Saturday, June 22, 2019

View of the Summit

Photo by SRWvong 2019

I had a dream that my family and I were staying in a resort in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. The hotel was at the foot of a majestic snow-capped mountain, and the grounds, buildings and roads were adrift in snow. Our family had planned to go on a hike up the mountain that afternoon, weather permitting, but we were reluctant to leave the warmth of the castle-like fortress and venture out on the trails.

In the meantime, I looked out the window and spotted an inviting hot tub, fed by a natural spring. Steam arose from the surface even as snow covered the shrubs and statuary surrounding it. The hot tub could be reached from an indoor swimming pool, so that the bather would never have to venture outside until they were submersed under the soothing jets.

Best of all, the location of the hot tub afforded a glorious view of the summit. As my family was still undecided about whether to go hiking, I was tempted to slip away for a comfortable soak that I was sure would dissolve all the tensions of travel.

But then I realized that the hot tub was near the street where tour buses were constantly arriving and departing, dropping off and picking up loads of people. Not only would there not be any privacy, but the fumes from the buses would be disturbing, and the large vehicles would mostly block the view of the mountain peak.

As I awoke and considered the symbolism of the dream, it reminded me of what we as born-again Christians (John 3:3-8) are to do once we are saved by trusting in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6). At that moment we know that Heaven, symbolized by the mountain peak gleaming in the sun, will be our eternal home.

But God did not save us just so that we would be guaranteed eternity in heaven rather than in hell, which is the final destination for all who have not trusted in the atoning sacrifice of His Son, as all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). If that were His only purpose, He would take us home at the moment of our salvation.

Instead, He wants us to embark on the spiritual journey of progressive sanctification. Once we are saved by His grace, we are to begin climbing up the mountain, not so that we can saved by our good works, but rather to accomplish the specific purpose He had planned for each us since before the beginning of time (Ephesians 2:8-10; 1:5,11; Romans 8:29-30; Jeremiah 29:11). That purpose includes good works to serve Him (James 2:17-26), to witness to others so that they can be brought into His Kingdom (2 Corinthians 5:18), and to encourage fellow believers (Romans 14:19; Ephesians 4:12,16).

In the dream, that journey was represented by the plan to hike up the mountain. Climbing it would mean leaving the place of comfort, warmth, and security, facing the cold, expending energy, struggling at times, following hairpin turns that might even lead downward, and facing dangerous conditions (Psalm 23). Yet these trials are part of our journey, for they strengthen our faith, give us wisdom and experience to counsel others going through similar trials (1 Peter 4:12; Romans 5:3-5), and shape us into the image of Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:10).

Once we are saved and the Holy Spirit enters our hearts (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30), we experience His presence like a bubbling spring. The Comforter (John 14:16) warms us from within, stirring up currents of joy, hope and peace as we contemplate our eternal destiny in glorified bodies (1 Corinthians 15:35-58) living in that fair city paved with gold (Revelation 21)  where Jesus Christ is building mansions for each of us (John 14:1-4).

These feelings are a wonderful blessing and gift from God, and sometimes are best enjoyed by just resting in His presence. But we must be careful not to let them overwhelm us by becoming “so heavenly-minded that we are no earthly good,” as the saying goes. Many Christians, once saved, are content merely to know that they no longer have to worry about going to hell, and that they can just sit on the pew and soak up love and God’s Word emanating from the body of Christ.

The Great Commission given by Jesus to His disciples was to go, teach and baptize others of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20), not to sit and bask in spiritual complacency. We are not to stay in the hot tub, where we could risk lethargy and overheating, but to start climbing up the mountain, following His lead. We know He will never leave us nor forsake us on that journey (Hebrews 13:5), that He will safely guide us through all the hazards, and that He will provide us with beautiful vistas and rest stops along the way (Psalm 23), in His perfect timing.

The tour buses in the dream I believe may represent souls coming to the earth, and intersecting with our mortal lives, by physical birth, and leaving by physical death. How could we rest comfortably, simply enjoying the peace of knowing we are saved, when we see souls stepping out into eternity every day, many if not most of whom are headed straight for hell? The fumes in the dream may be the whiff of brimstone warning us of what awaits those who have not trusted Christ (Psalm 11:6; Revelation 21:8).

The Holy Spirit kindles a fire within our hearts with a passion for lost souls. While we are on this earth, our time is so short (Job 14:1; James 4:14), and there are so many opportunities to witness so that souls will be led to our precious Lord Jesus (John 4:35). May we not be slothful or self-serving, but fervent in our Lord’s business (Romans 12:11), until He comes again! 

© 2019 Laurie Collett



Brenda said...

Hi Laurie,
that is right, I believe absolutely that your dream portrays the fact that once we have come to Christ as a believer we are part of the body of Christ on earth and have a mission here. That is why the gifts of the Spirit must be prayed for, so that we can all do what we are to do while here on earth. God loves all and wants all to be saved - He is as the master chess player and we are as the chess pieces to be moved by Him to win the game.
God bless you for sharing your dream Laurie.

Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
Looking at the picture of the summit, I tend to think it's more of mountaineering rather than hiking. The former I have never tried, but hiking - it's something I have done and enjoyed many times, the greatest was at the Grand Canyon from South Rim to Phantom Ranch at the bottom, close to the Colorado River. In fact, I heard it said that hiking the Canyon is "mountain hiking in reverse" - you start by going down, followed by the return up.
I'm getting carried away here. You have touched on a topic of great interest!
But what you say about relaxing in the spa or stepping out in the cold, if my own experience has anything to go by, then stepping out on the hike may at first feel very uncomfortable, but the exhilaration felt when arriving at the summit will beat the spa experience hands down.
Also, I can't help but think of the two routes, one wide, the other narrow. The wide may be smooth but will lead to death, while the narrow one may have boulders for obstruction, but will end in eternal life.
An excellent post. God bless.

Laurie Collett said...

Hi Brenda,
Praise the Lord that He sent the Comforter to lead and direct us in the mission God has planned for each of us since before the beginning of time. May we be sensitive to His leading and allow Him to use us to accomplish His plan.
Thanks for your comment and God bless,

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
Great point about the hike being far more exhilarating! The danger of sitting in a hot tub for too long is that it saps all your energy for doing anything productive. May we be willing to pursue the narrow road that challenges us but that leads to eternal life.
Thanks as always for sharing your insights and experience. God bless,

Donald Fishgrab said...

Great post, Laurie. Far too many Christians today settle for the hot tub and glimpses of the mountains of heaven, never experiencing the joys of actually serving God, of climbing the mountain. They think they know all about how wonderful the Christian life is, although they have only seen it at a distance, like a tourist looking at the view from the comfort of his car. They have no idea what they are missing.

Laurie Collett said...

Thanks, Donald! Christianity is not a spectator sport. True fulfillment comes only from commitment and service. Thankfully, God will empower us to do His will, if we commit.
God bless,