Where Spiritual Growth Happens


Photo by Chris A. Fraley at Bonticou Crag


Mountaintop experiences are great. We wish we could stay there forever, but mundane, everyday life always follows, and we find ourselves trudging along in the valley.

Let’s face it: we spend most of our time in the valley, but we would rather be on the mountaintop. If someone could bottle that mountaintop experience, it would sell!

In fact, people do try to buy it. People try drugs, alcohol, sex, thrills and other things looking a mountaintop experience. I have done that too. I am here to tell you there is no substitute for experiencing God’s presence in a real, present way. I would probably try to buy that if I could!

Of course, it can’t be bought. It also is not something that we can experience all the time. That is not the way it works.

Jesus took three of the disciples up on a mountain in His day. He took Peter, James and John by themselves, and on that high mountain Jesus was transfigured before them. His face “shone like the sun”; and Moses and Elijah appeared to them! What an incredible experience it must have been! The Disciples did not want to leave. They wanted to pitch tents and stay there. (See Matthew 17:1-14)

There was a specific reason Jesus took them to the mountaintop, He wanted to show them something and told them, “Tell no one the vision until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.”

There is something about the mountaintop that is not immediately evident, but it is pretty clear when you think about it. Things don’t grow very well on the mountaintop. As great as the view is, the rocks and thin air are not conducive to growth.

The growth happens in the valley.

We need to get up to the mountaintop sometimes to visit with God and experience how great God is. We often call mountaintop experiences life changing, but that may not be completely accurate. The mountaintop experience gives us perspective. We see God like we have not seen Him before. Indeed, it is life changing. It is life changing in the sense that we gain perspective that we did not have before, and part of that perspective is the view of the lush, rich growth in the valley!

We need the view from the mountaintop, but we can’t stay there. We need to go back down to the valley where the real growth takes place.

The growth takes place in the valley where life is hot and muggy, where the bugs swarm and predators lurk. Growth requires work, getting our hands dirty. There are fields to be prepared, seeds to be sown, weeds to be pulled and crops to be harvested. Growth takes blood, sweat and sometimes tears.

In that mundane, everyday life, God does His work in us. Through the seasons and the changes, little by little, as long as we stay connected to God, allow His Spirit to work in us and keep pressing forward, God transforms us in the Valley.

We feel most moved on the mountaintop, but we are actually changed in valley.

The mountaintop experiences help us to remember how great God is. We need to visit with God on the mountain at times. Treasure the mountaintop, but understand that the growth takes place in the valley.

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