Come Up Higher

“Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; 2 and He was transfigured before them…and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!’” (Matthew 17:1,2a,5b).

“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:19-23 NKJV).


One of the great discoveries we make when we rise for a little while above the blinding and depressing mists of life’s anxieties and cares to the serene pure air of the mountain-top in the secret place [of fellowship with God], is that ordinarily…

  • we are living much lower down than we might live and ought to live;
  • that we do not appropriate the fulness of God’s grace as we might do;
  • that we might be far happier and far holier than we generally are.

It is in the quiet of the still hour that we hear most distinctly the call to seek a higher life, a life of higher experience, of higher aims, and therefore of higher joys.

1. We ought to rise higher in experience.

How much of the fulness of Divine grace we know almost nothing of! How much belongs to us in Christ that we have never claimed as personally our own! To say that it is the privilege of every Christian to enjoy to the utmost the blessings that flow to him from his union to Christ is not to say enough. It is more than his privilege. It is his duty as well. We not only may be, but ought to be, “strengthened with all might by His Spirit in the inner man,” “abounding in hope,” “kept in perfect peace”.[1]  But do we really seek this ? Do we actually attain it? Is it uncharitable to say that most Christians are only barely alive? Their spiritual pulse is feeble; their spiritual progress is slow; their spiritual victories are few; their spiritual joys are poor. There is no vigor in their faith. … They have “life,” but they have not “liberty.”

…If we understood more fully the reason of His love, we would see that it is quite independent of our worthiness to receive it…Our hope rests not upon our own steadfastness in faith and perseverance in holy living, but on unchanging everlasting grace; the same grace that began in love ending in love as well.

2. We ought to rise higher in expectancy too.

“Grace after grace” is what He promises, but only “according to our faith” will the grace be given; and they who bring the largest pitchers to the fountain take the largest blessing away.[2] The less we expect from the world the better; the less we expect from ourselves the better; but the more we expect from God, the richer, the holier, the happier we are sure to be. Surely He must take it that we expect so little when He says, “Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it”[Psalm 81:10]. We ought to expect to have every one of His promises fulfilled to us, however great it be; and what we need for that is not a stronger faith so much as a faith that is simpler and more childlike.

3. Above all, we need to rise higher in fellowship with God.

… What a wonderful elasticity of spirits is felt by one who has got to the crown of some grey mountain peak! What a feeling of utter calm and of superiority to things below! … If the cares of the lower world disturb us, we have but to climb this hill and we are at once in the serene calm of heaven — a calm that neither care nor sorrow can invade. If the temptations of the world overpower us, it is because we are living too far down. If higher up, we would be beyond the tempter’s voice.

High fellowship with God will make us radiant too as well as calm and safe. The light of heaven will linger longer on our souls … So if we want our souls to be transfigured, and our lives ennobled by the perpetual sunshine of God’s presence, where no sorrow can enshroud us and no sin can live, we have but to seek higher fellowship with Him in His secret place, and live more delightedly among “the things that are above” [Col. 3:1].


Adapted from In the Secret Presence: Helps for the Inner Life When Alone with God, ch. 17. (1905). by Pastor G. H. Knight
(1835-1917).  Introductory Scripture quotes and italics added – JBW

[1] Ephesians. 3;16; Rom. 12:12;Isaiah 26:3
[2] John 1:16; Matt. 9:29

For further reading, see Come Up Higher by Altha Burts: