I recently started climbing and bouldering and am enjoying it very much. However the question that determines most of the things I do is: “What does it teach me about God or my Faith?”
Though the below might not be an all inclusive list…it is what stood out to me:
Dependence is what keeps you alive. Even though society tries to convince us that independence is the ultimate goal, here tied to a top rope you learn to treasure the dependence of another person below. Likewise dependence on God is an absolute essential for life!
You only climb ahead when secured. Equipment to be in good shape and order is essential and secures life. Choosing the right equipment is equally important. When you climb you want to make sure that equipment is in place and in good shape. That goes for every walk of our lives…for when it is not…we suffer the consequences. When thinking of it, the equipment represents the basics you have learned in faith…it is your gifting and the anointing combined with the acquired skills. Climbing without being secured onto a rope (i.e. dependence on God and a congregation) and the right equipment will lead to failure.
The rope is you life-belt. It is quite simple… the rope breaks, you fall and possibly die. The rope is a symbol for your personal relationship with God and what you do to maintain and enhance it daily.
You need to put the weight and emphasis where your foot is. i.e. don’t climb primarily by arms strength or you’ll grow tired! This is a wonderful analogy to mission work and/or growth in the congregation. The foot represents the land you can conquer spiritually; the arms are your outreaches. Only when you have taken a solid stand spiritually does an outreach have a long lasting effect… otherwise it is often comparable to a drop of water on a hot plate.
(Foot)hold is only provided once you put your full weight on it. I have often met Christians who barely take in the land given to them, before they move on… it seems they are only on a journey through. However for the land to remain in your possession you need to STAND on your foot. Feel the ground… rely on it to carry you.
Once your foot can reach, your hand can follow. It is when you have taken the land in a spiritual sense (i.e. foot hold), that your arms and hands can reach out in ministry.
Your foot gets you up… your hand keeps you close to the rock. Your taking the land will allow you to advance… your reaching out will keep you close to the heart of Jesus, the Rock.
Think about where you want to go how BEFORE you climb that part. It is vital to know where you are headed to avoid failure and disappointment as well as burn out (the latter goes especially for spiritual matters).
You only concentrate on where you are at that specific moment – it’s of no avail to think of the top. If you do not focus on where you are at that moment, you are losing momentum, concentration and strength. Though this might seem simple and logical I have seen numerous people and Christians for that matter, that focus too much on the end goal to acquire the abilities/skills God wants them to acquire in the here and now. Likewise they disobey God in not doing what they do wholeheartedly and in love.
It is good to take a short rest and breathe once in a while… even enjoying the view. There is nothing wrong with enjoying what you do, finding rest and regaining strength. That goes for spiritual issues as well!
Technique is best trained when bouldering i.e. close to the ground. Bouldering is done in proximity to the ground… it is done without rope or harness to secure you. Your feet and hands are equally trained with your mind and eyes, to find good hold. The spiritual implication this has is: a congregation is a training ground…it is a place to learn technique and skills.
Falling down is part of the deal, but you allow the rock/wall to challenge you and get up and do it again and try to improve on it. Falling is part of the deal…so are scrapes on your knees and the like… so you get up and do it again and avoid making the same mistake twice. Likewise in faith… you will not lead the perfect life… you will at times fail, backslide, get hurt and scraped… but remember… you can get back up… the Rock (i.e. Jesus) challenges you to do so… in order to grow.
No matter how good you get…you never really excel 100% and are still vulnerable and dependent (on the rock, the rope, the equipment, skills, …). It is good to remember this last point. It teaches you humility and respect. And that goes for faith and daily life especially.
So next time you climb… remember these lessons (or at least some of them) and allow God to teach you more on the matter. Or if you haven’t climbed before… why don’t you go and try it… it might teach you on faith through experience and a good, fun workout.