Ascending to the summit of a mountain requires a lot of work – preparation, bodily strain, mental training and spiritual depth – that not everyone is willing to commit to. If you talk to any mountaineer, or anyone who has been on a mentally and physically demanding climb the climb gets inside of a person. There is a sense of exhilaration that comes with the accomplishment, the ownership of taking on the task and the commitment to the training.

The climb changes the person.

The ascent to the summit of a mountain is like our journey closer to the heart of God. There is a decision point, a first step that begins it all. Just as in mountain climbing there are many who choose to make the decision to have relationship with Christ but remain at basecamp.

The decision to start a relationship with Christ is just that, one decision. But each day after that is also a decision. And every believer can take a step up the mountain, ascending closer to the heart of God, or to remain at basecamp.

How do I know? I made my basecamp decision to follow Jesus when I was eight. In my younger years my faith grew through preparation, from children’s church and Sunday school to songs and sermons. But it was not until after college where my decision to follow Christ became more to me than a basecamp destination to which I had already arrived.

The summer after college I got married, moved to a new city and into a male residence hall where my husband was the Resident Director. Together we were campus ministers to the students in our dorms. It was this choice to move away from the “comfort” of choosing a “normal” job and help students grow in their faith (something intangible in many regards) that re-birthed in me the desire to set out on the climb of a lifetime.

Basecamp faith was not enough for me. Basecamp faith could not sustain me because I needed God to show up in my life. I was twenty-two. On my own I did not have the answers my students were looking for. On my own I did not have the strength they needed to wrestle with life’s challenges, faith and scripture.

At the time in ministry we also raised financial support to be able to be on mission with students. It was the financial reliance on God that really stirred in me a hungered for God more than ever, because He was all I had. He was the only one who could make me effective in ministry. He was the only one who could open doors and provide for us in ways that I will never be able to describe. And He did.

He showed up over and over. He proved himself faithful. His faithfulness created a desire for me to be faithful to him as well. The ascent closer to the heart of God for me came out of a place of desperation and longing. My sights were now set on the summit. My perspective forever changed. The desire to know God, to climb, got in my bones. It is like a thirst that cannot be quenched. My longing for more of Him continues.

This climb has changed me.

Along the way the climb adjusted my perspective from temporal to eternal. The ascent closer to heart of Christ is happens one step at a time. And it is the journey of a lifetime I will forever be on.

There is no decision you will make in your life that is more important than this one.

Isaiah 52:7 says, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

The decision to make the climb is beautiful to God. And there is purpose for us on the journey. As we experience God’s heart, as we encounter him along the way, we can share the story of our climb with others. There is something about the climb, it gets inside of us, not unlike a mountaineer setting out on a climb. The excitement is contagious. There are certainly stories to be shared. And people to bring along.

The decision to basecamp – to become a follower of Christ – is just the start. The decision to pursue the heart of Christ, to be molded to be like him is a daily choice to climb higher. The climb is not easy, in fact it can be lonely and hard on mind, body and spirit, but the view at the summit will be worth every struggle and full of a lifetime of stories to share of God’s provisions, miracles and comfort along the way.

Where do you find yourself today? Have you decided to follow Christ? If you have, what have you done with your faith? Do you find yourself like me, in a basecamp faith? Are you timid to leave the comfort of the camp and set out on the journey of a lifetime? Be encouraged, the choice to climb closer to his heart can be made at anytime, anywhere. You just have to say “yes” to the climb.