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Having A Respect For The Hills

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.. Romans 5:2-5 (NKJV)

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 road trip to Colorado, Utah, Idaho, and Montana for my company, IMS, and because of the amount of stuff I had to take for the events we were attending I wasn’t able to take my road or mountain bike.  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 lack of training regimens.  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 types of challenges that parallel 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 think and pray 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 well may be something else just as challenging.  If this is happening in your life, I want to encourage you to seek God’s will and remember He is not going to protect you from something He can perfect you 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?

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Choose to look at every difficult time as a hill that our Lord has allowed to be a part of your life.  Keep pedalling no matter how steep the hill may be.

MAKE THIS YOUR PRAYER TODAY: Father, thank You for opening my eyes to see Your lessons through my daily experiences.  Thank You for protecting me, and for perfecting me through the trials I face.  Help me to remember the trials I face are but hills in Your training plan for my life. 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