What comes to mind when you hear the term “Mountain Top Experience?" Growing up in a non-Christian home the mountains were always a place of beauty, serenity, and strength. While living in San Diego I spent many an afternoon in the Cuyamaca Mountains exploring Green Valley Falls, camping at Pasa Picacho, or summiting the peak of Stonewall. Reflecting back on those experiences, I now realize the lasting effect being in nature had on who I am as a man today.
Whether it be nature or nurture, I love being amongst the rolling sea of trees and witnessing the the wind nudge the fog as it rolls over the ridge of a mountain.
When I accepted Christ as my Savior in high school and later attended Azusa Pacific University, I was introduced to the language of Christianese and soon learned that the term “Mountain Top Experience” can have a negative connotation. Since I never experienced camp for myself I couldn’t fathom how the place I felt the most free and closest to God could ever be a negative experience. But for many Christians it is.
I came to know the term, “Mountain Top Experience” as the transformation of one’s heart, while at higher elevation, from lukewarm to on fire for God. But some hold the experience invalid due to people’s descension back into the world and crawling into their habitual tepid life. So what is it about the mountains that creates this metamorphosis?
Although I love the mountains, I don’t believe they are the strongest element in this equation. Mountain-bound students leave the city where they are surrounded with things built by man in comparison to those created by God. They leave an area where man is infatuated with building towers for himself, constantly making an idol of himself, and acquiring wealth for himself, and are transplanted to a place where they share living space with many others. Their greatest treasure is an Oreo milkshake and their wealth is measured in fellowship. It is a time where their thoughts and discussions revolve around their Creator; where they are told they have individual beauty but are collectively beautiful, and where they learn their purpose and feel chosen. For some it is the closest they will ever experience to the Garden of Eden. The garden, “on the holy mountain of God” (Ezekiel 28:14), was created to walk with Him, to love Him, and to love each other.
I believe the “Mountain Top Experience” is achieved through a life of fulfilling our created purpose. The reason it is easier achieved in the mountains is because of the absence of distractions. The things we think we need to have because they entertain us may serve as an impediment to those things that save us. I challenge you to seek true adventure and pleasure. I challenge you to be the conduit for your family, and like the wind nudging the fog over the most treacherous peaks, guide your children back to the holy mountain of God.