The Rock, The Mountain, and Me!
What’s the biggest obstacle in your life now, right at this moment? Is your sickness, some infirmity, or your age an obstacle? What about friendships, your way of life or your marriage? Is that a problem? Is that some immovable object? What about the obstacle that stops you from getting closer to God?
All those that I have mentioned are very clearly physical objects, boulders that seem immovable, but what is strange is that if we put any effort into trying to move that object, we end up putting a groove around it. If we have been persistent, we can, if we stand back for a moment and look at our efforts, we see that all we have done is create a series of points where we have thought we can get a purchase — places where we have hoped for a moment to move the wretched problem.
The depth of our digging around the problem only shows us how long we have been working on it. Like a rotten tree, somehow the leaves continue to appear. Perhaps these are our little glimmers of hope we hold onto that might make the situations better for us. But the roots of the problem are deep and they reach back into the very depths of time. They spread out and attach themselves to the sinews of life’s decisions.
Everything is connected when we are involved. Making no headway, we may retreat from the toil and decide that things are just what they are. The sands of time come and fill the trench up again ready for another round of digging if we can bear to put ourselves through the ordeal.
As the sands build up, the obstacle doesn’t look that big after all, does it?
The physical path is littered with stones. The religious path, if indeed we are upon it, is strewn with obstacles too. We are good at building those because they make us feel part of some union. Our doctrines are preventative and schismatic. We are a people of opposites. We devise strategy and programming and season by season the renewal of them comes around, like some infuriating computer update that lurks in the background, slowing down the whole system. But unlike the update, our efforts are viral.
Our prescriptive ways seek only to make our pathfinding of the Kingdom of God complicated and impossible, as the disciples once remarked.
Before we can begin to walk on the path toward the Kingdom, we must be hungry; we must have a passion to find it. So what do we do? We set before us methodology — ways to make us seem more righteous. Our methodology only serves to lay before us rocky endless paths for tottering ankles.
We use the excuse that this rocky path is made up of stepping stones that help us and strengthen us in our walk as we pursue the road to our destiny. We may even along the way, find ourselves involved in good things, really good things. Paul speaks in 1 Corinthians 10: 23 “Everything is permissible,” but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible,” but not everything is edifying. 24 No one should seek his own good, but the good of others.”
Here lies the problem. What is the motive behind all of our shenanigans and schemes? Are they indeed for the glory of God or are we just edifying ourselves? In Paul’s remark he is trying to admonish believers to live for Christ and to remove themselves from pagan practices. Food and money are two things that are close to us. Using them in metaphor seeks to give us a picture of how we should respond to the investment of our time and in the purity of living a life worthy of our calling. Setting out the rules which we perceive to be so good, sets out stumbling blocks for us all.
Putting ourselves at the focus of our endeavors removes Christ from the center of our purpose. Peter’s remarks in 1 Peter 4, tell us to do all for God’s glory and that means to suffer in that glory because we bear Christ’s name.
To move forward, over and beyond the obstacles, we have to look at who we are in Christ and who He is in us. Christ is greater than the obstacles we build after all. To be as He is, we have to let the Holy Spirit take the axe to the root of our problems and die. Eternal life comes through death and the power of the resurrection. If Christ is in us then we have His resurrection too.
This passage in James 1: 21 says, ‘So get rid of all uncleanness and the rampant outgrowth of wickedness, and in a humble (gentle, modest) spirit receive and welcome the Word which implanted and rooted [in your hearts] contains the power to save your souls.
22 But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth].
23 For if anyone only listens to the Word without obeying it and being a doer of it, he is like a man who looks carefully at his [own] natural face in a mirror;
24 For he thoughtfully observes himself, and then goes off and promptly forgets what he was like.
25 But he who looks carefully into the faultless law, the [law] of liberty, and is faithful to it and perseveres in looking into it, being not a heedless listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he shall be blessed in his doing (his life of obedience).
26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious (piously observant of the external duties of his faith) and does not bridle his tongue but deludes his own heart, this person’s religious service is worthless (futile, barren).
We must return to the mirror time and time again and look to see whose face reflects back at us. If we see ourselves then we still remain in the frame. We forget that in the reflection of opposites that Christ is so good at pointing out to us, it is His face that we should see and His eyes that are looking deep into our own.
To be part of the sect of the selfie image makers removes us far from the destiny of our conformation in Christ.
