Galatians 3:1-9 – Mountaintops
It is so amazing to me when I read the Bible and find examples of something you see constantly in the modern world happening in Bible times. It’s like man despite his advances has changed very little since the Fall. Paul describes a Galatian “mountaintop” experience in verse 1 when he says, “It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified.” Paul is not saying that the Galatians were observers during Christ’s crucifixion or even His resurrection. Paul is saying that through his apostolic ministry they had a true encounter with the God of the universe through the message of the Gospel. For those of you who have been in church a while or at least around it, you’ve experienced this before. For some of you it was at a youth camp, disciple now weekend, revival service, worship concert, conference or any other event of the like. We experience God in a fresh and real way. We almost feel like he is sitting right next to us. We hear Him speaking to us, we feel like He’s actually hearing us, we feel His arms enfold us in a moment of transcendent praise and truth. We make promises of being in our Word and praying more. We promise to live better lives and give up all the worthless things that distract us from Him. We find ourselves at the top of a spiritual mountain and we rejoice.
But then we have to leave. We go home and get back to our normal everyday lives. We don’t hear Him like we did at camp. We don’t feel like He is hearing us like He was at the conference. For about a week or for the strong among us a month of being in our Word like we ought to be or praying like we should. We might last a month in giving up those worthless activities that draw our attention away from God, but eventually we don’t see the point in trying to avoid them anymore. We look back at that mountain from which we have descended and wish we could return to that moment. And so we look ahead to the next event, hoping that it will bring us closer to God for a moment.
I’ve walked through this cycle. Living from one glorious event to another. I’ve watched my youth group struggle to find their footing after an amazing week at camp. I’ve watched lives, young and old alike, struggle to find God amidst the everyday struggles of life. I’ve seen grown men rejoicing in the presence of God at a special time of worship then turn and abandon their wife and children within months of that hallowing experience. I’ve seen teenagers profess life changing faith in a God who was made real to them at a camp or D-Now turn and say there is no God within weeks of that profession.
The question I was left with was “Why?” Why did I walk through those things? Why does God play yo-yo with us and our emotions? Why does He seem so near and then so quickly seem so far? As I’ve grown I’ve learned the folly of these questions. It is not God who changes. We change. Last week we talked about being crucified with Christ. If we are crucified with Him, we realize that He remains the same. He is always near, always speaking, always hearing, always moving. We are the ones who lose faith. We are the ones who rebel and chase the wind. We are the ones who search our momentary pleasures so that we don’t have to feel the sting of denying ourselves. And in the pursuit of worldly pleasures, we push ourselves away from His side, we run from the sound of His voice, we speak to a God that we have created in our own minds because we do not truly know Him, we move away from where He is leading because it makes us uncomfortable. May God forgive us for how we use the things meant for His glory in order to appease our guilt. May we no longer struggle “in vain (v. 4)” searching for the next event so that we may hold fast to our own selfishness. Instead let us hold fast to God and to His Word so that everyday may be an amazing experience with Him. I love y’all more than you know. Grace and peace,