THE TEMPLE PRØJECT
CLIMBING HIGHER, WITHOUT FALLING
“For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
// 2 Peter 1:8-11
Faith is the baseline and foundation for our life in God. When we were born again, we received Jesus' own faith with which to believe the Father, and then Jesus took us by the shoulders and turned us toward His Father and ours, presenting us to Him as a child. Faith's language, the high praise of God, erupted as we began to see all our Father's virtues and excellencies. We saw indeed how praiseworthy He was, and that opened our eyes to peer into the depths of His heart, to see wisdom and hidden mysteries, which we entered into as experiential knowledge.
Jesus, ever committed to our maturation, slipped self-control into our hearts as we stood gazing at the Father, lost in the revelations of who He is. By that self-control we learned to rivet ourselves to this spot, so we didn't abandon our great view of God. We learned to master ourselves so we could abide there, becoming true reflections of Him, degree by degree. And in the lessons of self-mastery we discovered the wisdom of perseverance, of enduring both hardship and glory, so that we'd push deeper into God's heart.
And the more we pressed in, the more godly our hearts became; the Holy Spirit stirred our hearts to greater and greater godly heart responses, making us more like the One at whose heart we gaze. Jesus, as our Elder Brother and Friend, sidled up to our side and whispered, "God likes you! God likes you and He likes the rest of the saints and sinners too. That's your message to say to all: God likes you and is a Friend to you. Tell the world!"
As tears streamed down our faces, as we gazed at Him who called us, we saw the explosion of love within His heart. We saw Him moved by the way our hearts responded to the friendliness of God, and we watched Him arise from His throne, set out a dinner table, and invite us to sit with Him – to dine at His dinner party, His love-feast, His agape. And He turned and said to us, "Tell others that they, too, have a seat at the table with you and I, with My Son and Spirit. Call many to My love-feast. Let the world know. We have a place set out for them, as My children!"
We've spent 92 days examining that amazing process of ascending upwards in the virtues of God, to sit with Him at His love-feast, atop His mountain in His palatial home. It’s a magnificent view, abiding here with Him. And here's the most striking truth – Peter says that if we continually practice the things listed above, that we "will never fall!" Did you catch that? If we stay faithful in our hearts to letting the Spirit keep us in this process of ascension, of our own maturation, He assures us that we won't slip and fall. We will stand, we will go higher, we will sit with the Trinity at Their table.
In other words, we don't have to fall. We can stand. We can go higher. We can sit and rest. We don't have to try, we don't have to work harder, and we don't have to stumble or fall, ever. Not even once.
We might balk at this. What about our sins? And our failures? Let’s not entertain these questions. He removed our sins, and He redeemed our failures. He forgot all our evil ways, and He perfected us by the sacrifice of His Son. In other words, we are without excuse: we can stand up, climb higher, and sit forever with Him. We do not have to stumble or fall. Why? Because all that He did perfected us, and all the ways that the Spirit now leads us are meant to mature us in His perfection of us. Christ did the perfecting already; we couldn't. The Spirit does the maturing; we are just here to receive.
If we learn to receive well, if we learn to live from the place of perfection, moving from glory to glory, then we will never fall. It's a promise He made to us. And it's solid; it's reliable; it's our insurance policy if we fail. And it all hinges on the pleasurable will of God to make it so.
As we close these 92 days of The Temple Prøject: Ascending the Mountain, recall what we've examined. Go back and re-read whatever theme that you most need. Be proactive. Let’s not sit on our hands, but stir ourselves up to pursue the Lord! Trust Him above all else. Let’s not rely on our understanding, but ask Him for His.
It's time we climb higher, and it's time we stay seated where He is, for the sake of the world, for the sake of being faithful to reflect Him to the world. It’s time to be the best image-bearers we can be, and reflect Him more perfectly!
// Samuel Nicolosi