///// An IronMen Moment /////
(Designed to be passed along to men and young men in your life.)
These are my two sons at about 13,000 feet above sea level, ascending the side of Mt. Shasta in Northern California. This was a father-son climb in 2017. We had trained for a few months prior to this August event. And then climbed it on the anniversary of the mountain's first-recorded ascent.
Mountain climbing is a wonderful comparison for our trek through this life. Particularly the faith-walk with God, the discipleship trek as we follow Christ.
Centuries ago John Bunyan wrote a fiction novel, an allegory, called *Pilgrim's Progress*. The full title was, *The Pilgrim's Progress from This World, to That Which Is to Come* (published in 1678). He described the Christian walk as a long, laborious, discouraging trek to an ultimate destination of great value.
That was 344 years ago, which seems like a long time... but isn't it amazing how the specific challenges of life's journey haven't changed all that much. Today, we still face discouragement during our travels toward His kingdom. We still deal with distracting temptations while we labor to follow. We still learn and re-learn forgiveness along the slow climb to the peak -- and face a dozen other obstacles.
I know that many times, for me, life in Christ has felt like a climb up an insurmountable peak. Just too high for me to draw oxygen. Too high for my fatigued legs to stay with it. Too complex to traverse vast crevasses on its glaciers. Just... too much.
There have been times when completing it successfully seemed out of my league. Beyond my ability. And I've felt discouraged to continue.
Have you ever faced that sort of "climbing" difficulty? Climbers fatigue?
There is a special promise in the New Testament that is SO encouraging. It is just the fuel to get us back on our feet, and lighten our hearts.
It's found in Philippians chapter one. Paul writes,
"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." (1:6, niv)
It means that God -- who saved you and began the work of sanctification (to make you more mature, set-apart for service, and holy) -- is committed to COMPLETING that original goal. When He sets off to save a person, He does not save them partially, but completely. Our practical, everyday progress of sanctification -- a work of God in us -- is being faithfully worked out until the day we meet Him in Heaven.
Mt. Shasta is 14,162 feet high, a peak that is on-par with Mt. Whitney and Mt. Rainier. It takes many, many hours to reach the peak. In some cases, it takes days. It's a formidable task. Most of the climbers who attempt these mountains do not reach the peak.
This promise of God's completion is like Him telling you, "The life-peak you are climbing: I will ensure that you make it to the top. For the top is our destination. And I don't leave incomplete anything that I begin."
He literally said something like this is the book of Isaiah:
"I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me...
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose'...
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it." (46:9-11, niv)
He is utterly reliable to keep His word and complete what He started. THAT is energizing.
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