How many of you know someone who is so outspoken that they declare their opinion before their brain understands what’s going on? I’m sure we all know at least one person…Or maybe that someone is you!? Being “outspoken” is one of the many characteristics used to describe Peter.
On the way, Jesus told them, “All of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say,
‘God will strike the Shepherd,
and the sheep will be scattered.’
…Peter said to him, “Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will.” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, Peter—this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.” “No!” Peter declared emphatically. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!”
Peter is one of my heroes. I am so grateful that God used him, his strengths, and weaknesses to be an example for us. Here in the above passage, Peter shouts out the right answer without hesitation. With his emotions running high, he basically tells Jesus “I will never desert you, no matter what the others do”. Since then, thousands of Christians have said those same words at youth retreats, revivals, worship conferences, and the like.
But we know what happens in act two don’t we. Peter does in fact deny Christ three times before the rooster crows, just as Jesus said he would (Luke 22:54-62).
Descending the Mountain Top Experience
So many of us boldly make decisions to get our act together and follow Jesus during, what I call, the Mountain Top Experience. These are times of extreme emotional highs. We stand boldly in front of others and raise our hands declaring that we will do whatever it takes to live the Christian life; to follow Christ’s example.
But somewhere along the way, life happens. We leave the mountain top and enter the valley; day to day life. The warm fuzzies fade off and it’s back to the old “Christian” routine, which translates in to little to no time for God. Does this describe you?
The silver lining on the cloud is that Peter’s story does not end in act two, with his denial of Christ, there is an act three (for all you screenplay buffs). The rest of Peter’s life is filled with faith and dedication to Christ. After Jesus’ Resurrection, Peter was the first person to preach publicly about Christ (See Acts Chapter 2). Peter was one of the boldest apostles of all, and was a key instrument in founding the church.
The mountain top experience is always followed by the valley. But how can we make the descent successfully? We don’t have to fall away from Christ. You have probably heard this more times than you can count, but Jesus came to break down the barriers of religion and blew open the doors for a relationship. Maintaining a vibrant faith takes work…and by work I mean time, time with God. Imagine being married to someone you didn’t speak to, or never spent time with? I’ll tell you right now, that marriage will dry up. The same is true with our “marriage” with God. This relationship needs time. When we leave the emotional high of the mountain top experience, we need to press in and take hold of, and spend daily time with Christ.
If you are the culprit of a dried up relationship with Christ, you still have today to make it right. I warn you, it will take resolve. Here are my three tips on how to successfully descend the mountain top experience:
1. Read the Bible Daily
I know, I know. You have heard this a thousand times. But how can we expect to be close to God if we don’t read the letters he has written us. Imagine if you couldn’t see your spouse for a significant amount of time, and the only way for your spouse to communicate with you was by writing you letters…wouldn’t you read them? I expect you would do more than just read them too. I believe you would keep them with you, and read over them continually to remind yourself of them and their love for you. The same is true with God.
So I digress, pick a time in your schedule and begin reading the bible, and stick with it! Maybe give your first 15 minutes to God. 10 minutes for reading the Bible, and 5 minutes for praying.
That leads me right into my next tip…
2. Pray Continually
This is another you may have anticipated. If the Bible is like a letter from God, prayer is a phone call. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “pray continually”. This isn’t your stereotypical religious prayer where you get on your knees, clasp your hands together, bow your head and close your eyes (not that we shouldn’t ever do that). This is an open line of communication with God, all day. This is taking God with you wherever your day brings you.
3. Join a Church
You may be thinking, “Colton, I already go to church!”…But I’m not talking about attending church 50% of Sundays…or even 100% of Sundays, I’m talking about joining with it; a partnership. Get plugged in. Join a small group of people there where you can connect and build relationships that will help hold you accountable. Find a way to serve. Transition from a consumer to a contributor.
Let us make bold statements of faith like Peter, but when we leave the mountain top experience, let us put real time into our relationship with God, and follow through. These 3 tips are simply scratching the surface of maintaining an intimate relationship with God while descending the mountain top experience, and simply doing them to make a check on your checklist will not accomplish much. But if you do them with sincerity and commitment, I believe you will be on the right track.
Do you have any tips on how to successfully descend the mountain top? Share your highs and lows with us below.