Hi, Rob here. I feel like I’m at the foot of a mighty mountain trying to summon up the courage to begin a long and arduous journey. Some of you may recognise this feeling. Starting a new business, building a house or starting a family could all bring this feeling to the surface. In my case it’s beginning a Master’s thesis! I believe that God has brought me to this point, but I know that as I start this journey there’s some baggage that I need to get rid of. It’s baggage that many of you will be familiar with – the baggage of past failure. 20 or so years ago I began a Masters thesis in Political Science and never finished it. I had some excuses: My supervisor was too busy and didn’t help me narrow my topic enough; I never had an orientation into Masters study and was woefully ill-prepared; our flat had Sky TV! The bottom line was that I didn’t want it enough. I was doing it because I had no other vision for my life. I quickly became disinterested, detached and lazy – the perfect recipe for failure.
This time feels different and redemptive. First of all I have no excuses. My supervisor has been excellent and my topic has been thoroughly discussed. I know the environment well and most of all, we don’t have Sky! Actually, the biggest thing is that this mountain is only part of a journey that I’ve been walking for a while now. It’s the journey of discovering who I truly am in God and in his kingdom. It’s an incredibly liberating feeling to know that you’re at this point in your life because God wants you there. To know that I walk this journey as someone loved, accepted and commissioned is empowering. To know that Christ is in me and I in him – a son to the Father – is freedom and joy. To know that past failure does not define me is a gift of life.
However, it’s still a mountain. Hard work is ahead. There will be peaks and troughs. There will be times when progress seems easy and other times when you’re just trying to breathe. But I have a guide – someone who believes that I can make it as long as I trust him. I am not alone. God is with me and he’s also given me a community of fellow climbers.
All of us are on a journey and all of us, at some point, have mountains to climb. As we journey I offer 4 words to help us focus on our part to play as God leads us through his Spirit:
Believe – What do you believe about yourself as you begin your climb? Do you believe that you are loved, accepted, and commissioned by God? Do you believe that your past is forgiven and being redeemed? Do you believe that you are where you are because God wants you there?
Trust – Do you trust your guide? Christ is in us through his Spirit. We are told that God will never leave us nor forsake us. He is good and the path he has for us is good. Do you trust in that goodness?
Walk – Looking at the mountain gets us nowhere. At some stage we have to walk with God. Walking with God means paying close attention to him, listening for his voice and letting go of control. He doesn’t tie a rope to us. We are free creatures but if we believe, have trust and pay attention we will follow him well and enjoy the walk.
Fight – Here’s the hard one. There are obstacles on this journey. The enemy will try to make us stumble and fall. He will try to disrupt our belief and shake our trust. We need to fight over our self-talk; rejecting self-doubt, disqualification, despair and fear of failure. We need to take our place in Christ every day; in his death and in his life. We make the choice to die to sin and come alive to God in Christ Jesus. We remember that we are forgiven and free, whole and holy in Christ. Our sins, our fears and failures are not the truest thing about us. That we belong to Jesus and he to us is what’s truly true.
May your remembering lead to prayer and to worship. God is good. In Christ may we climb well.