Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Which Mountain?



Jesus took his inner circle (James, John and Peter) up to the mountain, but they had no idea what they were about to experience up there. Before their eyes, the human form of God was transformed into all of His glory - blinding radiance shone and they were in complete awe (Matthew 17:1-5). Jesus was joined by Moses and Elijah in this most amazing mountaintop experience. The disciples were swept away by the experience of God's glory and the revelation of Jesus' part in Israel's history. They were enlightened and overjoyed by God's presence to the point of assuming this was the peak of Jesus' life. Peter saw Jesus in all His glory and he wanted to stay there in that place forever and he suggested that they build shelters so this glorious moment could last forever.

But it was not meant to be. The apex of Jesus' ministry was not on that mount; it was on another mountain altogether - Calvary. He could not conquer sin and death if He remained on the mount of transfiguration. Jesus knew this fact that defines all disciples: life is found in death. Jesus' life is best expressed in us not in the glorious moments of worship but in the daily death to self that ordinary life requires.

"We are not built for the mountains and the dawns and aesthetic affinities; those are for moments of inspiration, that is all. We are built for the valley, for the ordinary stuff we are in, and that is were we have to prove our mettle." Oswald Chambers


If we read back to Matthew 16, we see that the transfiguration followed Peter's confession of faith and Jesus' description of discipleship as the cross-life. The mountain experience was important and valuable in that it provided a clear vision of Christ. The same is true for us - we need those moments as beacons in the dark night. But nothing is accomplished up on that mountain. Jesus wants us to be about His work and that cannot happen on the mountain because the demon possessed are in the valley and as His disciples, we must follow Him there.

Oswald Chambers often speaks of these mountain experiences and our eagerness to seek the mountaintop. The trouble is, we've made our experiences into an idol. We're not seeking God or following Him (because He just might lead us down difficult roads); instead we're seeking a feeling like desperate addicts.

Our culture is obsessed with what feels good; this is the criterion by which all pursuits are judged and even Christians have fallen prey to this mentality. Unfortunately, the Lord doesn't offer peace or enlightenment when we seek peace. Rather, He offers joy and contentment to those who seek HIM (Matthew 6:33). We need to stop looking for the mountains and start putting our gaze higher - let's start seeking Him in the everyday moments and in every detail of our simple lives. Instead of looking for the next high, I must learn to live obediently in the relative lows of today. My faith will be shown for what it is down here in the valleys by my life of obedience regardless of how I feel. Am I willing today to go to the Mount of Calvary with Jesus?


For more thoughts on Oswald Chamber's quote, visit Laurel.

15 comments:

Robin @ Heart of Wisdom said...

Excellent object lesson. Thanks for pointing us to the Calvary mountain. The answer to all.

I’m in a dark valley right now. I could use your prayers. I am shameless asking everyone I know to lift me up– I need help in this battle–I’m not doing so well on my own.

Thank you.

Laurel Wreath said...

Oh Heather, I love your quote "The apex of Jesus' ministry was not on that mount; it was on another mountain altogether - Calvary"

AMEN AMEN!!!! Great post.

lori said...

Heather,
We are on the same page..
You said it much more eloquently though..
"Instead of looking for the next high, I must learn to live obediently in the lows..." BEAUTIFUL!

I love the encouragement that I am fed through the heart of others!
thank you!!
You blessed me!
peace,
lori

Rosemarie said...

"Jesus knew this fact that defines all disciples: life is found in death. Jesus' life is best expressed in us not in the glorious moments of worship but in the daily death to self that ordinary life requires."

A gift of wisdom that every Christian should digest daily. The world has poisoned our outlook as we search for a feeling rather than being content in the now wherever that is with Christ.

Kim said...

Great...great...great post!!! Thanks SO much for visiting my blog!!

Debbie said...

Great post!

Blessings.

LisaWA said...

That was wonderful! Thank you for your wonderful insight!

This was my first time posting Toesdays in other words.... thanks for stopping by my blog...

Elisa @ Extravagant Grace said...

Awesome, Heather! Just awesome!

Denise said...

Beautifully said my dear.

Nancze said...

Hi Heather, Thank you for your visit and comment. Yours was excellent and I am glad to have read it. Looking towards Calvary that is awesome. God Bless.

Sarah said...

Great take on the quote!!!

Denise said...

Visit my blog, I have an award for you sweetie.

Angie said...

OOOOOOOOOO Heather----I loved that!
What a blessing your words are!!!
Thank you for sharing it!

Cynthia Ruchti said...

I knew when I first met you that your heart was in the right place. I knew when I read this post for the first time that your words are, too. I'm excited to see how far the Lord will take your words. They reached my heart tonight.

eph2810 said...

Oh, Heather, you made Oswald Chambers' thoughts so clear. You are right; we need to keep our eyes fixed on the mountaintop, but following the path He has laid out for us here on earth, until He calls us home.

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on past week's IOW quote.

Be blessed today and always.