Every man who dares look into a mirror must come prepared with a cloth. He must wipe his face away from what his eyes see until he beholds the face of our Lord.
So, the biggest obstacle in our lives truly can never be the sickness or the bad relationship, or the financial worries or the failing marriage, or the bad habits; the biggest thing is ourselves. We are the common denominator. As long as we remain who we are, and defy the molding hand of God in our lives, the problem with ourselves remains. We really do have to forget ourselves after all, in order for Christ to live and be manifest in us.
The rules we have set for our boxed-in bondage, cannot apply those restraints upon our redeemer. We cannot pigeonhole or contain Him in our world. These rules do not apply to Him.
And if we are seeking freedom in Him, and confess Him as Lord, then we must demolish the rule of self.
If we refuse to see Christ in the mirror, we see what the serpent suggested to the man and the woman in the garden. We behold a false divinity, an antichrist that denies the power of God.
The deception of the two humans brought to us the deception of self. This is the biggest mountain for us. Christ in us is the faith of God and it is only this kind of faith that can remove what prevents us from moving forward.
Recently I watched a video in which the cameraman was watching a mountain crumble before him. He called it a ‘land slide’. Over a few minutes, the mountain began to reshape. The tremors of the ground were barely noticeable but small rocks and soil began to roll from the top giving the situation away. Eventually larger boulders began to fall.
What I saw at first was that when the shaking began, the disturbance of the small stones and rocks was initially evident. The larger boulders from the top fell as the mountain became unstable.
Spiritual wisdom shows us that we must decrease and Christ must increase. The Oneness, YHVH Echad, must sit sovereign in our lives. The law engraved upon the Rock must have pre-eminence.
Eph 1:18 I ask that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know the hope of His calling, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and the surpassing greatness of His power to us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of His mighty strength, 20 which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
22 And God put everything under His feet and made Him head over everything for the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
You made him ruler of the works of Your hands; You have placed everything under his feet:
The LORD said to my Lord: "Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet."
If we choose to give permission to God to cause those little movements and allow the sands to shift around us, those bigger obstacles will come down. Our landscape will change and God will clear a path for us, and He will not allow our feet to stumble or to be caught upon the jagged rocks. His angels will guard us in all our ways.
If you ask the Father to help you remove the biggest obstacle in your life now, you must expect the ground to move. He will cause the earth to shake, and if you are prepared to die and be caught up in the tumbling soil and be buried under its weight, He will place the Rock of Christ upon you.
Let us read these verses.
Psalm 116: 15. Precious (important and no light matter) in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints (His loving ones) AMPC
The CJB version renders the same verse: ‘From Adonai’s point of view, the death of those faithful to Him is costly.’
It is hard to understand that YHVH puts great price and worth upon our deaths. But it is sobering to realize that our death does not come with the end of life itself, but lives alongside our breathing souls in the resurrected form. Life and death are thus never separated but exist together in the paradox of the eternal - no beginning or end.
In a caveat to this message, we understand that times of testing come to us all. King David wrote in Psalm 119 how YHVH had afflicted him. Stanza 8:65 reads:
‘Do good to Your servant according to Your Word (Christ the Rock) .
‘I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I obey Your Word’.
When trials and afflictions come, we must place our lives into the hands of God and under the feet of Christ. We become like the grapes in the winepress - under the feet of the pressers. We are reminded that the extraction of the juice comes under pressure, but the process must continue through to fermentation and maturing. Thus under the crushing feet of Christ - upon the tribulum, we are afflicted that we may know Him and His Word.
The greatest things that afflict us do not come from external sources. They do not come from the things which we have had a hand in; they come from the things in which we find the most abhorrent and wicked in ourselves. The thorns in our side are things that persist in reminding us of ourselves - our faults and great imperfections. However, our eyes must turn from these to see Christ who has conquered death, and is greater in us than we who are in the world.
As you read this message, the word for you is: Remove yourself, forget yourself. Let the Rock roll over your pride and self-image. Let YHVH remove the mountain called ‘You’.
If we are to remain in Christ we must become like Him, as He is. There cannot be any vestige of ourselves left in this union. Our mortality will crumble and turn to the dust to be reshaped into an immortal form. The Mountain must come under the Rock.
There will be no name engraved upon the stone that marks your death because ‘YOU’ will be gone. You will have been obliterated from the annals of history. It will read only: “Here under this mountain lies me, crushed by Christ the Rock.’