Philippians 3:14, "I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us."
Yesterday, Robert and I set out to hike to the Tehachapi Peak. On our hike, God kept giving me many ideas for devotionals based on how I felt walking up that mountain.
Have you ever went hiking?
While driving to Mountain Park, I was telling Robert (my brother) how I was determined to make it to the top of the mountain. I had only reached the peak once before, and I remember saying how I'd never do it again. The first time I hiked it, we took a different path than the original trail, and it was a very difficult, tiring hike. While still in my car, imagining making it to the top of the mountain sounded like a wonderful idea.
Then we started up the mountain.
At first the trail didn't seem too rough. We had just started, and I could still breathe. Although it was an uphill climb, the path wasn't severely steep.
Then we hiked a little further.
We came to a hill that was a little steeper than I was comfortable with, and at this point, I had to make sure I had a sure footing for my feet. For a moment, I began crawling on my knees, but shortly after this, I was up and walking once more.
As the path went on, I began taking smaller steps. Shade spots were my friend. It was good motivation to look at the next shade spot and determine to make it to that point. Once there, I could rest for a moment.
Little by little, we climbed. Eventually, we made it very close to the peak. Unfortunately, we were deterred by a private property sign. Apparently it's always been there, but I didn't realize that.
What God really showed me during this hike was what it really means to persevere. Philippians 3:14 says, "I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us."
I hadn't really understood so clearly what it meant to persevere until this hike.
In order to persevere, you must be in a position that isn't cushy. While sitting in that car driving to Mountain Park, I didn't have to persevere. I had the air conditioner on, the radio playing, and I was sitting in my comfortable driver seat all the way to the top.
However, when the hike began, the real work began with it.
When our lives are going smoothly, it's easy to quote Philippians 3:14. Once things begin getting difficult, though, we have to start living it.
There were moments on that hike that my legs began to get sore. Robert started getting blisters on his feet. We sometimes had difficulty breathing. At times, we felt we weren't making a lot of progress. Taking slow, tiny steps doesn't seem like much. Eventually, though, each tiny step got us one step closer to the peak.
In our walk with God, there will be moments where we'll get to sit in the comfortable, air-conditioned car. During those times, it's easy for us to say we're going to go all the way through with Christ. Once things begin to get difficult, though, will we be determined to keep pressing on? Will we continue on our journey with God knowing that the difficult journey will be worth it in the end?
There may be times you feel you won't make it. You may feel you're getting nowhere. But, if you will keep putting one foot in front of the other, you will eventually make it to the top.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Yesterday's hike was something You used to show me what it means to press on. You showed me what it really means to persevere. My prayer is that You'll help me persevere in my walk with You always. Whether I'm sitting in the air conditioned car or climbing up steep mountains, help me keep putting one foot in front of the other and never giving up. In Jesus' Name.