Have you ever been in a tough spot? Have you ever felt like you were standing at the foot of an insurmountable mountain with no faith you had the skills to climb it? Have you ever wondered where the joy that was promised to you as a Christian has gone?
The Apostle James wrote this, Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4 NASB)
The Message Bible put it this way, Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.
How can you consider it a gift when tests, challenges, and mountains come at you from all sides? I have never felt like God was giving me a gift when I was facing a steep mountain in my personal life or ministry. Let’s be real, a gift is usually something that from the very onset of receiving, brings a smile to my face. One of my love languages according to my wife is gifts. I know the feeling that I get when someone gives me the perfect gift and it isn’t the same feeling I get when I am facing a hardship or a test. How can we ever learn to receive the gift found in trials?
The answer is found in this how to guide on becoming a Mountain Climber. First, lets look at a couple of mountain climbers in the old testament:
Abraham- Mt Moriah
Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.” (Genesis 22:1, 2 NASB)
Imagine climbing the mountain in front of you with your son’s hand in your right hand and a knife in your left hand. Abraham had to be fully convinced that their is a joy and a gift found at the top of the mountain.
God did not reveal his plan and purpose to Abraham so that he could consider it, pray about it or have a peace about it. Sometimes it is not a question of whether we have a peace, it is more a question of whether we are going to be obedient to what God has told us to do.
Moses – Mt Sinai and Mt Pisgah
And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. (Exodus 19:17 NASB)
Sinai is where God and man came face to face. The gift waiting at the top of Mt Sinai was a face to face encounter.
Go up to the top of Pisgah and lift up your eyes to the west and north and south and east, and see it with your eyes, for you shall not cross over this Jordan. But charge Joshua and encourage him and strengthen him, for he shall go across at the head of this people, and he will give them as an inheritance the land which you will see.’ (Deuteronomy 3:27, 28 NASB)
Mt Pisgah is the mountain of dreams, visions and revelation. This mountain top enabled Moses to see the vision of the Israelites inheritance, the promised land flowing with milk and honey. For Israel it was no longer a dream or something that would happen at some time in the future. It wasn’t still “just around the corner”. One of the gifts God has for you in climbing the mountain is a clearer vision of past dreams and directions for how to take the land of promises for your life.
Noah – Mt Ararat
But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark; and God caused a wind to pass over the earth, and the water subsided. Also the fountains of the deep and the floodgates of the sky were closed, and the rain from the sky was restrained; and the water receded steadily from the earth, and at the end of one hundred and fifty days the water decreased. In the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat. (Genesis 8:1-4 NASB)
Noah floated for 5 months and at the onset was convinced God had spoken to him and His favor was with him. He found himself feeling forgotten and there was no end in site. It is easy to be confident in God’s favor in your life when life is sunny and you are resting safely on dry land. But God’s favor in your life is proven in the middle of the worst storm and half way up the steepest mountain.
What makes Noah’s climb to the top of Mt Ararat different then all the others is Noah and his family never climbed this mountain. They were carried there by the storm.
Do you trust the storm? Do you know that their is encounters and provision and clearer vision and direction and safety waiting for you at the top of the mountain? It pays in the kingdom to be a mountain climber.
The most important mountain of all is the mountain that Jesus climbed the day he died, Mt Calvary. We live today knowing that all it takes to be a Mountain Climber is obedience to Him and an understanding of what was accomplished on the cross. He climbed Calvary so we could scale our mountains with our hands wide open. Check out this amazing song from United Pursuit:
Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air, and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world not so the world can see you. Develop your own compass, and trust it. Take risks, dare to fail, remember the first person through the wall always gets hurt. There’s a truly great Irish poet his name is Brendan Kennelly, and he has this epic poem called the Book of Judas, and there’s a line in that poem that speaks volumes to me, it says: “If you want to serve the age, betray it.”
Betray the age! In today’s world of valley dwellers, dare to be a mountain climber.