Friday, November 12, 2010

Mountains

In his book Dreaming With God (page 92), Bill Johnson recounts how both Bill Bright (of Campus Crusade for Christ) and Loren Cunningham (of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship) identified seven mountains in society that need invasion by kingdom-oriented individuals. They are:

  • Family
  • Church
  • Education
  • Business
  • Arts and Entertainment
  • Science and Medicine
  • Government
These men are correct. We need people advancing God's kingdom in each of these areas. However, today I want to see these areas in a different light.

Many people look to these places in our culture for help. In times of need some people call family and friends while others call on church relationships. Still others look to their own abilities in business. Finally, there's a growing segment who think it's the government's responsibility to take care of individuals. These resources, in and of themselves, are not necessarily bad things if we look to them as various means through which God provides support. But as I look around, it seems many are looking to these things instead of God. They have become idols. God needs to be the first person we run to for help in our times of need and the best way for this to happen is for us to practice running to Him in our times of plenty.

People who are involved in sports, martial arts and the military know the value of practice. They work on the fundamentals. They learn to control the ball. They learn to overcome their opponent. They learn to hit their target. They train hard so when they are in competition or under fire, the basic responses are instinctual; they don't have to think about them. The proper response becomes automatic. The same needs to be true for us in our relationship with God. We need to know the Word. The place of prayer needs to be familiar. In our hearts, the path to the throne should be well worn, so when times are tough we go to God automatically.

I believe this is the major point of the story of the Ten Virgins.[1] There were ten virgins who went out with lamps to wait for their bridegrooms. While waiting they fell asleep. When the cry went out that the bridegrooms were coming, five found they had enough oil in their lamps but five found they didn't have enough. The oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. There were some who had a history with God that provided a reserve of oil sufficient for the time of need. There were some who had some interaction with God, they had some oil. But they didn't have enough to provide light in the middle of the night.

The mountains look big and strong and enduring and sufficient. But compared to God, they are nothing. He made them and they quake before Him.[2] He is the One who runs over them.[3] The mountains cannot provide the help we need. We need to look to the Lord, from where our help truly comes.[4] In the end, all mountains will be God's.[5]

In a couple weeks, here in the United States we will be celebrating Thanksgiving. During this season, turn your heart first and foremost to God and thank Him for everything you have. Practice being in His presence now so when times are tough the way to your Help is familiar and automatic.

Further reading:

1. Matthew 25:1-13
2. Amos 4:13, Psalm 90:2, Psalm 97:5, Judges 5:5, Job 9:5-6
3. Song of Solomon 2:8,17
4. Psalm 121:1-2
5. Micah 4:1-3, Isaiah 2:2-3, Revelation 11:15