Coloradans, inhabitants of the Rocky Mountain State, have many reasons to be proud of their home. But the best reason is the Rocky Mountains themselves! Having these snow-capped, granite behemoths to tread and to explore, or even just to gaze at, is a great gift.
The Rocky Mountains are truly towering. According to the Colorado Geological Survey, Colorado has 58 peaks of 14,000 feet or higher (for perspective, California, our beloved Sierra Nevada range notwithstanding, has 12). Colorado’s mountain peaks are so high that even the grandly named Mt. Massive at 14,428 is not the highest peak. That honor goes to the humbly named Mt. Elbert at 14,440.
The state’s 53 mountain peaks of 14,000 feet or higher, known to Coloradans as the “Fourteeners,” are breath-taking, figuratively and literally (not every hiker can manage the thin air at the top). Serious mountaineers aim to summit as many of the Fourteeners as they can—proudly collecting “badges” of climbing honor like decorated army generals.
Although casual hikers may feel good about getting halfway up, for serious climbers only one thing matters: getting to the top. For Paul what was true of mountaineering was equally true of the Christian life. Getting to the top, reaching the summit was what mattered. Or more specifically, being found “blameless” (1:10), “fruitful” (1:10) and relationally intimate with Christ (3:8) on the day he appears from heaven to judge and to reign on earth.
This was precisely the point Paul was making when he wrote these stirring words to the church in Philippi:
“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).
Sure, at this point Paul had reached great heights in his faith. Sure, he had climbed high in his love for God and others. Sure, he had topped many ridges in his service as an ambassador of hope. Nevertheless, he had not yet summited. And because there was more mountain before him, he continued to climb and called his friends in the church at Philippi to do the same. For Paul, the climb towards the summit of a more significant life, a more worthy life, a more exalted life needed to continue until the day of Jesus’ return. It needs to continue for us as well regardless of whatever spiritual “elevation gain” we have already made.
That is why at First Baptist Church of Davis, week by week, we seek to move higher and higher up this Scriptural mountain through preaching on Sunday morning, and then through discerning discussion and prayer in our Home Groups. We hope everyone at FBC will collect their climbing gear and make the ascent with us.