The Mountains in our Lives

Recently I posted a question on Facebook: “If you had to name the number one ‘mountain’ you know you are facing in 2017, what would it be?”  The answers ranged from “developing better health habits” to “healing from terminal disease” to “Satan’s attacks on our children.” It was a pretty thorough list of the kinds of “mountains” we face in our culture and time. Let’s face it, we all have mountains ahead of us. Some of them we are climbing hard to get to the summit and enjoy “victory”! Some of them we’re still trying to find a way around or a way to ignore completely. Some of them we are moaning and groaning and dreading. And that’s just our reactions to the known mountains! It’s not inconceivable that our biggest mountains are still unknown and unseen to us. So how do we persevere?  What do we do with the mountains?

I don’t have some fantastic fix-all answer to that question. But if you have followed my blog for very long at all, you won’t be surprised, that my ideas are based in the ultimate goal of my life–communion with Jesus and participation in his glory.  That being said, I want to share some godly ways of responding to mountains. I’ll start with two this week and share three more next week.

1.  PRAY! I know this seems like an obvious one. But so  many times I’ve caught myself in the middle of a dilemma trying to work a solution and realized I haven’t stopped to pray. James tells us in the first chapter of his book that if we lack wisdom, we should ask it of God, who gives it generously! In other words, our first step to figuring out what to do, should be praying for God’s wisdom.

When Solomon was crowned king he was overwhelmed by the mountain before him–leading the people of God well. So when God asked him, “What do you want from me? What can I give you?” Instead of asking for riches, or fame or peace, he asked for wisdom. This answer so pleased God that he gave Solomon the wisdom he asked for as well as riches, prestige and peace. 

Sometimes I fail to pray because I honestly revere my own powers of reasoning over wisdom from God. That sounds completely ridiculous when I write it out, but that’s what it amounts to. I don’t want to humble myself and ask God for his wisdom because I want to figure it out myself. This is particularly true about “non-spiritual” problems like my child failing Algebra 1. (Silly me! As if there is a dichotomy between spiritual and regular life!) Humility on the grand scale, does not exceed the need for humility on a daily scale. Instead it should enhance it. In other words, the humility it takes to cry out to God over the major issues I have no control over–Joel’s sin and prison sentence for example–should grow in my the humility it takes to also ask for His wisdom in the minor issues of life, like navigating the challenges of school with my children.  So the bottom line is, no issue is too small to be offered up to God, because His wisdom is always better than mine. 

2. THINK POSITIVELY: This sounds like something you’d find in an self-help article in a magazine at your dentist’s office. But I don’t mean it in the same way they do. I’m talking about Phil. 4:8 “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think of such things.” Negative speculation in the midst of facing the mountains brings on stress, worry, fear and discouragement. But God says, think about what is true–don’t speculate–dwell on the truth. Paul  told Timothy, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, of love and of a sound mind.“–2 Timothy 1:7.  When we think on truth we move away from fear! We have a sound mind.

Did you know that our thoughts actually have physical results? Of course you know it. Stress has been linked to all kinds of physical conditions, from heart disease to stomach ulcers, to cold sores.  Scripture tells us to think on TRUTH, and when we don’t our bodies suffer the physical consequences. So no matter what mountain you are facing, don’t make it worse by complaining! Instead, live from a sound mind, a Christ-centered mind, and dwell on his truth.

So here’s my challenge to you: pray for God’s wisdom and think on His truth as you deal with both the little mountains that pop up unexpectedly and the large mountains looming on the horizon. Start here. Start small. And see how God moves mountains!

 


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