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How to Avoid High Places if You’re Looking for God

We Need One Thing More Than Anything In Our Spiritual Climb.

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You started strong. Determination and strength came easily. You reach a summit in your day (or Christian life)—only to find life in high places has let you down.

Mount Tabor

(Photo: Mount Tabor. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

We followed the rules. We stayed in line. We walked the straight and narrow. So what happened?

The path we followed led to a false summit. A huge distraction. 

It happens when we forget this one thing.

The Distractions of High Places

In the Old Testament, hilltops often served as “high places” in Canaanite worship. The thought was, the higher you were, the closer you were to your god. In spite of God’s warnings, even His people succumbed to this secular custom.

Now Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of his father David, except he sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. —1 Kings 3:3

After Solomon, during the time of the divided kingdom, the Prophet Hosea directed a message to the northern priests, people, and king. The leaders had lured the people into the trap of idolatrous false worship—and one of these sites was on Mount Tabor (Hosea 5:1). Other high places included the Hill of Offense, the High Place at Gibeon, and Arad.

What was wrong with the high places? God wanted His people to worship Him in one way and at one place that He selected (Deut. 12:2-5).

We Still Find High Places Distracting

Although our worship of God is no longer limited to the Temple Mount, we still can fall prey to the temptation to climb the high places—to follow the true God by climbing the wrong hill.

Christians never outgrow the basics. We never climb past them like rungs on a ladder. We either build on them or we leave them. How?

  • This often occurs when we content ourselves with maintaining a level of godliness that makes cultural Christianity our standard.
  • In other words, compared to most Christians, like Jim or Susan or Pastor Ted, our spiritual life meets the standard. We seem in great shape.

The pattern for the Christian life has never been other Christians—it is Christ. How easily we can forget that.

Silwan, the Hill of Offense

(Photo: Silwan, the Hill of Offense beside Jerusalem. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

3 Questions to Help Our Climb

Getting back on the right climb could begin by answering 3 questions:

  1. Do I strive to become like Christ or like my Christian culture?
  2. Do I give my all to Him—or do I just give what’s necessary to keep up appearances?
  3. Do my Bible reading, prayer, and other disciplines serve to draw me to Him—or are they to sooth my conscience that I’m spiritual?

It takes guts to answer those questions honestly. It takes even more courage to change.

Walking with God Requires This One Thing Most of All

We can follow the true God but climb the wrong hill. Godly behavior and orthodox doctrinal statements are important, but that’s not the hub of the spiritual life. Jesus Christ wants our affections—He wants to be our first love (Revelation 2:1-5).

Loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength is still the greatest commandment.

Because it is the most essential.

 

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