In years past, I’ve gone on summer retreats with five guys who have been close to me for over 15 years. The intent of these retreats is to fellowship with and challenge each other (and work in some fun too). Each guy is expected to prepare a devotional or study to present to the group. There is always significant time invested in discussion and sharing what’s been going on in our lives while establishing and challenging growth goals for the upcoming year. Depending on what’s been going on in my life, these retreats spanned the range from a time of spiritual uplifting to being in the spotlight of the cross-examination of a congressional hearing. One year I could hardly wait to get home, shrinking in retreat to start a new work-week. Most times however, I wanted to stay in the mountains worshiping, singing, laughing, praying and praising G_d with my brothers in Christ. Hopefully, you have experienced those special times of exhilaration of having that joy filled “mountain-top” experience when you feel the presence of that Holy Spirit.
Naturally we want to stay upon those mountain tops. However, I would like to share with you what Oswald Chambers so wisely and eloquently said about these mountain top experiences.
“The true test of our spiritual life is in exhibiting the power to descend from the mountain. If we only have the power to go up, something is wrong. It is a wonderful thing to be on the mountain with God, but a person only gets there so that he may later go down and lift up the demon-possessed people in the valley (see Mark 9:14-18). We are not made for the mountains, for sunrises, or for the other beautiful attractions in life— those are simply intended to be moments of inspiration. We are made for the valley and the ordinary things of life, and that is where we have to prove our stamina and strength. Yet our spiritual selfishness always wants repeated moments on the mountain. We feel that we could talk and live like perfect angels, if we could only stay on the mountaintop. Those times of exaltation are exceptional and they have their meaning in our life with God, but we must beware to prevent our spiritual selfishness from wanting to make them the only time.
We are inclined to think that everything that happens is to be turned into useful teaching. In actual fact, it is to be turned into something even better than teaching, namely, character. The mountaintop is not meant to teach us anything, it is meant to make us something. There is a terrible trap in always asking, “What’s the use of this experience?” We can never measure spiritual matters in that way. The moments on the mountaintop are rare moments, and they are meant for something in God’s purpose.”
In my selfishness I find that last sentence is something easy to overlook.
Lastly, you know things can get tough down in the valleys. So please consider Ephesians 6:10-18 in prayerful meditation ask how you can glorify G_d in your daily walk when you are not on the mount-top.
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of G_d, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of G_d, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of G_d. 18 With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.
Walk worthy and be blessed,
© David Hall, 2015