amazing mountaintop experiences can be deadly if we fail to see their purpose in our lives.

     It’s been my experience that trying to live on the mountaintop can be very destructive.  There is great stress and danger in using those experiences to define your success, purpose, and even your life itself.  The real living happens in the valley.   Celebrate those mountaintop experiences, but let’s remember to come down from the mountain!  There will be more to come about living in the valley.

Be encouraged friends!

Randy

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Patti Pustka on March 2, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Randy,
    I needed this today. I’ve been in the valley for sometime now and would love a mountaintop experience. However, I’m learning more about myself in this valley and need the Savior more. Thanks! Patti

    Reply

    • Patti, I’m so glad that this spoke to you! We all need those mountaintop experiences but we abide in the valley of life. We see amazing things on the mountaintop but we learn so much in the valley. Keep reading! Blessings to you and Paul!

      Reply

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