My friend "Toknowhim" commented on the "Worship - part 2" post, to explain about the mountain top analogy the Lord gave me awhile ago. It is difficult for me to post JUST this analogy without giving the details of how I got to that point, but I will try. : ) Several years ago, when I really began my intimate journey with the Lord, He began to reveal himself to me in a way that overwhelmed me - in a good way. In the past I was very critical and had very high expectations, not only for others, but myself as well. I thought it was good to have those expectations. I felt I had discernment and could see clear into certain situations. The very first scripture that I can remember the Lord waking me up to (back in 1999) was Romans 12:2 "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Now back in my legalistic state, I obsessed over HOW I was conforming. If God could just reveal it to me, I would change. Well, it wasn't that easy. He began to take me on a journey that truly renewed the way I think. A journey that revealed the sin in my heart that resulted in sin, as opposed to just working on the sin. You see, if I just stopped the sin on the outside, my heart would not have changed. (Oh I am SO tempted to go off that topic and explain that - my journals have years of stuff on that alone). OK, back on track - so one of the first bible verses that I read that literally jumped off the page to me were in Romans 11. The whole chapter really, but I will highlight verse 6 "If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches." I cannot explain what happened in my heart that day - I was amazed that the Word of God came alive to me and showed me how the root is my heart and the branches are my works. See, I was so focused on my works, but I needed to be focused on my heart. OK, so now I understood this concept in my head, but it took years to transfer to my heart. I also had much opposition to face from leaders, teachers and friends who felt I was not being biblical for focusing so much on the love relationship and not on obedience. It was so fresh and new to me but I was CONFIDENT of what God showed me. SO I think because I was being opposed by others, and seeing clearly that they were not getting it either, there was a spiritual pride that came over me. I had no clue at that time of how far I needed to go, I just knew I was not in the right place.
So as time went on over the years, the Lord would of course humble me, and then reveal Himself again-in a new way. I often felt so alone on this journey because I felt like no one understood me. I actually remember one day thinking to myself, "life is pretty good right now, I feel like I have things pretty much together" Oh, I had so much to learn. Of course the process was always the same - I felt pride with every new revelation, and then the Lord continued to humble me. One day in my quiet time, I had a very specific vision so to speak of two people . I felt SO burdened and thought, "God, if you are teaching me to love others and not see their flaws, and not be critical, then why are you allowing me to see this?" His answer was so clear AND overwhelming. He revealed how He Had indeed given me a gift of discernment, but what He intended for good, I abused. What God intended was for me to pray for others and share truth in a loving way, but I used the knowledge as judgement. It took me so many years to work through this process. One big obstacle I had, was I had so much false doctrine in my head that had to be purified by the truth of God's Word. I still could not let go of the whole works salvation - I still put so much attention on performance instead of the heart.
So I had a season of my life where I felt like the Lord clearly told me that I needed to take a step back from ALL ministry and that we were going to go on a "humbling" journey. Of course at the beginning of all that I wanted God to just tell me the areas I was being prideful in, but He had to SHOW me; He had to TEACH me. Oh, it is so painful - but what a genuine love I have for Him and others.
During this whole humbling process, I began to see that the closer I grew to Christ, the further I had to go to be like Him. I thought as I was growing, I saw myself getting closer, but when God humbled me I saw how much further I had to go. He is so gracious, and I love that He is sovereign, and His ways are perfect. I can trust in that now - without so many questions.
So to the mountain top analogy. During this process, my eyes began to open and the Lord gave me a picture of myself on the top of a mountain (during those sweet times when He revealed Himself to me), but He didn't forget to remind me that that was clearly NOT the top! He now allows me to enjoy the mountain top experience, but with great humility, I know that in His sovereign time, He will show me the top. Back in March 2006, this is a part of my journal entry:
"I can't even express the freedom I feel in my heart. I feel like I've climbed a mile high mountain and endured the pain and suffering to get to the top and what a thrill it is to get there. BUT my pride has been broken TOO many times to know this is NOT the top. But God lets me feel like it is and lets me enjoy the moment and I only see below, but in due time, I will look up again, and His mighty hand will sweep across and move those clouds that were in my view and allow me to once again see that I am CLEARLY not at the top."
I am confident that during this journey I have hurt others with my pride. I wish I could personally repent to each one, if I only knew who each one was. Often times it is difficult to let go of past hurts, and I would not want to be responsible for someones broken fellowship with God because of my sin. I pray if that is the case with anyone, that the Lord will put it on their hearts to tell me. I will readily repent. There are some, that as I type, that I already know I have hurt that I need to go to.
God is so good, and worthy of the hardships we have to go through to truly bring Him glory with our purified lives. I know we will not be sanctified until heaven, but I pray I remember to keep short accounts of sin - repent each moment I sin - and bring Him glory in my journey.
Praising Jesus for His loving kindness, grace, and forgiveness........