The View from the Top
Whitney Capps

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV)

I'm no thrill seeker. It's rare that my heart rate rises above the normal level. The last time I felt the white-knuckled exhilaration of terror, I was harnessed to the top of a 40-foot pole being steadied by our group's guide for a team-building activity. I had shimmied up this pole, hoisting my weight from step to step, until only one step remained between me and success.
What is success in this scenario? I'm glad you asked. We were challenged to climb the pole, reach the top and in our final step, pull both feet to the top of this pole and stand there swaying in the breeze, taking in the view.

At this point in my climb, I was in a precarious position. My final push would be to stand up on the leg positioned at the top of the pole, and shift my weight to that leg, thereby standing erect on a one foot platform 40 feet in the air. No problem, right?

Here's the inner dialogue I was having: "I don't really have to go all the way. I’m exhausted and cramping. This is good enough for me. So you stand at the top of the pole. Is twelve more inches of height really going to change my perspective?"

A voice interrupted my thoughts. My husband Chad who had successfully completed this exercise was yelling to me, "You can do this. I want you to go all the way. I've been there. Don't look down, and don't give up. He's got you if you fall. It's totally worth it."

So, with every ounce of energy left in me I pushed up and ... fell. I didn't stand atop that pole, but I gave it my all.

The exercise that day was a picture of my relationship with God. Somewhere near the top of my journey, just shy of full-on devotion, I stopped. I had little spiritual stamina. I realized that the emotion that helped me start my journey would never be enough to finish the exercise. It would take a level of devotion I wasn't sure I had.

Then I heard a voice saying, "You can do this. I want you to do this. He's got you if you fall. I've been there. Don't look down, and don't give up. It's totally worth it." It was the voice of my Savior.

Friend, Jesus is calling out to you with the same message of encouragement. No matter where you are on the pole or why you want to quit, don't give up. Keep taking the next step. Jesus reminds us that God is more than able to catch us when we fall. He alone can attest that the view from a position of total devotion "is totally worth it."

I'm not disappointed that I fell in the last second. I'm glad that I didn't believe the lie that "close was close enough." The difference between emotion and devotion may only be a few inches, but the view is dramatically different. Emotion can get you near the top, but that’s about it. Only devotion lets you experience a view so grand it takes your breath away. I caught a glimpse of it before I fell. It was well worth the effort.

Dear Lord, help me remember that in my moments of desperation and fear, You are in control. Help me fight the temptation to worry or doubt Your provision. Grant me the peace to accept Your will, and to believe Your promises to protect and provide for me and my family. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

The Confident Woman: Knowing Who You are in Christ by Anabel Gilham

God’s Purpose for Every Woman: A P31 Devotional Gen Eds. Lysa TerKeurst & Rachel Olsen

Visit Whitney Capps’s blog

Application Steps:
Begin yourself, as well as helping your children, to act not just on emotions or feelings, but with a will that desires to do what is right even if it doesn’t feel good at the moment.

Do you find that you make decisions, pray for needs, or deal with relationships, based on emotion or on a clear direction from the Word of God?

Have you faced trials or opportunities for maturity with perseverance, or did you settle for less than God’s perfect plan?

Power Verses:
Hebrews 12:1, “Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (NIV)

© 2008 by Whitney Capps. All rights reserved.


Blogger Dorothy Champagne said...

This is so good. It's also a reminder that having a spouse there that encourages you in your spiritual journey can make all the difference.

Blogger Unknown said...

This is a great encouragement. Very true how we tend to let our emotions guide us rather than taking the time out with God and letting Him guide us. I have to try hard everyday to not just react to my daughter's messes (18 months and loves to throw food, toys, whatever she gets her hands on onto the floor or stuff it into the couch, or put it in the toilet if the bathroom door is left open.....etc.)but to take the time to say a prayer and respond with His love and how He would respond. Thanks for the encouragement this morning!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i had to fight back the tears as i read this - this is where i have been for the past few months... trying to go deeper - much deeper in my relationship with The Lord, than i've ever been before.
... and it seems like just when i'm almost over the next ledge (moving up to higher ground) i lose my footing, and take a spill.
it's been hard, as this is season of my life, where i am on my own - no Christian sisters or brothers to walk beside me - or even know where i am, for that matter.
(i moved to a foreign country, and don't have a church family, here, yet...) what has been invaluable are these devotions and Beth Moore videos online... God has used them to confirm His love and assurance, just like today's devotion.
God really used your words today. :)) thank you so much!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was perfect for me today. I am printing it and putting it where I can see it! Thank you. Laura

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much...I have been at a place where I have wanted to give seems so hard to go on...the journey has been long and much uphill.

It reminds me of a climb up a mountain I took. A friend of mine (being in better shape) went ahead he would climb over what looked like the top of the mountain and exclaim "oh no!" I would catch up to find that we had only gone over a ridge and the mountain was yet the third time he did this, I said "you have got to be kidding!" I was worn out and didn't know if I would make it. Fortunately...he was kidding and I made it to the top of the mountain...WHAT A VIEW!!! I could see "forever" was beautiful and exhilarating!

Thanks for the reminder to keep pressing on...just like the verse you quoted:

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV)


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