The Higher You Go With God
This past June, Colby and I traveled to several National Parks to go hiking and explore. When we were at each park, we intentionally picked the most strenuous hikes. We did this for two reasons: one reason being to avoid the crowds but the second because we knew with the greatest challenge, brought the greatest reward too.
Isn’t it interesting how a hike has so many similar parallels to a spiritual walk for a Christian? I have noticed as I have chosen the path less traveled, there are fewer people too. Whether it’s something as simple as opting out of filling my mind with reality TV even though friends around me consume themselves with it, or whether it’s a bigger deal, like choosing not to take our fertility journey in our own hands to bring us a baby faster, even though we know we could. The more I have chosen to run after the Father, the lonelier and quieter it has become.
These are just a few examples, because the list could go on and on. Can you relate?
What about how easy it would be to succumb to an infertility diagnosis or awful doctor’s report and give the doctors the final word, but you decide to stand on God’s Word and declare fruitfulness instead?
It could be that in a matter of a few minutes you can follow all the top celebrities on instagram, but instead you choose not to because you realize who you follow on social media has an influence on you.
Perhaps it’s giving God the first fruits of every day by spending time in His Word, when you could be like the majority of the world, even Christians, and never open it.
Or maybe it’s choosing to worship, even in the middle of the hardest years of your life, even though everyone in your same season life is grumbling and complaining.
It might be that when the world tells you to become jealous when someone gets what you want, you choose to follow God’s Word and celebrate what God did in that person’s life instead.
Choosing the easiest path seems to make the most sense, right? It’s much more tempting to fit in with the crowd and take the road most traveled. There is no resistance when following what the rest of the world does, is there?
You see, over the years what I have found is the more I run after Christ, the less crowded it has gotten around me. The more I have chosen not to compromise His Word to fit my circumstances, the thinner the crowds have become. The more I have chosen not to identify with the unbelief and fear, the lonelier it has gotten. The more I have chosen to make His Word a priority above all, the smaller my circle of friends has become.
It’s no different when you are hiking. The higher you go up a mountain, the less crowded it becomes. While a large crowd might be able to endure a 1 mile hike, when it gets to 3 miles, most turn around. And when it gets to 6, 7 or 8 miles with steep elevation, then there might just be a few people left.
Why? Because not many people are willing to push themselves through the pain and discomfort. Not many people want to take the long-way to finish a climb when they could take the shorter route and finish soon after starting.
What if we as Christians understood the race set out before us wouldn’t be easy? What if we understood we aren’t to look like the rest of the world, but we are actually supposed to look like Christ, even when it feels lonely on the way up the mountain?
The truth is there is a call on your life to be spiritually mature, no longer living as a baby Christian, looking like everyone else, but actually looking like Christ instead. There is a call on your life to be set apart, which means making hard decisions, even when those around you are making the easy ones.
I don’t know what mountain you are climbing, how high you have gone or how much you have left to hike, but know that as lonely as the journey looks when the crowds thin out, you are actually never, ever alone. Holy Spirit is always with you.
Will the hike up continue to feel lonely? Maybe! Will it be exhausting? Yes, it will! Will it be met with persecution? Probably! Will you be tempted to turn around? Of course! It’s very tiring and difficult to stay the course when the journey is hard, but you know what the amazing thing is?
There is always a great reward at the end. Because the higher you go up, the harder it becomes, and the harder the journey becomes, the the greater the reward.
“Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
“But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
Come to God through the narrow gate, because the wide gate and broad path is the way that leads to destruction—nearly everyone chooses that crowded road! The narrow gate and the difficult way leads to eternal life—so few even find it!” Matthew 7:13-14
“Don’t set the affections of your heart on this world or in loving the things of the world. The love of the Father and the love of the world are incompatible. For all that the world can offer us—the gratification of our flesh, the allurement of the things of the world, and the obsession with status and importance—none of these things come from the Father but from the world. This world and its desires are in the process of passing away, but those who love to do the will of God live forever.” 1 John 2:15-17
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