For The Encouragement of The Body of Christ
The Great Ascent
We, The Ekklesia, are embarking on one of the greatest adventures in God that has ever been attempted in human history.
“To go where no man has gone before,” is not a term I use lightly. The Plan and Work of God has been a progression throughout time.
“Progression” is defined by Online Etymology as: “progression (n.) Late 14c., “action of moving from one condition to another,” from Old French progression and directly from Latin progressionem (nominative progressio) “a going forward, advancement, growth, increase,” noun of action from past participle stem of progredi “go forward,” from pro “forward” (see pro-) + gradi “to step, walk,” from gradus “a step” (from PIE root *ghredh- “to walk, go”).”
The steps of many Ekklesia before us throughout the Ages, have brought The Body to the place in Him we are finding ourselves.
We have, as it were, been handed The Divine Baton and Torch, to press ahead INTO His Divine Will.
His Plan has and is The Ascent up The Mountain of God, His Dwelling, and to eternal life In Him.
“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart,” Hebrews 12:1-3.
“And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect,” Hebrews 11:38-39 emphasis added.
We, The Ekklesia are finding ourselves, after all the climbing and traversing done by our brethren in the past, coming to where they left off.
Our Base Camp, lies at the base of the steepest portion of The Ascent. Below are some of my “Power Points”, to consider, for a successful ascent.
I’m sure you can think of others. I believe the “types” from these points are easy enough to see. If not, I will answer any questions.
Counting the Cost:
The great climbing expeditions are very costly. Traveling, equipment, etc. cost many thousands of dollars. It is not a minor undertaking. Doing it on “the cheap” will only spell “failure.”
“For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?” Luke 14:28.
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever,” Psalm 23.
Here we are acclimatizing for the higher, thinner altitude above.
This is critical for successively gaining the top of The Mountain. Our breathing, life in The Holy Spirit, has to be adapted for the greater heights.
Without proper oxygen, we will perish. We would black out and either fall off the Mountain or drop in our tracks to be frozen to death.
Base Camp is also a Place of Refuge in case the Climb becomes unattainable. It is the place of Rest and Refortification in Hopes of attempting The Summit, successfully, another day.
“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you,” Romans 8:11.
The Climbing Team:
“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love,” Ephesians 4:11-16.
The Great Summits are gained through the efforts of a climbing team, not by individuals. They are “roped together” to help if one of the team were to fall and start sliding down the mountain.
The Team depends on each of the members, from the most experienced climber to the least experienced.
Each Team Member has a vision of summiting The Peak. A leader is chosen to oversee the team and see that the vision is accomplished.
It is from the leader the rest of the team receives Initial guidance. The leader also knows the limitations of each member of his climbing team.
This is important to know as to where each member fits in the line of ascent and when to go and when to stop during the ascent.
Most Leaders, during the actual climb, will “submit” to their Sherpa Guides, who know the terrain better than any other people from outside their domain.
They also go ahead of the climbers to prepare the path of ascent and make camp and provision for the rest of the following climbing team.
They are as Pioneers of The Spirit, breaking trail for the remainder of the team. Their function is to get the other members of the team to the summit.
The Sherpas are, truly, the unsung heroes of most high altitude climbs. These are men who are unknown and of low estate. “Sherpa” literally means “dweller in the Eastern Country”.
Many Sherpas have lost their lives while performing their tasks.
“For the body is not one member, but many,” 1 Corinthians 12:14.
The Map / Vision:
“Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained,” Proverbs 29:18.
Without the Map / Vision and the Sherpas, the climb would be foolish and end up in disaster.
Because of the treachery of the terrain, crevasses, potential avalanche areas, etc. The accurate and true map of the specific mountain, is absolutely necessary.
Having a compass and/ or GPS (God’s Positioning System — “When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice,” John 10:4) is also critical when line-of-sight is clouded and obscure.
“But put on The LORD Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts,” Romans 13:14.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints,” Ephesians 6:10-18.
There are many pieces of equipment used in climbing very tall mountains, so I’ll just list a few.
Base Camp Equipment:
Proper tents, sleeping bags, and food, are all necessary in order to maintain the health and strength necessary for the arduous Ascent.
You do not climb great mountains in oxfords, flip flops, or Nike basketball shoes. The climber must be properly shod.
Again, no shorts and tank tops. Climbers must wear clothing to protect their flesh from the outside influences and elements.
Good strong rope. The climbers have to rely on being secured to one another and The Rope not breaking.
Carabineers are what the ropes are attached too. These securing devices must also hold together when great stress is put upon them.
Ice Axes are used for climbing slippery ice walls and also for braking and arresting yourself if you slip and slid down the snow and ice covered mountainside.
Supplemental Oxygen is very prudent when ascending altitudes where the air content is thinner than at the lower altitudes. Breathing becomes almost impossible.
Ascending the realms of the upper/ super-natural is dangerous to those of the natural.
Without proper oxygen, the brain cannot function normally. People can hallucinate and think all is well, when, in reality, they are close to Death.
Death comes first by great lethargy, and then eventually falling asleep. This sleep ends in death.
Only a very few can achieve the highest peaks without supplemental oxygen. They are few and far between.
They are mostly the Sherpas who actually live their daily lives in the higher altitudes of the eastern country and know the terrain better than those from the lower elevations.
“But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner,” 1 Corinthians 14:40.
Staying in file:
No one is trying to outpace or outdo their other teammates. They are proud to be a part of the team and content in their assigned place.
As noted before.
This is not an exercise to see who can make the Summit the fastest or first. This is a Team Effort, each one encouraging and helping the other to Summit.
The Small Steps actually help to conserve oxygen intake and also limit exertion and stress on the Body, in order to gain The Peak.
“I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift,” Ecclesiastes 9:11.
Utilizing this procedure, and the former points, should guarantee a successful climb and summit.
“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.
Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.
For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, The LORD Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself,” Philippians 3:12-21 emphasis added.
The Excellency of Brotherly Unity
A Song of Ascents, of David.
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious oil upon the head, coming down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard, coming down upon the edge of his robes.
It is like the dew of Hermon doming down upon the mountains of Zion; for there The LORD commanded the blessing — life forever,” Psalm 133.
~ Doug MacCallum