Jesus warns his followers 3 times in Matthew 6 not to practice their piety, or worship, publicly for means to be seen by others. Rather, Jesus commands his disciples to do these things in private, or at least without the intention of people watching. When Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up the mountain in Matthew 17, maybe it is because something similar is happening here.
Often times in the Bible, we see God take his people in private and bring them up somewhere to reveal his glory. Moses is brought up the mountain, Jesus brings the 3 up the mountain for the transfiguration, the Sermon on the Mount, and the giving of the Great Commission. Think of the famous mountain in the Bible: Sinai, Zion, Olives, Tabor, and Carmel.
Repeatedly in these stories, God brings his people up – symbolizing a drawing close to God – which happens often times in private.
So lets return to the transfiguration. Jesus takes his closest 3 disciples up the mountain and it is here in private that Christ’s glory is revealed to them the first time. In the Old Testament, Moses’ face was shining because of the reflection of God’s glory. However, in Jesus his glory is in fullness in him so that even his clothes are a dazzling white.
Yes, it is vital for the Christian life to meet in community and fellowship as the body of Christ, but we must not neglect our own personal walk with the Lord as well.
After all, it is often in these private encounters when God reveals his glory to us.
Be reasonable. Do not try to jump in head first to hours a day spent with God, but spend some time with him. Already spend some? Spend a bit more with him. Draw near to God and he promises to draw near to us (James 4:8).