Bible Reading: Mark 9:2-13
This is my beloved Son. Listen to him. Mark 9:7
The knot in Jacki’s stomach tied tighter and tighter during the long ride back from her youth group’s winter retreat. “I want to stay up there,” she moaned. “It’s so easy to be a Christian. The teaching is great. Everyone tries to get along. And there are none of the hassles of living at home. Jesus is so real up there.”
After a week of fun where Bible study, quiet times, and Christian friendships happen so easily, who would ever want to go back home to the tests, trials, and temptations of real life? It’s so much easier to live on the mountaintop.
In Mark 9, Peter, James, and John got a taste of the “church-camp high” in a big way. As the Master’s three disciples stared in amazement, Jesus’ appearance changed drastically. Then Elijah and Moses showed up. Peter, a guy who never lacked something to say, stepped forward and awkwardly suggested they build three shrines to commemorate the glorious event. Then God spoke from the clouds, and the mountaintop experience stopped.
Isn’t that the way it is when you get away with your Christian friends? Great music, a God-charged atmosphere—Christianity couldn’t be easier. Everything is rosy and bright. But then, thud! Monday morning. Your alarm nags you out of bed, the clothes you want to wear are still dirty from camp, and your mom serves you oatmeal. The thrill is gone! Camp is over! Life with all its disgusting realities and conflicts is back.
It’s a brutal fact of life that the only people who get to stay on the mountaintop are camp staff. For everyone else, it’s back to the here-and-now.
But wait a minute! Take a look back at the mountain in Mark 9:9. There are four figures winding their way back to the valley from that peak experience. Peter, James, John—and Jesus! That’s the truth you might forget when you slide down from camp, Bible study, or any other spiritual rush. Jesus isn’t chained to a mountaintop lodge, chapel, or sanctuary. He journeys with you into everyday life to help you with nagging alarms, grungy clothes, and gloppy oatmeal.
The disciples were no doubt glad to climb to a mountaintop and glimpse a gloriously glowing Jesus. Those rare experiences can help charge your spiritual batteries and even permanently change you. But everyday life is lived in the trenches, not on the mountaintop. And if you just look around, that’s where you find Jesus—hanging out in valleys, helping you live out the mountaintop glow.
REFLECT: What can you and your Christian friends do to make everyday life at home a little more like heaven?
PRAY: Tell Jesus thanks for being with you at home-and invite him to hang out with you in your valleys.
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