Wednesday, May 11, 2011
“whoso…climbeth up by me shall never fall” (Moses 7:53)
This is a very simple idea, but it also has embedded in it some important principles which are taught using the image of climbing to a higher place.
A climber has to grab something to pull on and push off of it to make any progress. They have to be supported by something. In the above line, Enoch learns that in life, Jesus is that support. A climber has to believe that what they hold on to will not move and will fully support their weight. Likewise, we must believe that Jesus can fully support the weight of our sins and sorrows. We must believe that His grace is all-sufficient.
The other thing we learn is that even though Jesus is our support, we make no progress without climbing. Our total effort and commitment is required.
One final thing I learn from this line is how necessary it is to make sure we are climbing by Christ and not by something else. I’ve done some climbing of rocks and (small) cliffs and learned that sometimes what I thought was a secure handhold loosens. (I learned to test my hold before putting my full weight on it.) If we try to climb up by anything besides Christ, those supports will ultimately fail and we will fall.
I'll give you a recent, rather painful example of how real this principle has become for me. For the last year I have been trying to become a seminary teacher. That’s what I wanted to do. Last week I was told that I had not been chosen to become one, and there was no opportunity to try again. I thought a position as seminary teacher would be perfect for me. I could think of so many ways that I had been prepared for something like that. Now I have no idea what to do instead. I’ve been praying for help to know what I should do. I’ve also begun to encounter subtle temptations from Satan; he tries to get me to think that because I’ve been refused, none of that gospel stuff and scripture stuff really matters any more, since I won’t have a job teaching it. Blatantly false, I know, but I still have to resist it. And the non-acceptance into seminary teacher-land has thrown me for a loop to the point that I’ve felt spiritually like I’m falling.
So this is why the above line from the scriptures has struck me as so precious. I’ve thought, If I feel like I’m falling, then perhaps I was not climbing up by Christ and was climbing up by seminary teacher-ness. Somehow, imperceptibly, I got off the real support onto something that could fail me and drop me. I’m trying to learn the difference between a temporal support (job) with spiritual elements and a true spiritual support.
In no way do I fault those instrumental in my rejection as a candidate. I’m not a perfect teacher and I know some of my faults; other candidates were better than I at connecting with teens.
For now and always, I have to climb up by Christ; any other way will drop me.
Will you tell me about a time when you had to learn this through difficult experience?
Image: Watchmojo, http://www.watchmojo.com/blog/health/tag/rock%20climbing/