We’ve all had them: Those times in our lives that we didn’t want to leave behind. It’s those glorious moments in which we experience God in a new and profound way, in which we feel His Presence so powerfully, and we are simply left amazed. Some call it a spiritual high, or if it happens while at camp, a camp high. Others call it an encounter. I like to call it a mountaintop experience. Whatever term you want to call it, I’m certain that you know what I’m talking about. In our spiritual lives, those experiences were the times when we were the most passionate for God and when we felt the closest to God.
I can remember one of my prominent mountaintop experiences. It occurred when I was leaving the eighth grade and going into ninth grade. Through a variety of circumstances, including teachers, parents, and ministers that I had been listening to, my faith was ignited with a new passion. Prior to that time, reading the Bible and praying was rather difficult. It was more of a chore than an enjoyment for me. Yet, as God began to get hold of my heart and revolutionize my thinking, I began to view my personal time with Him in a whole different way. I can still remember the joy I found in God’s Word in that season. Rather than just gritting and bearing it, I actually looked forward to my quiet time with God every day. It was often the best part of my day. I could not get enough of His Word. I just kept reading it and digging into spiritual truths.
I continued to climb the mountain in this spiritual high experience until I reached the peak, which came at my freshman year high school retreat at Heartland Christian School in September. In the worship service at that retreat, I experienced God speaking both to me and through me in ways that I had never experienced before that point. It was simply an incredible experience. Yet, I was not prepared for what was about to follow that moment. The next two or three months following that retreat were some of the most difficult months of my spiritual walk. The joy of reading God’s Word began to wear off, I found prayer time more difficult, and I began to live in the past. Rather than looking forward to what God was calling me to do next, I kept looking back to the amazing mountaintop experience I had, wishing I could go back. It was not until January that I began to allow God to pull me out of that lull in order to do what He had set before me to do. I wish that I would have understood that mission from the start, rather than waiting through three months by living in the past.
What went wrong? Well, I made one of the classic mistakes that occur with mountaintop experiences. I tried to live on top that mountain even when it was clear that I was no longer on the mountain. So often, we try to live in the spiritual encounters of yesterday, rather than focusing on the experiences God has before us today.
The more I learn about mountaintop experiences, the more I am convinced that God desires us to experience Him in new ways every day. I can’t live in yesterday’s experience, and I can’t try to get by until tomorrow’s mountaintop. But I can live in the mountaintop experience God has for me today. In essence, as God’s children, I believe God desires that we ascend on a daily basis, having daily encounters with Him. It is like manna, or “daily bread.” He gives us enough we need for each day.
How do we ascend and have mountaintop experiences on a daily basis? It all comes back to our prayer lives and the level of abandonment we have as we give ourselves to God. It comes back to the Psalm 24 lifestyle that God has called us to live. As we live this way, relying upon His strength, we will not have to live in the past or the future. Rather, we can say to God, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11). Your daily mountaintop experience will flow out of your daily prayer life and your daily walk with God.
…Check back next week for more applications of this week’s story!
Do you remember a time in your spiritual walk when you felt like you were on top of the world? Maybe you’re in that season right now. Maybe it’s way in the past. Whatever the case may be, ask God what you can learn from that season. But don’t rely upon what God was doing then to sustain you now. After you have seen what you can learn from that season, then proceed to ask God to show you how to ascend in the season you’re in now. God wants to encounter you on a daily basis.
You don’t need to go to a concert, camp, seminar, or conference to experience such a spiritual high. All you need to do is surrender to Him and tell Him every day, “God, I choose this day to cleanse my hands, purify my heart, live truthfully, and serve You only. I choose to do this because I desire to have an encounter with you today. I am determined to ascend Your mountain and meet with You in a deeper, more intimate way than ever before. Lord, give me this day my daily bread.”