July 16, 2010
As we’ve arrived at our last day of camp, the question that always rises was the topic of discussion this morning in worship. What now?
Camp is a mountaintop experience just like any other. The whole week is a journey of breaking down the hardened places in our lives and reminding us what we live for, Who we live for. Everyone, including myself, anticipates the final night’s worship as we peak out at the top of our spiritual high. We’ve been being broken down and built up all week and tonight is the pinnacle of the week’s growth. Going up this mountain isn’t the problem. You pack up and leave home to spend a week surrounded only by other Christians. You’re encouraged all day e’er day by your leaders and your peers. You have time allotted for quiet times every morning. You spend hours every day being led by amazing worship leaders. You are fed two well written sermons designed specifically for your age group and the challenges that come with it. All the while you are cut off to a degree from the negative influences and temptations that plague you in your hometown and are surrounded instead by the ocean and girls in one-piece bathing suits and Christian t-shirts. It’s impossible not to climb a spiritual mountain to some degree.
The problem, then, is coming back down. As one of Newton’s laws says (I would tell you which, but I think my mind was elsewhere the day(s) my physics teacher went over that), what goes up must come down. Tonight after the final worship service, kids of all ages are going to walk out of that conference center ready to change their lives and change the world around them. And this time, nothing is going to stop them…until they go back to school and hang out with their friends who didn’t go to camp who are the exact same as they were last year and expect the same from them. The world is going to change you faster than you can change it.
Quick fixes are not long-term fixes. There is countless evidence of this. The quicker you lose weight the quicker and easier you will gain it back. The best, or most permanent, way to lose weight is to change your eating habits and lose the weight gradually and naturally, over time. Crash diets will definitely get you ready for the dance, but unless you plan to maintain that crash diet, you won’t maintain that size 2 much longer after prom night.
Unless you plan to remain in the camp atmosphere for the rest of your life, you won’t remain on the spiritual mountaintop much longer after leaving your church parking lot. And just like you shouldn’t maintain that crash diet, you shouldn’t remain in the camp atmosphere. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, yes, but we are called to shine in the darkness. Remaining in the light would make an easy life for us, but would be a pretty useless life for God.
So here lies the tension. We can’t live on the mountain, and yet the bottom is going to drop out from beneath us in 3..2..
Hang on just a second. Hasn’t Louie been telling us all week that we can do anything we set our minds to when Christ is living through us? Hasn’t he been encouraging us to wake up and live for God? Did he not say last night that the goal is to go out and be blameless and pure, shining like stars in the darkness of this crooked generation?
That is the goal. But like any good weight loss plan, we have to work our way there in steps. The goal for now is to GET READY to shine. The goal for now is to make a plan of how to shine. We can’t depend on the spiritual high that makes us so confident now to keep us flying without building a foundation. So how do we get ready?
“So then just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him in the same way, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught and overflowing with thankfulness.” -Colossians 2:6-7
How do we receive Christ? By grace, through faith. How do we continue to live in Him? By grace, through faith. Rooted and built up in Him. We make a plan to root ourselves in Scripture and prayer and accountability so that we can stay built up in Him even when we’re not being spoon fed every second of every day. It will take work. It will take sacrifice. It will not be easy like it is now.
But it will be real. And it will keep us fighting for Christ after this week is long gone.