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God is strong and can help you not to fall. He can bring you before his glory without any wrong in you and can give you great joy. Jude 1:24 (NCV)

I sat and watched a group of rock climbers one day as they tried to scale a sheer rock cliff. From a distance it seemed impossible for them to be able to make it to the top safely. It was apparent from my observation which climbers were novices and which were the ‘veterans’ of the group. The novices moved very slowly and tentatively. Some got half way up and came back down by the safety ropes to regroup and try again. One by one the group made it from the bottom to the top safely. With each person’s successful climb you could hear a cheer erupt from the onlookers.

Later, I had the opportunity to ask one of the climbers what he thought were the essential ingredients to a successful climb. He told me that, in his opinion, there were three things each successful climber needed to make it to the top. One was faith in your equipment. The climb I watched was pretty minor but especially on the big climbs you needed to have good equipment and trust that equipment to do what it says it would do.

The second ingredient was remaining focused. He referenced the few ‘novice climbers’. Their biggest problem was that they focused so much on the danger and the possibility of falling and getting injured that they lost their grip. On this climb it was okay because there were safety ropes to lower them to the ground. In a real climb one slip can mean death. “Most climbing accidents are the result of improper use of equipment and/or climber error” He told me. Equipment failure is rare.

Lastly, he said, good climbers don’t climb alone. They would prefer to climb in groups because the support of the group helps them, especially during the tough climbs and during inclement weather. Group support is indispensible when it comes to making it to the top.

As I left I thought about the application to our spiritual lives. When we first start our walk with Christ we are careful to do the things that will help our growth. We read his Word, we pray, we seek every opportunity to make our way up the slippery slope of life.

As we ‘grow older’ in our faith we may tend to lose our focus on the task before us. We may have more faith in our own ability than to trust the equipment. We may be so intent on looking back to our past that we lose sight of the task before us. We may look towards our goal and wonder how we will ever make it to the top. When we lose our focus we increase the chances of losing our footing and falling.

Along with the focus we need to have in our climb, we need to have faith in our equipment. Climbing equipment rarely fails. The word of God and his presence in our lives NEVER fails. But falling is a possibility when we fail to have faith that our God is strong enough to see us to the top.

Lastly, when climbing the sheer rock wall of life, we need each other. Fellowship with other Christ-followers encourages us on the way, reminds us who we are, and gives us another vantage point to see our way to footholds that help us advance.

Proper equipment (Faith in a living and powerful God); Focus (relying on the Holy Spirit to guide us through the daily tasks of life); Fellowship (surrounding ourselves with people who can help us along the way). Three ingredients to making it up the slippery slope of life.

PRAYER: Father God, there are so many times I’ve lost focus on you or relied on my own power and ability to make it through life’s challenges. Empower me with your Spirit to climb the slippery slope of my life relying on you to conquer to obstacles before me. In Jesus name, Amen.

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