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Category: Lekki/Ajah
Higher Ground
Posted by admin on 3 Jun, 2013

"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.  12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  13 Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  15 All of us who are mature should take such a view of things."

John Bunyan was an English Christian writer and preacher, who lived in Elstow, Bedfordshire, England from 1628 to 1688.  At a time he was imprisoned for conducting un-authorized religious services outside the Church of England, and during his time in the Bedford County jail John Bunyan conceived of an allegorical novel called “The Pilgrim's Progress” which was eventually published in 1678.  The book was about a man called “Christian” and his journey from his hometown, the "City of Destruction" to the "Celestial City" at the top of Mt. Zion.  

In summary, Christian, weighed down by a great burden, which he believed came from his reading "the book in his hand" meets a man called “Evangelist”, who directs him to the "Wicket Gate" for deliverance.  Christian leaves his home, his wife, and children unable to persuade them to accompany him and passing through the Slough of Despond, eventually goes through the Wicket Gate after initially being diverted by Mr Worldly Wisdom and Mr Legality in the village of Morality.  Thereafter he arrives at the House of the Interpreter, where he learns about his journey and then reaches the "place of deliverance", where he sheds burden, receives new garments and a certificate as passport to the Celestial city.  As he continues, he journeys through the Hill of Difficulty, makes a stop at the Beautiful House, slips down into the Valley of Humiliation, battles Apollyon who he wounds and overcomes with his “two-edged sword”.  He goes through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, gets arrested with his friend Faithful in Vanity-Fair, where Faithful is executed as a martyr.  He continues with Hopeful, inspired by Faithful's faith, through the Doubting Castle, imprisoned by Giant Despair and escaping with a key he has called Promise, on through dangerous Enchanted Grounds to the Land of Beulah where they prepare themselves and cross the River of Death.  Arriving at the gates to the Celestial City, they are welcomed graciously with a trumpet and fanfare, and they take their place alongside the rest of the elect. 

Just like Christian’s story, our lives are like a journey.  As with all journeys there are twists and turns, ups and down. Deut 11:11 says “the land wither thou goest in to possess is a land of hills and valleys, but drinks water of the rain of Heaven”.  In our journeys there is provision – cakes from heaven on our way – just as Elijah experienced on his journey to the Mount of God (1 Kings 19:1-4).  Paul was also an example of someone on a journey and in Phil 3:10 we learn 3 things;

o   A clear eyed goal (v 10) - “I want to know Him…”

o   He was conscious of His journey (v 12) - Not that I have already obtained all this...

o   He was forward looking and “upward looking” (v 13) – “this one thing I do… I press on

This morning, the question I ask you is this; where are you in your journey of life? Do you have a clear vision of what the Father requires of you? Are you still on course to your destination or have you taken a by path?  We need to make an evaluation of our present and where we are going.  If necessary make a course correction. 

Now along our way, there are critical junctions or periods, when we hear a call to “Higher ground”.  They are circumstances or situations in our lives which provide a step change for us in our upward journey.  John unable to die before his time is banished to the island of Patmos and here (Rev 4:1) he is called up to higher ground.  Here his horizontal vision is transformed to eternal views.  Zaccheaus in his bid to see Jesus had a sycamore tree to take him to higher ground (Luke 19:1-10).    What is your higher ground today? What is the Lord calling you to do? – Is it salvation or a call to ministry? Is it a decision to be made or even a reconciliation you once thought impossible?  Higher ground could be different things for different people.  Also, at times on our journey, when we are overwhelmed with circumstances around us, when the obligations on us or even with the weight of ministry seem so heavy we are unable to move on,  we have the wonderful privilege of being able to ask to be led to Higher Ground (Ps 61:1-2). We can make a case to catalyse the process to higher ground!

Moving to Higher ground requires certain dispositions.  It takes tangible effort and exercise of work.  There is necessarily an upward look to what is before and not what is behind.  We need to have a listening ear and a discerning heart, a seeking soul in the place of prayer for here only can we hear the Lord in the midst of all the hustle and bustle of life and time.  We need to turn away from the things below and the things around us, especially the limitations and challenges that are around us. We need to search the scriptures as confirmation of His will and once done need to take that step of faith without which we or no one can ever please Him.

When we get to higher ground, we experience the joy of service discharged and the satisfaction of progress made.  We know the peace of obedience.  We receive elevated sight or vision.  We perceive things we have not seen before, perspectives we may not have had before.  We realize the seeming littleness of the challenges that overwhelmed us at lower grounds.  We receive new heights to reach, new obligations to meet and best of all, we sense a smiling Father, a commending master. 

Oh that we may receive or find what it takes to move us to the Higher grounds of our lives today.  Amen.

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