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A Respect For The Hills

Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:2-5 (NLT)

I live in the foothills of Southern California, snuggled up in a valley at the base of Big Bear.  It is here that I make my home, and it is in the surrounding foothills that I ride my bicycles.  I recently went on a vacation and I traded in the challenging hills for the coastal flatlands, and the flat bike trails of the Boise Idaho River.  When I returned home I took an additional week off of the bike. 

So last week I got up and decided my vacation from riding the hills was over, so I suited up, filled up my water bottles and returned to my familiar course within the hills.  It didn’t take long to realize something had changed—something wasn’t right, and I didn’t like it.  I was feeling the effects of taking time away from the challenging hills and my body was already eager to become acclimated to the new, easier training regiments.  As I made my way through the hills I couldn’t believe how much weaker I had become in such a short period of time. 

As I thought about it, I couldn’t help but think of how this same thing happens when we go through the ups and downs of life’s challenges.  When we find ourselves in the midst of trials we are actually being conditioned physically, and spiritually.  Each trial can be like the mountainous hills as they can vary in size—the effort to make it over these “hills” will vary as well.   But with each passing hill our strength and endurance seem to become greater and we become better equipped to meet the next challenge. 

Now I don’t think many of us truly look forward to facing challenges, and if given the choice we would choose the flat serene bike path next to the cascading river.  But God knows the type of training we need to be equipped to make it to the end of our race, and to receive our crown.  Therefore shouldn’t He really be the one who decides the terrain we will be given to train in?

Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12 (NKJV)

I am going to have a better attitude when I go out on my next ride, and I am going to have a greater respect for the hills than I did before.  I realize there is a work being done, and it couldn’t possibly be done without pushing through the difficult times, and for this I am grateful.

I want to encourage you to meditate upon these things.  We have been given a great opportunity to be able to be transformed by the very things we find so easy to turn away from.  It may not be a challenging hill on a bicycle, but it very may well be something else just as challenging.  Let’s seek God’s will and remember He is not going to protect us from something He can perfect us through.

STUDY QUESTION: According to the Scriptures contained within this devotional, what can we learn about the tough times we will face in our life?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Are you willing to allow God to perfect you through the hills in life?

APPLICATION: Let’s choose to look at every difficult time as a hill that our Lord has allowed to be a part of our life.  Let’s keep peddling no matter how steep the hill may be.

LET’S PRAY: Father, thank You for opening my eyes to see Your lessons through my daily experiences.  Thank You for protecting us, and for perfecting us through the trials we face.  Help us to remember the trials we face are but hills in Your training plan for our lives. In Jesus' precious name, amen...

Be Blessed, Pastor Scott







Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000