During a recent trip to Yellowstone National Park, one of our favorite places was a climbing spot that we found at one of the picnic areas.
It was a bunch of huge rocks that progressed up to the top of a cliff and there were people climbing all over them, so that meant there was no stopping Jacob (our 4 year old).
Jacob’s never found a rock that he didn’t want to climb on, and since I love to rock-climb myself, it didn’t take much to convince me.
So, Jacob and I started climbing up these rocks. And, I gotta be honest with you, it was fairly hard to do with Jacob along. It would have been hard enough to climb up by myself without getting hurt, but it was much more difficult holding on to Jacob’s hand so he wouldn’t get hurt.
Whenever he’d lose his balance, it would force me off in my balance. Sometimes I’d overcompensate trying to steady us, and I’d almost pull us too far. It was a lot of fun, but it was also very difficult.
And the higher we went, the harder it became. The spaces were different, not to mention that we were getting way out of our comfort zone as we got farther away from solid ground!
It would have been far easier to have pitched a lawn chair and joined the group of spectators under the shady tree who were watching from the bottom!
But, finally, we made it up and eventually back down again.
You know, those rocks remind me of living the Christian life: it’s enjoyable, but it’s also difficult. It’s rewarding, but it also requires effort.
Whether it’s teaching a class or witnessing at work, starting a new ministry or resisting temptation, doing the unpopular thing among peers or taking a stand for Christ, or any of the dozens of things God might call us to do, sometimes God calls us out of our comfort zones, doesn’t He?
And that solid ground looks a long way off. And that shady tree with its spectators sitting around doing nothing sure is inviting.
And, yet, God has called us to climb higher. Even when it’s rocky and bumpy. Even when it’s difficult and we lose our balance. Even if we have to help someone else along the way.
Christianity has never been for spectators, but rather for participators. God doesn’t want us sitting idly by taking it easy, never putting any effort into our walk with Him. He wants us climbing higher, drawing closer to Him, living as He intends for us to live.
There will be tests of our faith. There will be moments of temptation. There will be distractions. There will be times when it will be far easier to take the world’s way out instead of standing up for what God desires.
After all, it’s easy to sit at the bottom under the shady tree.
But God wants us to climb higher.
Jimmy D. Brown [email protected] http://www.living4jesus.com/