Most of the Christian life we worry about the valley’s, we dread them and hope that one day we’ll make it to THE mountain top. Rarely do we look at the mountain top and what that actually means.
Firstly the mountain top is not the finish. It is not our goal. It just one place on the journey and although the views can be more beautiful than in the valley it is not a resting place, it is a dangerous place and we should not stop there.
It can be really tempting to stay there. The scenery is beautiful, you can see who is coming up the hill-side (friend or foe), it’s light and breezy and not dark and forbidding like the valley. It’s so easy to get comfortable and build yourself a home and stay there.
The other great allure of the first mountain top is that now you have been through one valley and climbed one side of a mountain you know that to keep going up, to keep moving forward there is a lot of hard work to do, fears to face, stretching of your faith. Satan tempts you with thoughts about how no other mountain top can be as beautiful or as comfortable as this one. You should stay just a little bit longer…
Unfortunately some leaders get so comfortable with their first mountain and so scared of what’s ahead that they stop there followers from going further. They preach the gospel of the blessings of This Mountain. They prophesy that you have been called to This Mountain for such a time as this and you have been planted here to bear much fruit. They tell of the evils of Next Mountain and try to fill you with fears and doubts about the journey and the destination. Surely God’s blessing and calling is beyond where they have been, after all they are more spiritual than you.
For anyone who has ever done abseiling you know how dangerous it is to be too close to the edge, particularly when you are unharnessed and not linked to a solid rock or tree that will stop you from falling too far. Experienced abseilers also know how quickly you can get comfortable on the ledge. The drop maybe dozens or hundreds of feet down but in your comfort you quickly forget that and get continually more relaxed about being close to the edge. When you first arrive, particularly if its your first time on this edge, you are more cautious and may even be hesitant to go anywhere near the edge, but as the minutes tick by you get more and more comfortable and might even sit on the edge with your legs dangling over the eighty metre drop if it wasn’t for your mates telling you to not be so stupid and reckless.
So the longer you stay on the mountain top the easier it is to get comfortable and to stay rather than moving on to new challenges that take you through more valleys and to higher mountain tops.
It takes faith and courage to pack up your gear, pick up your pack and start the trek down the mountain, knowing the path with leads to another valley. The comfort is in knowing we have a Good Shepherd who leads us in paths of righteousness, besides still waters and through the valleys (Psalm 23).
Take time to ask your Shepherd today – have I been sitting on the mountain top too long? Is it time to start again on the hike to heaven?
Do you see the mountain top dangers? Share your wisdom with us in the comments below.