Summer 2024

Daily Devotional: Friday, May 31 - Mountains Of Strength

“And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:14

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Rock climbers excel in community. If we want to progress as a climber, we have to climb with people stronger and more experienced than ourselves. Most climbers, including me, have seasons of feeling stuck on plateaus of style or strength levels. Discouraged, we remain unsure what will get us unstuck.

Whether climbing in a gym or on real rock — with ropes or on boulders — climbers need each other to improve. Working with more experienced athletes enables us to see things from a perspective ahead of our own, receive advice on technique, and develop more consistent training. Sure, we can train specific muscle groups or boulder patterns alone, but those drills for better skills come from somewhere. We know the how-tos of solo training because we live as a part of the climbing community.

Climbing differs from more competitive sports in that, outside of scheduled competitions, the biggest competition is with yourself. Climbers look to our community for encouragement, strength and motivation, but we also look to ourselves, hoping always to see progression compared with the previous day. From mountains of strength to valleys of injury, rock climbers should remember to celebrate the immense growth seen over the course of years in ourselves and in each other.

Like climbers choose to encourage, challenge and motivate in our community, Paul, in his first letter to the Thessalonian Christians, spent time encouraging others in the Gospel, challenging them to surrender to the Holy Spirit, and motivating them to strengthen one another in the faith. As believers in Christ, we need to have companions who walk with us. In fact, Paul reminded the believers to build one another up as a community (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

When we feel stuck, we have the privilege to both hear wisdom from those who have gone ahead of us and learned from different experiences, and also to imitate those who have followed Christ for a long time. Like 1 Thessalonians 5:14 (above) reminds us, when our hearts feel weak, we have an opportunity to let the community help us find strength in God again. When our hope feels disheartened, our community often gives encouragement at the perfect time. When we sit idly by, we find those in the community who will pull us into engagement and point us to remember how far we’ve come.

And I urge all of us to look for those “behind” us who need encouragement, help and patience. Like rock climbers, we must gaze ahead to those we can learn from and teach those who need to learn from us.

Paul shows us the importance of living as part of a Christian community. Like climbers seek to build the best in one another, let’s remember to always encourage the growth God wants to produce in each of us.

— Rebecca Thompson

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