I've never been a big fan of ladders. Some people are able to put a ladder on the side of their house, climb up to the roof and not bat an eye. When I climb my ladder to the roof I clutch the side of it like I never want to let go. You've probably guessed by now that I'm not big on heights. If I'm sitting in a roller coaster with a seat belt around my waist and a bar across my lap, I'm good! If I'm flying three thousand feet above the ground in a commercial air plane with 200 other people around me, I'm good! But when I'm climbing up a ladder, by myself, the knees start knocking, the hands start sweating and I'm anything but good!
The purpose of a ladder is simple. It's all about ascending. I doubt very much whether the person who made the world's first ladder was thinking of the descent. Descending down was the afterthought , the primary purpose was and always will be ascending up it. It didn't take long for man to develop an interest in climbing upwards.Only 11 measly chapters into the Bible and we start to see our twisted desire to reach for the stars. "Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words. It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly. And they used the bricks for stone, and used tar for mortar. They said. Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name. Genesis 11:1-4 NASB. It only took 6 chapters into the Bible for God to get so frustrated and angry at his creation that he sent a catastrophic flood. After that it took only 5 more chapters for us to build and climb a tower that would reach to the heavens. Didn't God put within us a desire to achieve and to excel? Isn't there something deposited within us that gives us the desire to set goals and go after them. The answer is yes, yes, and yes! The problem is not that we want to achieve, excel and set goals, but rather the things that we choose to excel at and the goals we choose to set.
The ladder principal of climbing upwards did not originate with you or me, it started a long time before that. "How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning! You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world. For you said to yourself, I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God's stars. I will preside on the mountains of the gods far away in the north. I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High." Isaiah 14:12-14 NLT. The most beautiful of all heaven's angelic creatures, Lucifer, said, "I want a ladder that I can climb and become my own little god." And so it began, the ladder principal that has been sewn in the heart of man from the beginning of time. But God decided one day, to show us his ladder and his intended purpose for it- enter Jesus! He came to remind us that ladders can be descended upon as well as ascended upon. His whole life was about climbing down the ladder and in doing so revealed our true purpose to us. If the disciple of Christ is not interested in climbing down the ladder in selfless service to others, he will never reach his ultimate potential and never achieve his created purpose.
In Christ we see the opposite of what we just read in Isaiah 14. The apostle Paul paints a perfect picture of what climbing down the ladder looks like, both for Christ and for those who belong to Him. "Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Phil 2:5-8 NASB. Those are some serious rungs on the ladder that the creator of the universe walked down. This is the ladder we were called to use. Home-Depot ladders may be for ascending, but Heavens ladders are all about the descent. I still have a fear of climbing up a ladder, but the funny thing is that I never feel this way on my way down. It always feels better climbing down, it's what we were created for! "There is no fear in love,(climbing down the ladder), but perfect love cast out all fear."1 John 4:18