|Photo by SRWvong 2019|
Saturday, June 22, 2019
View of the Summit
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