Growing up, I definitely inherited a good dose of that uplifting and encouraging British cynicism we all know and love – maybe a touch of British sarcasm too. When I say inherited, I mean crafted into an art form. It’s been one of the deepest traits I’ve tried to unlearn over the years, confronted with just how opposed it really is to a faith rooted in an eternal hope.
It’s around this time of the year the inner cynic would creep out. I dubiously watched countless friends adventure off up the mountain of various Christian festivals for their transfiguration experiences. Yet now that I’m a little older, waging war against my cynicism, a little more battle worn and with a few more scars – the mountaintop is something I crave and embrace; a time of retreat, rest, realignment and encounter (couldn’t think of any more R’s).
“A moment that can in an instant re-direct your life… from cynicism to hope, anxiety to peace, unbelief to faith.”
These mountaintop moments have become a potent reminder of the transformative power of an encounter with the living God. A moment that can in an instant re-direct your life away from your own selfish desires to the path he has prepared for you.
From cynicism to hope, anxiety to peace, unbelief to faith.
God longs to meet with us and come crashing into our lives, often in disruptive ways. But while transformation often takes place atop the mountain, it is in the valley in which it is sustained. It’s in the ordinary and the mundane that it becomes a beacon of hope to a lost and lonely world.
As we come down the mountain with faces glowing (and not just because the factor 15 wasn’t strong enough), here’s a few things I’ve learned over the years about sustaining transformation in the everyday…
- Faith requires an activity.
i.e. faith without deeds is dead (James 2:14-26). It’s only genuine faith when you actually step out of the boat. There is nothing quite so formative as stepping out onto the water to find your feet aren’t sinking. Whatever God has spoken to you about, wherever he is a leading you – allow it to look like something now, today. Prayer is a good place to start!
Before faith is acted upon, it’s just an idea.
When we step out, it becomes lived.
Share your ideas with friends. Let them encourage and spur you on.
Don’t let inactivity weaken your resolve.
Trust that He is with you.
You have His boldness so be strong and courageous. Seeing God move as you step out will give you the courage to do so again.
Ask yourself – how does this revelation become a step of faith today?
- The battle is not against flesh and blood.
The truth is there is an enemy who is known as the father of lies, who resents the glowing faces of those reflecting the Fathers’ glory.
Guard your minds.
Be aware of thought patterns that do not belong with the truths God has just whispered to your heart. Take them captive.
Do not be surprised if you immediately find yourself facing opposition in the exact arena in which God has just transformed your life.
Put on the new self. Take up your armour (Ephesians 6).
Stand with brothers and sisters.
Don’t allow seeds of faith to be snatched away before they’ve taken root.
Walk in the supernatural power of a transformed mind.
Ask yourself – is there anything I’m already thinking and partnering with that isn’t aligned with the truth of what God has just done in my life?
- Transformation that happens on the mountain is sustained in the valley.
It’s hard to imagine that the clarity of the mountaintop won’t impress itself on your heart in the valley, but we humans are forgetful beings.
Transformation is sustained in those who allow God to orientate the habits and patterns of their life around His word and around His presence.
Whatever transformation God has brought about in your life, develop vision for how that should shape the mundane moments of your day;
your quiet time,
your lunch break,
that cuppa with a friend.
It might not feel like the mountaintop, but it will carry the same power.
Ask yourself – yes this revelation has influenced the things I’d declare from a platform, but how has it influenced the disciplines I’m pursuing in private?
- Grace abounds.
We generally come down the mountain feeling invincible, yet one of the realities of being this side of heaven is that it’s often just a matter of time before we stumble.
What’s most important is not whether we do, but how we respond.
Too often people slumber in their stumbling, allowing guilt and shame to quickly rob them of the transformation that has just taken place.
When you stumble – know that you did nothing to earn the love of your Father in heaven, it was given freely.
You can also do nothing to sustain his love – it’s given freely.
So pick yourself up.
Brush yourself off.
Dare to believe that the grace of God is as scandalous as it truly is.
That there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ.
That it is for freedom you’ve been set free.
Don’t allow your stumbling to shape your reality.
Grace abounds, so crack on as you were.
Ask yourself – have I already allowed my stumbling to rob me of the powerful truth God has just led me into?
Thankfully the presence of God no longer exists just in temples and on mountaintops, but in the depths of our very being. Let’s pursue Him wholeheartedly with unveiled faces as he continues to transform us into his image with ever-increasing glory (2 Corinthians 3:18).