Thursday, November 17, 2016

Leaving the Mountaintop

It is easy to have a mountaintop approach to Christianity. To be on a high, right after a holiday or a good conference or something else that stirs us up spiritually. Then right afterward to fall back into our normal, everyday rut like nothing had happened. How do we avoid getting caught in this type of up-and-down experience? To begin with, we need to focus on the facts rather than the experience. God has instituted various things to remind us of who we are in Him (1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Deuteronomy 26:1-11; Joshua 4:1-7). Even things that God did not institute, like Christmas, can have this function in our lives. They can remind us of the fact of what God has done for us in sending His Son to pay the price for our sins (John 1:1-18; Philippians 2:5-11; Colossians 2:9-15). But if I focus, not on what God has done, but on what I feel , it distorts the picture.
Also, we need to focus on what God wants to do in our life, rather than on the things we want. God has a plan that He is working out in all our lives (Ephesians 2:10; Romans 8:28; Colossians 1;28,29). We can trust Him for it, or we can live looking for the time when we can reach some sort of consistent spiritual high so we can serve God. Therefore, we are to present ourselves to serve God in whatever way He requires, no matter how big or how small (Romans 12:1,2; Titus 2:11-14; Galatians 5:13,14). But sometimes we get the impression that we need to be some kind of spiritual giant to serve God, and this is not true.

We need to live life in view of Christ’s return. While we are strictly forbidden to set dates (Matthew 24:36; Acts 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3), we are to live always prepared but never certain of the exact time (Matthew 24:42-51; 2 Peter 3:10-13; 1 John 3:1-3). The problem is that it is easy to become mired down by this present world (1 John 2:15-17; James 4:4; Ephesians 4:17-23). We need, therefore, to set our eyes on Christ and to run the race of the Christian life focused on Him (Hebrews 12:1-3; Colossians 3:1-4; 2 Timothy 2:8-10). Therefore, if we focus, not on spiritual good times but on what God has done for us, is doing in us, and will do for us, we can enjoy the spiritual good times without being dragged down once they are over. And the focus will not be on our experience, good or bad, but on the power of God (2 Corinthians 4:7).

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