Psalms 24 has always been one of my very favorite Psalms. I can’t remember the moment when it became so important to me, but early in my walk with Jesus this consistent call to holiness, to come higher and higher has been at the forefront of my pursuit.
Have there been seasons where I found myself content with the valley? Sure. Have their been times when I felt weary of climbing? Absolutely.
But, by God’s grace, renewing my mind to always know ‘there’s more’ and letting the Holy Spirit continually teach me to find my rest in God even as I climb has kept the course mostly up and to the right.
Why? Because I’ve come to realize that I was made for the mountain of God. He WANTS to be found. He WANTS to be pursued, and chased, and sought after. It just takes us making up our minds that we are willing to do what it takes to walk in ‘the more of the Lord.’
See, some of you will read this and think ‘Man, I’ve got to be holier. I’ve got to be better. I’ve got to strive to climb better. I’ve got to [insert more about how you’re falling short here].’ All the while God is saying ‘because of my son’s sacrifice you are holy. You are better. You are made for the climb.’
Jesus became sin so that we might be God’s righteousness (2 Cor 5:21). And when you quit trying to live out of your own holiness, your own righteousness, and learn to find your strength in the righteousness afforded to you by Jesus sacrifice you will find a rhythm of grace that makes the climb not just bearable but enjoyable.
If you listen to sound bytes where I speak about holiness, it can sound in those minutes like it’s all about what we do and not what God has done. So…which one is it about? The answer is both. You see, when you are living in the reality that you are seated with Christ in heavenly places, that you are holy as He is holy, that you are blameless before him, and that He loves you furiously it will cause something to rise in you where personal holiness becomes your pursuit not as a means to deserve His love but as a response to already having it!
Can I nerd out theologically for a sec? In theology there are two types of holiness dealt with when it comes to our salvation and our journey forward. One is called ‘positional holiness.’ This is the holiness God views us with because of Jesus. The other is ‘actual holiness.’ This is how holy you really are…which, let’s be honest, isn’t very. In fact, the Bible tells us our righteousness, each of us, is as of filthy rags on our own. Hopelessly bleak without Jesus, but overwhelmingly encouraging with Him.
You were made for the mountain. Not because you have all your crap together and your ‘actual’ holiness is the same as your ‘positional’ holiness. You are made for the mountain when your heart towards your actual holiness is a response to the positional holiness you already have. Holiness is not a list of ‘do’s & dont’s.’ It’s a life of love lived before a God that has already declared his love for me. There’s only one appropriate response to a love like this. Ascend knowing I’m holy and pure. Ascend by letting my positional holiness guide my actual holiness, not as a drive to get better, but as a pursuit of the loving God. Ascend by letting this reality be THE force in shaping and conforming me into the image of Christ.
In one video I say ‘God’s come down as far as He is going to. It’s time for us to Ascend.’ Not everything in the Kingdom is easy. Most things require discipline. Everything requires love and perspective. But relationship, real relationship with God, can be as effortless as breathing. The first time I had the vision described in the video I made it all about effort and becoming a better climber. I made it about striving! Now I look at going higher in the Lord the same way I look at playing tag with my 2 year old. We played chase in the park yesterday. 🙂
I’m chubby but I’m fairly confident I can get as far away from my little girl as I needed to. Before she even knew it I could have been in the car and headed home while she’s still at the park looking for me. But when I play tag with her she’s always able to see me, I’m always near. I could climb (very cautiously) on top of the monkey bars where she can’t reach, but when I am with here I am always accessible. I could run away really fast, to a two year old of course, but instead I play in such a way that I want to get caught and she finally gets me.
When we have a call to Ascend it’s as if God is saying ‘I’m so near. I’m not out of reach. I really want you to find me. I’m right here.’
I would say I want to challenge you to Ascend this week but I hope after reading this that it’s less of a challenge, and more of a ‘heck yes, that sounds awesome.’