I had to stop reading after the first line: “We move from the mountain of glory to the valley of need” (Wiersbe Bible Commentary on Matthew 17:14-21). What a concise description of life! Our mountaintop experiences don’t last forever—we have to go home from summer camp, the mission trip, retreat, conference, or exhilarating moment with God, and go back to everyday life. And we go because that’s where people are who need Jesus.

But I’m like Peter, once I get a glimpse of God’s glory on the Mountain I want to build shelters for everyone and camp out. Why leave?

When Jesus, Peter, James, and John came down the mountain they met a troubled crowd, the other nine disciples, and a distraught father. The disciples had failed to heal this man’s demon possessed son—writhing, foaming, screaming, suicidal. They huddled around their Master embarrassed and confused.

Jesus healed the boy and after the crowd left the disciples asked, “Why couldn’t we drive the demon out?” He had given them authority to drive out evil spirits and heal all kinds of sickness and they had returned from their first mission giddy with success. They were really going places! But this time they were powerless and the demon flaunted their inadequacy by tormenting this boy in front of everyone.

Jesus gave them three reasons why they had failed: they lacked faith (Matthew 17:20); they lacked prayer (Mark 9:29); and they lacked discipline (Matthew 17:21). Had they slacked off when Jesus took the other disciples up the mountain leaving them to minister to the crowd below?

The Bible doesn’t say why their faith waned, but I know how jealousy and comparisons can distract us from focusing on Christ and our mission. We see others getting blessings we wish we could enjoy. Our work suddenly seems like thankless toil. Then it happens, Satan attacks and we find ourselves helpless against the darkness.

This lesson came at just the right time for me, because next week I’ll be heading to the Oregon Christian Writers summer conference. It will be incredible! Keynote speakers, coaching classes, workshops, worship, building friendships with other writers, and hobnobbing with top editors and agents. I look forward to the encouraging Spirit-filled atmosphere. However, it can also be an opportunity for the enemy to drag me and others into jealousy and comparisons. Those of us not currently on the mountaintop with newly published books or articles, could begin to feel jealous.

Yet Jesus’ disciples who work in the valley are no less loved or important than His disciples with Him on the mountain. We all have mountaintop moments as well as valley days, and God is with us in them all. Our mission is not always glorious and inspiring; sometimes it’s just hard work. The important thing, I’m reminded, is to put our faith in God (not our own efforts), and keep on praying and living a life of discipline, so His authority can flow through us.  

There is so much need around us every day. I don’t want to stop the flow of the Spirit because I think I need to be someone else, or somewhere else. Wherever Jesus puts me is right where I’m supposed to be; I just need to be faithful to love those He brings my way and trust His authority to push back the darkness.

#comparisons #jealousyinministry #writinglife #faithprayerandfasting #discouragement