On Banana Bread, Elevation and Living for Jesus…

Banana Bread

I made banana bread yesterday.
It turned out pretty well.
But it could have been a disaster.

You see, I forgot where I was.
I forgot that I am way above sea level.
And at this altitude, adjustments must be made.
I’m used to baking at 128 feet above sea level – not 5,551 feet.

Fortunately, I added a little more liquid than the recipe called for because I decided to throw in a couple extra ingredients.
That’s a high-altitude adjustment – but I did it quite by accident.

Fortunately, I also used a little less sugar than the recipe called for but that was only because I didn’t want it too sweet.
So again, I adjusted by quite by accident.

What I completely forgot to do was to adjust the temperature of the oven.
It should have been about 25 degrees hotter – in Fahrenheit.
Of course, my gas oven only has Celsius marks – and those are in ranges of temperatures.
The bottom line is that it took FOREVER to bake.
I basically slow roasted it instead of baking it.

But eventually it came out of the oven.
And I think it is delicious.
But that is in no way thanks to me.

It so reminded me of my life here on earth.
How easy it is for me to forget my altitude.
And to live accordingly.

I forget that I am living at a higher elevation.
Not because of my righteousness or anything I have done.
Just like I didn’t climb these 5,000 plus feet to be here in Guatemala.
I was carried here by an airplane.
And I have been carried to a higher elevation spiritually by the incredible lift of being saved by grace alone.
Saved from sin.
Saved from separation from God.
Saved to be living “in the world but not of it.”
Saved to be existing on a different plane, a higher elevation than those who do not know Him.
An elevation that calls them to come up higher, to join me on this mountaintop.

I have been placed by grace at this living at a this-world-is-not-my-home elevation.
And because of that, everything should be different.
How I do life should be different.
Just like my baking here should be different than there.
I am supposed to be living with my heart and mind “set on things above and not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3)

I am supposed to be “laying up treasure in heaven where moths and rust can corrupt it and thieves can’t break in and steal.” (Matthew 6)

I am supposed to be “living up to what I have already attained” as a follower of Christ as I “press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me”, “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead”, pressing “on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3)

Living in a different way than the world that doesn’t know Him.
Forgiving quickly.
Living like Christ really has “torn down the dividing wall of hostility”.
Loving my brothers and sisters as I have been loved.
And loving those who don’t know the Father yet in the same extravagant way.
Giving generously.
Sharing His love constantly.
Reflecting His image consistently.

I am supposed to be making adjustments at this altitude.
Adding humility, love, kindness.
And subtracting bitterness, strife, anger.
Adding time to every relational equation, being “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry.”
Along with so many other “high altitude adjustments” that are a part of being a disciple of Jesus.

This is the elevation we are called to live at day in and day out.
Not just me – but everyone who claims the name of Christ.

But how quickly I forget the altitude.
I forget to “live up to what I have already attained.”
How easily I slip back into baking at sea level in my Christian life.
I slide down old familiar pathways of worry.
I listen to breathy whispers of old lies from the enemy.
I let my emotions run the show instead of higher elevation realities.
I forget to “take every thought captive to Christ.”
I “lean on my own understanding” instead of trusting.
I forget who I am.
And worse, WHOSE I am.

Because life is so daily.

I have physically adjusted to living above 5,000 feet.
So it’s easy to forget where I am.
But I don’t ever want to adjust to this altitude with Jesus.

Instead, I want to climb higher.
Running hard toward the prize.
Pumping toward the finish line.
Always setting my gaze higher.
Always reaching for the next level.
Being transformed into His image from level to level.
From glory to glory.

Remember where you are, friends.
Look back at how far He has brought you, how high you have climbed.
Live up to what you have already attained with Him.

Remember who you are.
But most of all, remember whose you are.
And let’s keep climbing higher with Him, making those altitude adjustments each day.

Because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how my banana bread turned out.
But I want my life to be a story of “progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3)

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