“I. Am. King. Of. The. Mountain!”
It was the best feeling, standing on top of the mound that seemed unconquerable, especially when others were scrambling up the side, grabbing ahold of you and trying to use the momentum of pulling you back to push themselves up the mound even further. You knew exactly what they were doing because you did the same thing when given the chance. Getting to the top required some sacrifices, and it meant sacrificing of others as much as sacrificing some skin as you ascended.
Ascending seems critical in life. Better house, more money, job promotion. More experiences. More education. More. More. More.
But more by the world’s standards isn’t more by God’s standards.
There’s a difference between ascending and descending in life. It’s a difference between a worldly perspective and a godly perspective. Ascending by the world’s perspective isn’t usually ascending by God’s perspective. In order to ascend by God’s perspective, we have to descend by worldly perspective.
Those who try to keep their lives will lose them. But those who give up their lives will save them. (Luke 17:33)
He must become greater, and I must become less important. (John 3:30)
God’s not saying we have to literally lose everything in order to gain him (although sometimes, that’s the path we’ll take). We don’t have to physically lose our houses, bank accounts, jobs, families, and so on. We have to lose our hold on them. We need to loosen their hold on us. We have to realize that everything we have, from the tangible possessions to intangible characteristics, are not our own. When we’re willing to give it all to God, realizing anything we have is his anyway, we gain a perspective where loss is gain, death is life, poor is rich.
This counter-intuitive perspective is why Jesus said to his followers, “I tell you the truth, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Yes, I tell you that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:23-24) A rich man had asked him about eternal life, and Jesus had instructed him to obey his commands…and go and sell your possessions and give the money to the poor. If you do this, you will have treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me. (Matthew 19:21) The rich man walked away sorrowfully. The price was too high.
Is it too high for you? Which route of ascending will you choose? The one the world says is best or the one God says is best? Will you ascend to the top of the mountain to get what you think is the most recognition, resources, privilege, opportunities, etc., yet leave God at the bottom of the heap? Or will you leave the world’s values behind and ascend into God’s presence, trusting him to use your obedience and sacrifice?
Consider the choices you’re making right now. Upon what values are they founded? What are you hoping to get in response to the choices you’re making? Where will you end up if you continue the path you’re taking? Are you willing to adjust?
There’s only one King of the mountain. And it’s not you.