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 for mountaintop experiences. I have done that too, but I have found that there is no substitute for experiencing God’s presence. I would probably try to buy that if I could!

Of course, God’s presence can’t be bought. Mountain top experiences are not something that we can experience all the time. That isn’t the way it works. It didn’t even work that way with Jesus and his disciples.

Jesus took three of the disciples, Peter, James and John, to the top of a mountain one day where 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 didn’t want to leave. Who could blame them? They wanted to pitch tents and stay there. (See Matthew 17:1-14) But, of course, they couldn’t stay there.

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

We have all had mountain top experiences – experiences that are so good we never want to end. We remember them long after they end. We long for them to happen again but usually they don’t, at least not very often.

If you have ever tried to chase thrills before, of any kind, you have probably experienced the fact that the thrills tend to fade in intensity the more they are sought. The more we chase the thrills, the less thrilling the experiences seem.

I think there is a reason for that, even when the thrill is experiencing God’s presence. For one thing, God has a reason for the things he you experience in your life. He is working in and through all of your experiences, and his purpose isn’t just to thrill you.

Something I’ve also noticed about mountaintops is that things don’t grow very well on them. As great as the view may be, things don’t grow well on the rocks in the thin air on a mountain top.

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. The mountaintop experiences can be incredibly uplifting – maybe even life changing.

As life changing as they seem, however, the description of life changing may not be completely accurate. The mountaintop experience gives us perspective. We see God like we have not seen Him before. Indeed, that kind of exhilarating perspective is life changing in the sense that we gain perspective that we did not have before.

Bu, 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 – where the real life change happens.

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 might feel the life changing power of God most on the mountaintop, but we are actually changed by God 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 God works the growth in us in the valley.

Explore posts in the same categories: Christian, Faith

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