Wednesday, May 31, 2006

NASCAR versus the Mountain

For ye have need of patience, that, having done the will of God, ye may receive the promise
(Hebrews 10:36 – ASV)

Growing in grace is more like climbing a mountain than driving in a race. In mountain climbing, it isn’t how fast you go, it’s how high you climb. Mountain climbers are not rewarded for how quickly they move, but by how surefooted they are. Many Christians today, however, see spirituality like a NASCAR race, they want to go fast, move quickly and get somewhere now. What winds up happening is that they just go around in circles, spinning their wheels, as it were. They move real fast, but they are going nowhere, just round and round again. They may “burn rubber”, but they also may burn out.

Contrast this with the mountain climber, who, as they go up, they mark where they have been with a peg, and they hold on to a rope. They go slow and steady, not needing and not wanting to make big leaps all the time. If they should falter, they are holding on to the rope, and they can only fall so far, because they have attached the rope to the pegs, and these are tied into the mountain, so they can only fall so far before they feel the tug, snap, and support of where they have already been.

As well, mountain climbers rely on persons who know and have ascended parts of that particular mountain, called a Sherpa. A Sherpa means someone who carries loads at high altitudes. Because their physical prowess at high altitudes is unmatched, they are the backbone of climbing expeditions. But Sherpa won’t throw you up the mountain, they help you to climb, slow and steady. A good pastor or teacher is like that. They go with you, they know the way, and they don’t promise you any certain speed, just certain success, if you are faithful, not fast.

Racing is more glamorous than mountain climbing, to be sure. A lot of people get to watch you speed around, but a lot of people get to watch you crash as well. Conversely, only a few people will get to see someone ascend a mountain, let alone wanting to do it. But when its done, it is quite an accomplishment, a once in a lifetime achievement, not something that happens every weekend. Ask yourself: is God interested in the speed or the summit?

In the Christian experience today we often see advertisements or hear of people who promise to give us a “new anointing” or bring us to a “new level”, or something like this. Vroom, vroom, goes the mind, and we’re off and running. Immature or backslidden believers might think these so called apostles and prophets have what they need, but they are actually “false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:13). They mention new dimensions, new authority, and greater faith, but little is said about repentance, let alone the beauty of Christ.

They will call you “valiant warriors” or “gifted intercessors” or some other thing that appeals to your flesh. The truth is that these “gift gurus” are often counting on the fact that you are already entered into the race for recognition, instead of climbing the mountain of maturity. When these “speed week” events become your primary nourishment, they lead to needing more pit stops and having more wrecks. Stop wasting your time on these charlatans. They are more like voodoo priests than men of God.

We need more spiritual Sherpa, not spiritual Shaman.

1 comment:

Jerry Bouey said...

How true! Good stuff. Too often modern Christendom gets caught up in the glitz and glamour - the entertainment and excitement - which never lasts because it is not really, but just a show. Real Christianity is less exciting, but more lasting; less showy, but more real.

I would rather have my walk with the Lord with all its troubles and true triumphs, than have what I see many of my (professing) brethren falling for - when the trials come their way, they fall apart. When the trials come my way (like some I have experienced within this past year), I don't stumble, but learn to cling to God's hand more, and He is able to use me as a guide to help others along. BUT those others settling for the glitz and glamour are continually seeking another shaman (as you put it), and never seem to get to the place where they can help others in their climb.

I know which type of Christianity I would rather settle for - and I already have it!

Habakkuk 3:19 The LORD God is my strength, and he will make my feet like hinds' feet, and he will make me to walk upon mine high places.

P.S. Thanks for letting me blog on your blog! ;)