“Laziness is always seen in cravings for the high hour; we talk about working up to a time on the mount. We have to learn to live in the grey day according to what we saw on the mount.”
I was speaking to a friend a week ago about mountain-top experiences. We talked about the mentality within so many Evangelicals that desired spiritual growth of epic proportions. This growth is not sustained growth, but it comes from having the space that a summer camp provides to focus 100% upon Jesus. The trouble with camp is that those experiences often do not translate into momentum in the hallways of school, work or family life. A mountain-top experience fades into a gray valley and we forget everything that happened on the crest of the hill.
We crave those moments of lucidity and clarity, basking in the moment; however, we live most of our lives away from the mountain. Growing up in an Evangelical church, summer camp was a staple of the youth group experience. We were often counseled to bring the mountain-top experience of spiritual fervor with us down to the coast. Granted there were warnings that this experience could not be taken with you from time-to-time, but, as I can attest, it was not heeded. The thing that Chambers discussed was that there needed to be different seasons in the lives of individuals. Seasons that abound from plentiful to barren, feast to famine. These seasons bring different opportunities and yield different rewards. Ultimately we must walk according to the faith of Christ in every context.
Growth comes through work and diligence. Discipline (along with a sizable dose of the Holy Spirit) ultimately drives a person to sustained growth. The Holy Spirit’s empowerment is what brings about sanctification within the Christian. For Paul, as stated in Ephesians 4, reaching the “measure of the full stature of Christ” is to depend entirely upon God. That is also what the psalmist writes in Psalm 1, inviting the reader/singer to delight in the law (or instruction) of God. We ought to delight in the law of God instead of our best moments on a mountain-top. Chambers would write in regards to this saying,
If you make a god of your best moments, you will find that God will fade out of your life and never comeback until you do the duty nearest, and have learned not to make a fetish of your rare moments.
There is an ultimate dependence upon the works of God, trusting in Him entirely. That is how the mountain-top experience is translated into everyday life, a perpetual yielding to the presence of God in the days of calm. While we certainly cannot live in a heightened state of exhilaration, we can delight in the instruction of God and yield ourselves through the power of the Spirit. We can live with power, even in normal life.