Mountain climbers are willing to risk it all for a chance to reach the summit of the world’s highest mountain. Jim Wickwire, after conquering K2—the second-highest mountain in the world, bordering Pakistan and China—tried to climb the world’s tallest mountain, Mt. Everest. But the weather became too treacherous. He waited for a month close to the summit but had to retreat for lack of time. He said when you get up that high, you only have to make one serious misstep and you’re dead. That has happened to many climbers.
Wickwire, who coauthored Addicted to Danger with Dorothy Bullitt, underscores the many dangers mountain climbers face. In his book, a man related a story about how he watched one of his best friends fall into a crevasse; this man had already broken his shoulder, so he couldn’t retrieve his friend. He just had to sit there and watch him die. He has had many friends die around him, and he keeps climbing.
I may not agree with all of their motives for climbing, but one thing I admire about mountain climbers is their adventurous spirit. They embrace life in a more adventurous way than most.
Do you realize that, as a teenager, you are being offered something far more exciting? God has given you the tallest mountain—spiritual Everest—the highest mountain man will ever climb. If you reach the peak—if you conquer that mountain—you can help Jesus Christ rule the world and the universe forever! God offers young people the chance to actually be kings in the wonderful kingdom He is about to establish over the whole Earth.
What a challenge God gives young people! There will be dangers. In fact, most young people are slipping—wasting their lives on frivolous pursuits.
You, however, can be different. You can reach the peak.
God has called you to the greatest adventure in the history of man. Can you capture some of that adventurous spirit? Let us consider how to reach the summit of our spiritual mountain.
First of all, you will never reach the summit by just talking about it; it requires action. And there is only so much time to take action!
“The words of king Lemuel [Solomon], the prophecy that his mother taught him. What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows? Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings” (Proverbs 31:1-3). You need a certain strategy to reach the summit of your mountain. Part of this strategy is staying away from things that are not for kings. Your potential is to become kings, and there are certain things kings shouldn’t do. Solomon particularly mentions to the young men not to give their strength to women.
Solomon’s mother knew what she was talking about. We see young men give their strength to women and amount to nothing. They can’t climb any mountain because they can’t control their passions. Anybody can act like an alley cat or a stray dog. But you must act like kings! That’s what you are; that’s not a fantasy.
The filth and vulgarity in this age is something to behold. With the Internet, you can view all kinds of nudity and perversion. That’s the age we’re living in. What’s wrong with that? You can wreck your lives before even learning how to live. You’ll grow up and become addicted to lustful sex and never be able to understand the real beauty of a family perhaps until after many years of instruction. Solomon was told by his mother, It’s not for kings to get into such slop as that. It’s all around you, and if you don’t heed these words, you will give in to it because it’s such a strong pull. Get rid of your computers altogether if you can’t control that.
God wants you to focus on family. He wants you to have an exciting spouse. He wants sex between a loving husband and wife to hold that family together—to strengthen that union. Yet, look at how illicit sex has destroyed families.
“It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink” (verse 4). Don’t let drink take you away from God or cause you to make ungodly decisions. Verse 5: ”Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.” That kind of lifestyle perverts your judgment. It keeps you from realizing your potential—from reaching the mountain peak.
Becoming a king is not easy, but it can be done. You just have to climb a large mountain.
In Addicted to Danger, the authors highlight the need for strong leadership on an expedition to make it all the way to the top. If you are to make it to the top, you will need to look to strong leadership. You must know if someone is telling you what Jesus Christ says. Allow people to lead you away from Him, and you’ll get killed as you climb the mountain.
Now, don’t be discouraged. If you’ve found yourself slipping, God is merciful—if you repent. He will give you a chance to redeem yourself if you are serious about living the way He says.
Familiarize yourself with Matthew 24. Most religious teachers today talk a lot about the Gospels (the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), but not much about Matthew 24. In this chapter, Jesus Christ gives a brief synopsis of the events to occur immediately prior to His return to Earth. The first warning He gives is for you to not be led away from His truth because of false leaders (verse 5).
Verse 12 states, “And because iniquity [or lawlessness] shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” Young people must learn what real love is. This magazine may be corrective at times, but only because we love you. We want to help you reach the summit. We want to tell you when you are about to slip off the mountain. But we can’t pull you up there ourselves. You need to respond to God’s leaders, accept loving correction, and continue climbing.
This world loves to talk about love. Yet, look around you. Violence, crime, war, divorce—these problems are getting worse. That is not love! But what did Christ say about this end time? The love of many will grow cold. Oh sure, people may still talk about love. They may talk about climbing the mountain, but reaching the summit requires action!
“But he that shall endure unto the end [or the mountain summit], the same shall be saved” (verse 13). Jim Wickwire states about one of the mountains he was climbing, “After about 300 feet, I determined it was safe to crampon across the mountain’s upper north face toward the colonel [Colonel Steve]. Steve and I had just begun our traverse when I heard a sharp, scraping sound. As I spun around, I saw Al on his stomach, sliding headfirst down a 40-degree slope. … Steve thought he saw Al and Dusan, still roped together, slow down before disappearing down a narrow gully. Maybe they had landed on a ledge? ‘We’ve got to descend fast if we’re going to help them,’ I insisted. Belayed by Steve, I climbed down to a dome of snow where I could see all the way to the Gilman Glacier 4,000 feet below. Shaped like a V, the steep gully had rock outcrops on the left side, snow on the right, but no ledge. No one could survive such a fall. Looking down the gully, I felt sick. ‘Dusan! Al!’ I yelled pointlessly, knowing I would hear no answer.”
