Rock Climbing

Guest Post by Chris Russo -Pastor at Seacoast Church

I’ve gotta be honest and say I’m no rock climber, but I have been rock climbing before. I’ve done the kind of rock climbing where a buddy sets up the belay system, so you can climb a sheer rock that’s way out of your comfort zone. A belay is basically a rope system that connects a climber to the top of the rock formation. The belayer is the individual who, with a harness, is tied to you, and is in charge of giving you enough rope to climb. His other job is to make sure that when you fall, you don’t fall far. He has to pay close attention the entire time you’re climbing.

I’ve only done this kind of rock climbing 2 times, but one lesson I took from it is you have to trust the belay if you’re going to climb with confidence. Not only does the person belaying need to know what they’re doing, but the belay system must be set up perfectly.

When you trust the belay system and the belayer, you can feel free to take on challenging climbing routes because the thought of falling doesn’t scare you. You know that no matter how many times you slip, the belayer’s got you…you’re safe. Now, this doesn’t mean you’re not going to fall at all…it just means that when you do, you won’t fall far.

The hardest part is getting comfortable with the little falls. What’s crazy about this is you could have a perfectly set up belay system, the most competent belayer in the world, and still climb with fear. At the end of the day, it’s a matter of trust. For me, I was able to successfully complete the 2 climbs I went on, but both of my ascents were regrettably detracted from by my lack of faith in the belay system. There were just too many “what ifs” flying around in my head for me to chill out and enjoy the experience.

You may already see where I’m going with this, but faith in Jesus works much the same way. When you trust Jesus for your salvation, everything changes. You become a child of the Most High God and he becomes your Father. He promises to never leave you nor forsake you and to always have your back (Deuteronomy 31:6-8). Your belayer and belay system are perfectly set and you are free to climb with complete confidence. It’s perfectly fine and expected for you to make mistakes as God promises to make even the worst things work out for your good and his glory (Romans 8:28).

Simply put: You can’t mess it up, you can’t blow it, and God has your back every step of the way. We are set up to live in total freedom…

But why don’t we always live like that? It is a complicated question, but it all comes down to a battle of truth Vs. lies. The enemy of your soul wants to convince you that the belay system you have been gifted is jacked up and that the belayer doesn’t have your best interest at heart. These are obviously lies, but knowing the truth intellectually and knowing it in your heart are worlds apart. 

So, what do we do to close the gap? How do we get these important truths into our hearts? There are a lot of different ways to do this, but it must first be understood that this is a work of the Spirit and not of the flesh. Time spent in prayer and in God’s word are primary, and time with other believers is also incredibly profitable.

Lies die when you constantly put yourself in environments where the central truths of God’s word are lovingly echoed back to you. As you do this, the Holy Spirit will do his unique work of heart transformation.

If you don’t know Jesus, then you don’t have a belayer or a belay system. If you do know him, then you’re completely set up to live in love and freedom. If you don’t find yourself living a life that’s characterized by freedom, The solution is to surround yourself in spiritual contexts where you are continually reminded that you are God’s child and are safe in your Father’s arms.

If this struck a cord with you today, I would love to pray with you. Please leave a comment below or send me an email to

Thank you for the opportunity to climb with you all,


Published by Shawn McCarthy

While serving as the Weekend Experience Pastor at Seacoast Church, I felt God prompting me to share the moments when He would speak His truth into my life through scripture in a way that made sense to me, giving me tangible ways to learn, grow and lead. These promptings turned into weekly emails that I would send my small groups and volunteer teams. I found myself enjoying the process of digging deeper into God’s Word, being stretched by the writing process, and encouraging others in the faith. My lovely wife, Anna, challenged me to begin this blog, so these moments that I have come to call, my “Red-Letter Moments,” can find a home. My prayer is that you will find hope, comfort, and inspiration here, and above all, you will come to know that the God of the universe loves you and desires a personal relationship with you.”

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