Rocks and Mountains

At the summit of Pike’s Peak, September 2019

A couple of years ago, I took a trip to the great American West. I drove up a long road to reach the summit of Pike’s Peak, which towers 14,000’ into the sky. There I found an interesting paradox. The summit is incredibly ugly –  if you only look at the immediate surrounding area. There is no vegetation, just rubble and rocks. But, if raise your eyes, and look at the horizon, you see the majestic views of the Rocky Mountains and the sweeping plains that inspired the song, “America, the Beautiful.”  

How you live, who you become, is the result of something called “vision.”  Two people who are in similar situations will find much different outcomes depending on how they choose to understand and respond. One sees only hardship and turns into a victim, blaming everyone for the troubles in which he finds himself. Another sees opportunity and finds a way forward; learning, growing, a ‘becomer.’   

American lore is full of ‘rags to riches’ stories of men and women who worked hard to make life work.  Joni Eareckson Tada comes to mind.  When she was just 17 years of age, in 1967, this beautiful girl with a bright future dove into the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland and broke her neck. Left paralyzed from the neck down, she became totally dependent on others. Now 71 years of age, the lovely Christian woman, is a visionary person who has written dozens of books, spoken in thousands of meetings, been married for decades, leading a ministry of compassion for those who are disabled called Joni and Friends. I love her authenticity. She does not sugarcoat the tragedy, but she chooses not to play the victim!

What kind of person do you want to be?

God, the Holy Spirit, promises to work deeply in each one of us, saving us through Christ, restoring us, healing our broken places, and using us to serve.  Look at the life that pulses through this prayer – I am “asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.” (Colossians 1:9-13, NIV)   Go back and read that again, before you read on.

The way that passage unfolds excites me.  IF we will look beyond the rubble, if we will trust our Great Savior, we will find the strength of the Spirit to live a worthy life. We will not be victims, we will be spiritually empowered. We will not be a barren desert, we will bear abundant spiritual fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control– Gal. 5:22-23).   Does that only happen to the rich, the beautiful, the advantaged, the bright?  No, it is the work of God that can happen in each one of us, IF we will trust Him and let Him create vision.

Know this – God’s vision for you is provisioned by God’s power in you!

Christian, do not turn Christ’s Gospel into an escape, an excuse for apathy today, focused only on Heaven to come.  We are blessed to have that eternal home waiting but there is living to be done all along the way – from here to eternity.  Don’t turn the blessing of your faith into a constant struggle to ‘do better,’ to set limits on your behavior.  Our high calling is about much more than trying to be nicer person, trying to quash our temper, ignore lust, or stifle greed. Living the Christian life like that is like walking the summit of Pike’s Peak looking down and seeing the rocks.  Raise your eyes to see the glorious inheritance God gives and invite the Holy Spirit to transform you. 

I like think of it like this. IF you attempt to empty a room of darkness you have set yourself up for impossibility. But, you can fill a room with light by just lighting a candle!

Here’s the word from the Word. As you read it, give thanks that the Spirit for eyes that see all the Gospel, including God’s vision for YOU.  “Christ lives in you, and this is your assurance that you will share in his glory. So everywhere we go, we tell everyone about Christ. We warn them and teach them with all the wisdom God has given us, for we want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ. I work very hard at this, as I depend on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.” (Colossians 1:28-30, NLT)  “Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope.” (Ephesians 3:20, NLT)

So, what do you ‘see?’

_________________________

Blessed Assurance
(Christ is our hope, our assurance!)

Blessed assurance Jesus is mine
O what a foretaste of glory divine
Heir of salvation purchase of God
Born of His Spirit washed in His blood

This is my story this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long
This is my story this is my song
Praising my Savior all the day long

Perfect submission perfect delight
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy whispers of love

Perfect submission all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blest
Watching and waiting looking above
Filled with His goodness lost in His love

Fanny Jane Crosby

© Words: Public Domain

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