Last week, our students had a wonderful week at Centrifuge at North Greenville University and several had significant experiences with God in the process.
In church circles, we often call those “Mountain-Top Experiences” because they emulate Moses’s experience with God on Mt. Sinai when he received the 10 commandments (twice).
What often happens, though, happened to Moses as well…
The shine on our faces fades as we come down from those mountain top experiences.
I’ve lived it.
I hate it.
It’s like experiencing something both supernatural and surreal and having it slowly sucked out of you as normal daily routines fall back into place. It happens to everyone…
But does it have to?
The simple answer is a sad and sobering “yes”…it does.
We can not maintain the best experiences of our lives every single day.
There are ups and there are downs, but they don’t have to be as severe as they often are.
You see, because of Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit, you can often experience the mountain, even if there are days in the valley.
SO HOW DO YOU DO THAT?
I think it’s helpful to discover why mountain-top experiences happen in the first place!
Throughout my life, I’ve noticed patterns in my own experiences with God. Many of my “mountain-top” experiences came about because the following things were happening:
1. Time was set aside.
Last week, our time was set aside, apart from our regular schedules to get away with God. I can not overemphasize how important this part is. Life happens every minute of every day, and every one of those minutes is a temptation to neglect time with God. When we set time aside, we invite God to meet us…on the mountain.
2. Expectations were high.
I firmly believe that few of us actually have expectations of God showing up and doing something special in our lives. Often, we can miss what God is doing just because we fail to believe He wants to do anything.
3. Regular heart-felt worship.
One thing that most student camps excel in is worship. Their music is incredible, worship leaders were mindful of God’s Spirit moving among us, and THEY WERE FREQUENT…twice a day for 5 days to be exact. Regular heartfelt worship is one of the most under-experienced opportunities for most people who are trying to walk with Christ. Mountain-Top experiences ALWAYS involve worship and it sets our hearts on fire for the object of our worship to meet us and change us.
4. Regular time in God’s Word.
As with worship, regular exposure to God’s Word is crucial for life changing experiences with Him. It reminds us of who He is and His great love for us. It also reminds us of His promises and how He has worked throughout history giving us confidence that He is still at work today. Perhaps the greatest gift that regular time in God’s Word gives us, though, is a better understanding of how to walk with Him – which is the greatest Mountain-Top experience you can have!
5. We were surrounded with others looking for the same thing.
Ok, Ok. Maybe every student at Centrifuge wasn’t looking for a deeper relationship with God. Some just wanted to have fun and others may have been hoping for a short term boyfriend/girlfriend. However, most of the people that we were surrounded with were experiencing the same things we were and were focused on Jesus, too. After all, where 2 or three are gathered in His name…Jesus is there, too.
Let me encourage you that there were likely other reasons some had good experiences, but I believe these are key to maintaining them on a regular basis. We can’t live at Youth Camp forever, but we can walk with God, forever. So how do you stay on the mountain? That answer is not a simple one but we can continue the things that we did on a different scale.
1. Set time aside each day to spend with God. When you are focused on Him, you will see Him more throughout every day.
2. Expect God to work in your life. Don’t just hope for it…expect it. He is faithful to complete what He begins.
3. Worship regularly…and not just in church. The greatest misconception in worship is that it has to be in a church with a worship leader. Jesus secured your ability to worship right where you are. Spend time every day worshipping Him.
4. Read your Bible every day. Every. Day. Did you get that? Every. Single. Day. It will open up a world that you didn’t even know existed.
5. Surround yourself with others who are seeking the same thing you are. I don’t mean ignore people who are not “on fire” Christians, but let your inner circle that you spend the most time with be those who are seeking Jesus and lead you to do the same. (More on this later)
As you begin to experience God daily, you will find that your are living on top of the mountain much more than you though possible.
And that is a pretty awesome life.