Sunday, June 28, 2015


By Hayley Boud

“I can move the mountains” Mathew 17:20


What would happen if we did move the mountains?  What would happen if I moved Mt Ruapehu and put it here in Hamilton?  Wouldn’t that be a disaster?  I would destroy everything along the way as I dragged the mountain from one place to another and then plopped it right in the middle of Hamilton.  There would be earthquakes as the mountain shifted.  It would be frightening.


I would destroy people’s houses, cars, and even their livelihoods.  Those who worked on the ski fields at Mt Ruapehu would no longer have a job and those who worked in the CBD of Hamilton would no longer have a job.  Everything would be destroyed.  We wouldn’t celebrate that the mountain had moved, we would consider it a natural disaster. 


For example, in the movie Bruce Almighty, Bruce thought it would be romantic to move the moon closer to the earth so it would look big and beautiful for his wife.  Yet, the next morning he woke up and realised he had made a big disaster around the world with flooding and tidal waves: people’s lives were destroyed. 


Therefore, I don’t think God wants us to move physical mountains.  So what kind of mountain is God talking about when He says we can move mountains?  I think he is referring to spiritual mountains and mental and emotional mountains: the things that seem really difficult to get over.  Tell me, what are the spiritual mountains in your life?  These can be sickness, losing your job, not finding a job, temptations (such as anger, disappointment, laziness, lack of self-control, impatience etc), strained relationships or relationships you didn’t want, studies, financial worries, loneliness, depression, fears, doubts etc.


According to the verse, if we had faith we could move these mountains.  That is what the Bible says.  However, I’m not sure that we should move all mountains in our lives.  Maybe there are those mountains we have to move but maybe there are mountains that have to be climbed rather than moved.  Maybe those mountains require faith to remove the barriers that stop us from climbing the mountain rather than faith to move the mountain.  I say that because if we moved some mountains, we would never get to climb it and there is so much to be learnt from climbing a mountain.  There is also incredible victory when we reach the top.


What is the importance of physical mountains?  They make rain.  The sun evaporates the water in the lake and the water becomes a cloud.  The wind pushes the cloud and when the cloud passes mountains, the water precipitates and rain falls.  Rain is water which brings forth new life.  Therefore, without mountains, we wouldn’t have life.  Hence, the spiritual mountains in our life are a blessing and therefore, not always a good idea to move them – it may be a better idea to climb them.


Last weekend, Dad and I decided to walk up Hakarimata Summit Track in Ngaruawahia.  It is apparently 4.6 km of stairs.  When we arrived there, we looked up the mountain from the bottom and it seemed impossible for me (someone who NEVER exercises) and my dad (almost 70 years old) to climb.  We thought, we can’t do this.  But then we saw others coming down the mountain who had climbed to the top and completed it.  Their faces were so happy and they had words of encouragement.  We thought, if they can do it, then so can we.  When we climb spiritual mountains, we have those have gone before us and faced similar situations.  They encourage us with their actions and words. 


We too can encourage others when we have climbed the mountain.  If we were to remove all the difficulties we face and never have to go hard times, how could we possibly encourage others when they are facing difficulties? 


So me and dad started climbing this mountain and after a few steps, I thought, how long have I been doing this?  It seems like ages.  I asked Dad, “how long have we been going?” and dad looked at his watch and said, “only 20 minutes”.  I was shocked.  Then I looked up and saw stairs after stairs after stairs.  I was instantly discouraged.  But someone came just at that moment and said, “keep going, you’re doing great”.  We need each other.  When we are feeling discouraged, it’s good to be around other Christians because they will spur us on.  It’s also good to be around God and His Word (nothing more encouraging than the Word of God).


We kept climbing and my legs started to hurt.  I couldn’t breathe normally, I was huffing and puffing.  Another 20 minutes went by and then I realised, I’m only a quarter of the way.  That was so discouraging.  I really, really wanted to give up then.  But, another person coming the other way said, “keep going, it is worth it”.  It didn’t seem worth it to me but I believed them.  Sometimes in life we feel discouraged but it’s important to remember that what we are facing will be worth it, in the end.  In the end there is eternal life with Jesus.  On this earth, if we persevere we will also be rewarded.  If you keep going with your studies, you will have a degree at the end and it will have been worth the hard work.  If you persevere with your husband, your sickness, your job…it will be worth it…in the end.


We kept walking up the mountain but now my legs were really killing me.  They were literally shaking.  I started to feel like giving up.  There was no one around anymore to encourage me.  I had to encourage myself.  Sometimes, we have to find our own encouragement.  For me, that is when I turn on some Christian worship music which always encourages me to pray which then encourages me to read the Bible.  We have to find strategies to encourage ourselves.


As we were walking up the mountain, we had to move the barriers that got in the way of us climbing it.  For me the barrier was all in my mind.  Spiritually, that is the biggest mountain – our minds.  Therefore, when we make a decision to climb a spiritual mountain, we have to make a decision and keep it.  E.g. if I decide that I’m no longer going to smoke cigarettes, then all I have to do is make a decision and keep it – it’s only my mind that will stop me.


As we were climbing the mountain, there were markers that told us how far we were from the top.  Those markers kept us on track.  There are 20 markers so you know when you’ve reached marker 5, that you are a quarter of the way there.  When you reach marker 10, you are half way.  This is very encouraging.  In life, we can put up our own markers so we can be encouraged along the way. 


For example, when Colleen started her masters, it looked so big (like the mountain) but she only had to look at the first step which was to complete one paper in the first year.  When she completed that, she could do the next paper until all papers were completed.  Now she’s doing the thesis so she starts with chapter one and works her way slowly through each chapter until she is finished. 


In life, it is really important to make goals and then decide how each step of that goal will be accomplished.  For example, we know that reading the Bible is important but we struggle to read it.  Maybe, we can make a goal to read it for 15 minutes a day.  At the end of the week, we have read 1 and a half hours of the Bible and it wasn’t hard.


Me and dad kept climbing the mountain.  We reached the top.  What a victory!  We were so happy to be at the top that we immediately forgot how hard it was to get there.  In life, this is exactly what happens.  While we are facing the difficult time, we think it is the hardest thing we have ever faced.  But suddenly, the problem ends and the joy is so great.  I think it’s important to remember that when we are facing problems – to remember that very suddenly that problem will end and there will be joy (Eccl 7:8).


Then me and dad starting going down the mountain.  On one hand it was easier to go down than up (it was certainly faster) but on the other hand it was harder to go down.  Going downhill requires a lot of concentration otherwise you can easily fall.  This is the same with our Christian life.  When things are easy (no problems etc) we can easily neglect the Bible, prayer, God, other people, the church etc.  When things are easy that is when it is easy to fall into temptation.  For example, I might decide to have one glass of wine with dinner because I’m free as long as I don’t get drunk.  But if I’m not careful that glass will turn into two and then three and then I’m drunk.  If I’m not care, this will become a habit and suddenly I’m an alcoholic.


When things are easy we have to concentrate so we don’t fall.  When we are going up a mountain, we are focused completely on the task.  When we are facing difficult times, we are focused completely on God because we know he is our only hope.  When we are going down the mountain, it’s easy so we start to walk faster and then to run without thinking.  If we are not careful, we will trip and fall.  After being a Christian for a few years, we might think this is easy and stop concentrating and then fall.  Be careful because the devil is like a lion looking for someone to devour.  Walk with God each day and keep alert.


When we fall down a mountain, it is very likely we will take others with us (like dominoes).  When we fall into temptation, we very likely cause others to stumble too.  Many Christians think they are free but we have to remember we are not free to sin and we are not free to cause others to sin.  We are free FROM sin.