Challenge Central: a CBC devotional
By: John Kerr
While flying into Abbotsford this spring, I was treated to a view of the Rocky Mountains that I had never experienced. Flying across a cloudless sky the scope of those mountains was breathtaking. Valleys and rivers abounded. I am sure that I saw places that had never been walked on by a man. I tried to imagine hiking through those imposing heights, paddling along fresh water and camping in the shadows of those rocky peaks. It was a highlight of my trip.
As we passed over the mountains one word came to mind: perspective. In the plane I had a perspective that was unique. I am not sure at what altitude we were flying, but obviously it was at least several thousand feet above the mountains. From that altitude it wasn’t easy to pick out details, but I could imagine what I was missing.
Many years ago, I heard a sermon by a missionary whom I greatly admired. He taught that battles weren’t won on the mountains, but armies fought on the plains. Mountains were a place to retreat and to hide and to regroup. So, when we talk of “mountain top” experiences we must realize that the mountain tops are not a place where battles are won.
One biblical example that comes to mind is that of Elijah in 1 Kings 17 through 19. Elijah is one of the most revered of the Old Testament prophets. He became known as the prophet who would precede the Messiah and he appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration with Moses. His exploits are many, especially when he took on the prophets of Baal and defeated them soundly. Yet he fled into the mountains out of fear of Jezebel. He was so afraid that at one point he cried to God, “O Lord, take away my life.” Through wonderful signs to Elijah, the Lord ministered to him and restored him. At the end of his despair God revealed to him that seven thousand had not bent the knee to Baal.
For some reason, Elijah had lost his. However, in the mountains he regained that perspective and was restored. The plains were a place of victory, but the mountains were a place of restoration.
On several occasions Jesus went into the mountains to seek a time alone with His Father. It was on the plains where He ministered to the people, performing many miracles and teaching those who would listen about the Kingdom of God.
Paul spoke of having the mind of Christ “who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God… and took upon him the form of a servant.” Jesus called His followers to take up their cross and follow Him.
Biblical perspective runs counter to the world. The first shall be last, the greatest shall be least and the way to life is to lose it. To gain this perspective takes work and discipline. Artists have to learn perspective in order to make their art make sense. We have to learn perspective in order to enjoy the fullness of the Christian life.
I don’t know if I will ever witness the splendour of the Rocky Mountains as I did that day. On the return trip the clouds obscured the view that I had enjoyed the first time. Since then, I have been aware of that need to have a Biblical perspective in my life so that I may be ready to fight the battles that will present themselves as I seek to walk with Jesus.