A couple of weeks ago I took our youth group to Colorado for an adventure with LifeTrails, a ministry that helps churches reach kids through the outdoors. We rock climbed and rappelled. We white-water rafted. Then, we hiked several miles to high camp from which we climbed Crystal Peak. This is a 13,877 foot mountain just south of Breckenridge.
It was amazing to watch the teens and other adults grow as they helped each other up the mountain. Some of them were more physically fit than others. Some had medical issues that kept them from the top, but the rest made it…no matter the fitness level. When we got to the summit, we were exhausted and crying with joy because of the victory we had achieved together.
Through this week, I learned many things about myself and others as we all experienced God through this amazing trip. Once I got back, however, I began processing some things that really have made an impact on me as a Christian.
Once we got down off the mountain, I realized how thirsty and tired and sore I really was. I also realized how “fat” I really am. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a little overweight (who couldn’t stand to lose a few pounds), but I didn’t have any trouble with the mountain. What I realized is that I lived for a week accomplishing a very hard task without so many things that I rely on every other week.
I didn’t have my house or car or cell phone or internet or loads of food or media entertainment. I had what I carried on my back, and that was enough.
As I think about my walk with Christ, I realize how “fat” I am there as well. It takes a week of exhaustion and thirst in the mountains away from the distractions of the world for some people to have a true experience with God. Most days, I am fully fed on what the world is offering and the religious things that crowd my mind. I have my fill of church politics and Facebook, phone calls and lesson plans. I have no more room for Jesus.
All these things are good, but often they crowd out the only reason for our existence – the resurrection of Jesus.
Jesus said it like this: “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19)
Really? A camel through the eye of a needle?
Now that you mention it, how spiritually fit am I, really? I’m a rich man. If you are reading this column either in the paper or online, then you are rich too. We are very distracted people. We have so much stuff.
I think that it’s time for me to evaluate how much of this stuff I really need. It’s time to me to put things in order and weed out all unnecessary things.
You can’t get rid of your job, and you need to be part of a church family somewhere, but you can limit your intake of the world and of religion. Now please understand, I am not saying limit your intake of Christ…fill yourself with Christ! Limit your intake on religious tradition and rules taught by men. When we make room for Jesus – when we allow Him to really fill our lives, then we can have the mountaintop experiences without having to go to Colorado.
Only when Jesus is the central focus in our lives – filling us with His word and His Spirit – can we live the life He has called us to live – eternal life.
So, how “fat” are you? It’s time the Christians all over this great nation go on a diet. Not a diet of food (though that may be necessary too), but a diet of cultural intake and religious fast-food. We need more Bible and prayer and meditation and worship, and less self satisfaction. When church is all about me, then I’m the rich man, and that camel is going to go through first.
Lets climb this mountain we call “life”, but lets lose some weight first. Lets go on a strict diet of Jesus and His word. And let us throw off everything that hinders (Hebrews 12:1)
If there is anything I can do for you or pray with you about, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. God bless you!