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"Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths,
guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long."
~ Psalms 25:4,5

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Jesus Mountain - Adventure of the Christian Life

How do I articulate this?

I tried at our Mom-2-Mom last Thursday (March 1, 2012) and I really feel I botched it, so I'm going to try in written form...

It's the articulation of where I am in my Christian walk.  What I learning from God right now.  But how do I say it without sounding self-debasing or self-righteous, over-analytical or judgmental?

I want to know Christ, I want to live out His righteousness...(Philippians 3:8ff)  But to say that implies that I don't and does that come across as arrogant or belittling to someone who views me more spiritually mature than themself?  "If she doesn't think she knows Christ, then she must think I really know nothing."  No, no, no not at all!  No, I feel like I am the babe in Christ, learning how to drink this basic spiritual milk (1 Peter 2:2): Knowing Christ, living out His righteousness instead of my own "assets" (Philippians 3:7 - do I really!?! my pride deceives me!!!)  I may have been able to articulate truths for my Theology 404 class that my heart hasn't fully embraced yet.  Yes, yes I know & deeply believe the truths of His life and death and resurrection...this Easter, I want to really know it.  What does that take?  I think that takes many Selahs.  And the Selahs of the failures of fasting in Lent may just help with that.

A new Lesson to Learn for the Adventure.

For me, it's been 31 years of breathing on this earth and 16 years of those knowing Christ as my personal LORD and Savior.

16 years of hiking the mountain with God - first three years: very slowly, very flat terrain, establishing myself as a committed hiker; the next four years during college: charging that mountain, gaining a significant working knowledge of that mountain, being captivated by the breath-taking views, growing stronger by the dryness of the valleys, enjoying to minor peaks as I keep looking toward that Ultimate Peak of Heaven; two year post college: more peaks, more navigation skills, still quick pace, learning some of the finer tuned skills - growing in heart knowledge and not just head knowledge, finally committed to daily learning from The Guide Book; the last seven years: more dry valleys, more rocky terrain, more heart knowledge, more opportunities to apply the head and heart knowledge, more slips, stumbles, scrapes, blood, bruises - a more seasoned hiker to weather the storms but maybe also able to see the Hope of the Peak a little more clearly through the fog.

So, is this where God has me now after 16 years?  (For the timing and pace and lessons and challenges and victories and even smaller goals of everyone's journey to the Ultimate Peak is so very vastly different!)  We all start the journey on this "Jesus Mountain" with the Maker-Messiah Himself.  And depending on our background and personalities and opportunities to learn and what type of learners we are etc, etc, depends on how much and how often we take the lead and when we let the Maker-Messiah navigate for us.  How well do we listen to Him or do we think have been anointed the one to figure out this path now that The True Anointed One has gotten us started?

It has been my experience that echoes the stories of Scripture that the more we stay in step with the Maker-Messiah the more peaceful our trip, even when we have to weather storms.

But oh, that is so hard for this self-sufficient traveler!

So, I think this is where Maker-Messiah has me -- during this Lenten season -- at a place where I want to have a deeper understanding in my heart of hearts of my sin that sent Him to be sacrificed and the significance of that sacrifice.  Oh what deep lessons that will take a life-time to continue to wrap my heart around!

John Piper's The Passion of Jesus Christ: 50 Reasons Why He Came and Died has been a resource I've tried to slowly work through to break down the self-sufficiency of my heart.

I did not Make me or any of my talents and I did not Save me nor do I sanctify myself in any way.  Hmmm...that mysterious process of sanctification...I know in my head that it is all because of Christ's work, but my heart lives as if something of the sanctification part of salvation relies on my work..."work out your salvation" says Philippians 2:12.  "For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose," says Philippians 2:13.  It's a both and.

Maybe it has something to do with Tim Keller's words in the "Heart: Three Ways to Live" section of  "Gospel in Life": "We need to not only repent of the bad things that we do, but we need to repent of the reasons we do good things."

"All a man's ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD." (Proverbs 16:2)  Oh, how it seems like even the good things I do and want to do are tainted with impure motives or reasons.  Purify me, LORD Jesus, purify me!!!

So maybe if I stay more in step with my Guide on the mountainous trails of life, I will see more clearly the path -- maybe I will want to stay away from the sin that sent Him to be sacrificed and maybe just maybe I will understand more His righteousness that I can receive through the power of His resurrection and maybe when I slip and stumble on the rocks (temptations to sin in thought, word, or action!) of the trail, I will know they were necessary to point me back to my Guide & Savior - the Only One who can & did walk the trail without slipping in order to save us and thus is the Only One I should link arms with as I navigate this Jesus Mountain called "life".  It's this truth of the Grace of Christ in the midst of Failure that seems to be the key Lesson of the LORD for me on this path of the Jesus Mountain.

The Jesus Mountain is Glorious no matter which trail you are on - the beginning trail head holds so much Glorious anticipation, the steady climb gives you opportunity to enjoy His Glorious scenery, the rocky terrain & valleys gives you opportunity to cling to the Glorious One into whose Glory you are climbing!  Keep hiking fellow traveler!  Keep hiking in Him and through Him and for Him (Romans 11:36)!

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