The book then discusses why these climbers might have fallen. “[T]hese friends died right in front of me. As Steve and I walked away from Peak 8440, I kept asking myself how this could have happened to such competent climbers. Did Al and Dusan disdain the steps I kicked for them to use?”
An interesting observation. He kicked and chipped out steps where they could walk to make it safe for them; but, it appears, they somehow didn’t want to use those steps. And they both died.
How many people have you seen fall headlong into the worst disaster that could ever befall them? Think about that. God wants you to understand this deeply, not to just have an emotional experience.
There once was a man who kicked and chipped out steps for you to walk on. His name was Herbert W. Armstrong. He died in 1986, but you hear a lot about him in this magazine. That’s because he was a spiritual mountain climber. And we want you to follow in the tracks he left behind.
If you like, we will send you your own copy of Mystery of the Ages. It’s written in a simple, straightforward, understandable way. Study it—it will help you understand the Bible. It will help you see that the Bible is not an old, outdated manuscript. It was written for today! It was written for you—to help you reach the summit. Any mountain climber needs instruction and teaching. The Bible provides that. Mystery of the Ages puts all of the pieces of the Bible together like a jigsaw puzzle. It will help you understand the Bible. Any young person serious about spiritual mountain climbing needs both—the Bible and Mystery of the Ages.
Get in Shape
“During the four months preceding the trip,” one climber noted in Addicted to Danger, “I did more to get in shape than before any previous expedition. I ran nearly every day, climbed stairs, and undertook a rigorous weight program to strengthen my arms and shoulder muscles.” He had to be in top physical form to climb a mountain.
How much will we get in shape to climb this spiritual mountain? Love is growing cold in society and in families because people are not sharpening their spiritual tools. They are losing touch with God.
Again, this means action. There are two ways, primarily, in which you get to know your Creator. First, by praying you are actually talking to God. Second, when you study the Bible, God is talking to you.
Now, prayer is something most young people don’t do. By prayer, I’m not talking about a group of teens holding hands, praying openly in front of the school before the bell rings. Neither am I talking about vainly repeating the so-called “Lord’s Prayer” before the start of your school basketball game. I’m talking about the kind of prayer God loves, where you go into the privacy of your own room, shut the door, kneel down, and talk to God like you would your best friend.
Read Luke 18:10-14. In that passage, Christ describes two different people, one who prays to get noticed—to be thought of as righteous—and one who prays in private, admitting his sins before God. Which one do you think Christ exalts?
Matthew 6:5-13 and Luke 11:1-4 give you a clear, concise outline around which you can build your prayers. That doesn’t mean you should just repeat those passages over and over. That doesn’t mean anything to God. God wants meaningful conversation. Base your prayers on that outline, and then talk. Tell God about your fears and worries. Admit your faults and sins. Pray for others—ask God to forgive your enemies. Pray that His Kingdom would come soon so that this world’s suffering might end. And ask Him to teach you how to reach the summit!
If you pray for God’s guidance, then act! Open your Bible. Study Mystery of the Ages along with your Bible. That will enable you to understand God’s master plan. You need this understanding. That will help you realize why you are climbing the mountain.
Beyond that broad perspective, the Bible fills in so many other details—it’s astounding really. Did you know that there is an entire book of the Bible devoted to young people especially? The book of Proverbs will teach you how to live properly. Do you want to be a success? Do you want honest, reliable friends? Do you want to be honest and reliable? What about a happy marriage? Do you want good health for your entire life? The book of Proverbs gives instruction on how to succeed in all these areas. You just have to be a teen who acts—who studies those principles and then puts them into action.
The Apostle Paul explained in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” God’s Word is inspired and is profitable for you—if you will use it. How? 2 Timothy 2:15 explains: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
We can help provide you with the proper tools: Mystery of the Ages, this magazine. But you must use them. And that means work—hard work. Mountain climbers have to be in the best possible shape to ever be able to reach their goal. The same is true for you to reach the spiritual summit.
Reaching the Summit
Time is fast running out on this evil society. Fix your eyes firmly on the summit and the reward you will receive for reaching it. “After two days of superb climbing, most of it on ice, and a few short stretches on exquisite granite,” this man wrote after reaching the mountaintop, “we stood on Abbe’s summit. Knowing that we were the first ever to stand there, I felt elated.”
What will it be like to get to the top of this spiritual mountain? Seize the moment now, and you’ll be the first ones to reach the top. Talk about being elated! That will be an experience unparalleled in all eternity. Could there be anything greater?
If mountain climbers can risk injury and death to climb a physical mountain, then certainly we can risk it all to climb this spiritual mountain. And we can use the Spirit of God to make this the greatest adventure of our lives. So let’s get prepared (Luke 1:17), get in shape, and make sure that we reach the summit. There will never be an opportunity like it ever again, for all eternity!