It’s easy to get lost in the chaos of life and feel suffocated by all the things that we should be doing. Often times, the thing that slides the most is our prayer time, quiet time with God or our Bible reading time. There’s probably several reasons for this but that’s not my point. Nor is it my point to make you feel guilty for letting it slide because of how busy you get! My point is, we all feel like ‘life stuff’, work, your studies or your family life is sometimes getting on top of you and you don’t have time to breath, let alone read your Bible.
So, where’s your mountain top? Do you have one?
I am currently in my second year of my Theology and Religions degree. One of my modules requires me to read all 4 gospels in a week (thank God for the listening option on the app!). Nevertheless, this takes up quite some time and is quite a challenge! However, having got through 2 and a bit of them, I noticed many patterns between them. One of these patterns is that at several points in the gospels Jesus takes himself to a ‘mountain top’ or a ‘quiet place’* (depending on the translation and version used). When I first read/heard that this what Jesus did to get some alone time with God, I thought how amazing it must have been to live somewhere where there was a mountain to just go and walk up and stay a little while. In Manchester the most magnificent thing you’ll see is the Curry Mile (which isn’t even a mile, it’s half, thank me after your pub quiz victory for that one), which hardly compares to a mountain. My second thought was, perhaps, this is the perfect escape when people annoy you a little! My Mum once told me that when me and my two sisters were younger, she would lock herself in the bathroom just so she could have some alone time, even just for 5 minutes. We sure as heck waited right behind the door for her though! Even in these jokey life situations, we can all recognise that sometimes some quiet time alone is beneficial and needed. This definitely doesn’t change when it comes to how much you need quiet time with God.
I’m pretty sure Jesus didn’t take himself up to the mountain just to escape his friends, but to spend time with God. Jesus having a mountain top is really important for many reasons;
- Jesus having a mountain top to take himself to is really important because Jesus (the closest person to God) recognised that he needed time away from other people to be alone with God. It is easy to think that because we go to Church on Sunday’s and you have a banging worship playlist on Spotify and you watch those christian youtubers (this is precisely how I used to justify not taking time to be with God everyday) that we don’t actually need to spend anymore time with God. But, if God’s own son took time out of his day to spend quiet time with God, then I think it’s pretty certain that all of us need to do the same. This mountain top is Jesus’ peace and personal time, it keeps Him anchored. He went there in all occasions, including before He was due to die. This is how important one-on-one time with God is. Jesus spent time with God even when facing his greatest trials, and we can have the same intimate relationship with God for ourselves.
- If we take Matthew 14:23 for an exmple. ‘After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone…’ Here, what is really interesting is that Jesus made the effort to go himself. ‘He went up’. It’s often easy to justify not praying or spending time with God because it takes up effort, whether that means physically going somewhere to do it or whether it means getting out of that super comfy position in bed to get your Bible. Or whether it means that you might have to wake up a little earlier or go to bed a little later, it all takes up effort, so we justify not doing it. I think it’s key to understand that if Jesus made the effort to go out of his way to spend time with God, then we must also do the same. This is not to say you have to go climb a mountain (although, if that’s what you’re into then you do you), but get up 5 minutes early, go to bed 5 minutes later, take yourself to a place where you are alone, and make the effort to spend time with God.
- Another key aspect to Jesus and his fondness of mountains, is that He is always alone when He goes. Not to say reading the bible or praying with other people is bad at all, but it is necessary to have some time just you and God. Jesus highlights this importance in the way that he behaves. In 99 percent of the Gospels, Jesus is with his disciples and if not them, then with people in general. However, each time that He goes up to the mountain to pray, He goes alone. There is something to be said for the intimacy that grows between you and God from one and one time together, God wants there to be a relationship between you and Him and as you grow closer to Him, He grows closer to you (James 4:8).
So my challenge remains the same, where’s your mountain top? It could be your bed, your bathroom, the kitchen, the library, the cafe in town or it could literally be a mountain top. But I really encourage you to find one. It’ll change your life. Be alone, have a conversation with God, open your Bible, sing a song, do whatever you need to do to build a relationship with God. I set this challenge to myself as well as you. Each day in October (I know this will be up on the 2nd but just add a day or two) spend any amount of time just you and your creator. Get to know Him. See what He has to say. I do mine for about 5-10 minutes (not long at all) every morning before I go on social media (I have to put my phone underneath my Bible so that I read my Bible before I go on my phone lol). So, I challenge you to the same. Find your mountain top and go every single day of October and tell me at the end of the month that it hasn’t changed at least one thing.
Also, Instagram or Facebook or Email us a photo from your mountain top, we’d absolutely love to see it!
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*Matthew 14:23, Mark 6:46, Luke 6:12, Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16, Matthew 26:36, Matthew 26:44.