“Joshua did what Moses ordered in order to fight Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went to the top of the hill. It turned out that whenever Moses raised his hands, Israel was winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, Amalek was winning. But Moses’ hands got tired. So they got a stone and set it under him. He sat on it and Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on each side. So his hands remained steady until the sun went down. Joshua defeated Amalek and its army in battle.”
// Exodus 17:10-13 [MSG]
Confession: somewhere along the line, I was told being a Christian wasn’t cool. “Religion is a thing of the past,” the cultural influencers told me. Considering that the pursuit of coolness was basically a Constitutional mandate for an 80s-baby like me, I was a concerned high-schooler. What to do?
Soon after that, some popular language started making its way into my church youth group: “Christianity isn’t a religion; It’s a relationship”. We convinced our non-Christian friends at school that we were anything but religious (“I swear I’m not religious! I’m in a relationship!” Oh, the look on their confused faces…). We somehow retained our cool-factor with that response. The most important question on our summer mission trips we posed to the locals, was, “Do you have a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?”
Over the years, we grew up and those statements evolved into something a bit more ambiguous. “Personal” became synonymous with “private” (read: “none of your business”). I caught up with friends with whom I’d gone to Bible camp a few years later, and they told me they were spiritual, but not so much religious any more.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand those statements. I might even agree with the sentiment, but ultimately, there is something not-quite-there about boiling Christianity down to a “It’s just me and JC!” attitude.
Had Moses gone to that mountain alone, the battle would have already been lost. God is showing us, through Moses, Aaron and Hur, that we need to be in relationship with others in order to win the battle. When Moses grew weak, his God-fearing friends stood by him. Their presence in his life led the whole nation to victory.
God wants you to be in a relationship with Him, but He also wants you to commune with others that have a relationship with Him too. In your life, what mountain are you climbing alone? Where are your arms getting tired? In which areas do you need someone to come alongside of you and keep you going? And where can you come alongside another to help them?
I’m glad I decided to let go of the pursuit of cool and stay in a place where I had people lift my arms when I couldn’t. I’ve dealt with heartbreak, rejection, confusion, apathy, pride and more. If I would have walked that path alone, I’m not sure I would have survived the battle. Praise God that my friends heard His voice and became His tangible presence in my life. Let’s keep on winning the battle, together.
// Joel Eastlick