It is so easy for us to get caught up in a wonderful, emotional experience in our walk with God. And it is just as easy for us to try to stay up there on that emotional mountain top by reliving it over and over again while we wait for the next one. But that is not how the Lord designed it and William Barclay summed it up well… “Christianity is not an emotional experience; it is a way of life.” And that is the practical side of our relationship with Jesus. God never meant for us to luxuriate in a wonderful, spiritual moment as exemplified on the Mount of Transfiguration. Remaining in that awesome moment was exactly what Peter James and John wanted:
Mark 9:5-8 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” — 6 because he did not know what to say, for they were greatly afraid. 7 And a cloud came and overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” 8 Suddenly, when they had looked around, they saw no one anymore, but only Jesus with themselves. NKJV
Look at the key elements in this verse. They wanted to remain in the moment but Jesus knew that “life” is not just “in the moment.” And when that moment was taken away (And a cloud came and overshadowed them), they were faced with the reality of the fact that Christianity is not an emotional experience; it’s a way of life.
If we try to walk through this life, attempting to live on one emotional experience after another, we are stopping half way. Our emotional experiences with Jesus, our mountain top moments, are to be translated into action. It’s not that God cannot do what needs to be done, He chooses to use us to get them done. Think about the practical side of our Christian walk. If God wants a word spoken to someone… He uses man to speak it. If He wants to get something done… He uses man to accomplish it. If He wants someone encouraged… He uses a man to lift him up. If we try to stay on top of the mountain we will be of no use to Him in advancing His Kingdom here and now. And that’s why God overshadowed Peter, James and John with a cloud. To bring them back down into the reality of life here and now.
The Christian life is not some burden we are to carry around with us, it’s a privilege to be lived up to. God gives us our mountain top experiences to fall back on when the going gets tough. It’s in those times when we struggle and need encouragement that we pause and reflect on those moments and are reminded that what God has done for us in the past He will do for us in the present.
No, we can’t live on the mountain top… but He will take us back up there when we need to be there.