Life at Its Best: Keep climbing
By Jim Graff
The first man to ever climb Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world, was Edmond Hillary. Hillary, along with others, had attempted several times to climb Everest, but with no success. It is said that after one of those failed attempts, he stood at the bottom of the mountain looking up and declared, "That mountain has grown all it possibly can, but I am still growing."
That kind of attitude is at the heart of every person who makes great progress in life. They recognize failure is never final for those who are willing to develop. God has put potential in every one of us that He wants to help develop through the different seasons of life. He doesn't want the discouragement of failed attempts to cause us give up, quit trying and not see the success He has in mind.
We can see how God established certain times in Israel's history to remind them of His ability in the people's lives. These festivals were to help them reflect upon what it was that brought stability and success to them. One of those sacred feasts was called the Feast of Tabernacle.
During this time, every family would build a booth or a temporary dwelling and live in it for seven days. This was a reminder of God's guidance and protection in leading His people out of Egypt's bondage and into a better life. It showed them how God faithfully led them in stages to a place of blessing and inheritance as His people.
In each of the feasts God established, the people also were required to deny themselves of something, whether it was certain foods, living arrangements or their work. This was to show that there was a sacrifice involved in following God and His plan for their life.
Jesus tells us in Mark, Chapter 8, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it."
I know as a young believer that scripture would challenge me. I had a heart to know God, but I had my own vision for my life. I already had a plan for my career and future. But I knew if I was going to be a fully devoted follower, I would have to deny myself what I wanted and choose what He wanted instead.
I've found that there have been many opportunities in my Christian life to choose His way over mine. I've also found that with each choice, there is a God ready to help me grow and develop through each season.
Let me encourage you, no matter how many times you've fallen or failed, you can always get back up. You can trust that, as you follow God, He will take you to a place of contentment and fulfillment in life.
Jim Graff is the Senior Pastor of Faith Family Church in Victoria, Texas. www.faithfamilyvictoria.com.