Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mountains of the Mind

We all build mountains in our mind.

What are these mountains?  These are the places where we go secretly to engage in those things which we know to be sin.  It's the place where we take our dreamings, our imaginations, our pride.  We take them to be worshipped.

"Worshipped?  That' a pretty big word, isn't it? I mean, I know I have faults and all, but the idea that I would take them and worship them is just silly.  After all, I'm a 21st Century sophisticate - there is no way I'm involved in any sort of worship."

But we are.

Every time we take one of these things - lust, greed, anger - and instead of dealing with directly go to someplace in ourselves to roll it over in our mind and consider it, perhaps even to glory in it, we come to acribe value to it - to give it worth by our spending time with it or "Worth Ship" it, as the origin of the word would have it.

And so we begin the process of building our own mountain. 

Every time we go back to the altar, taking that thing in our mind which we cannot or will not deal with, we bring a small bucket of earth with us to stand on as we go.  Over time, these things begin to build up until, towering in our psychic landscape, stand squatting hills with rough hewn stained altars on the top of them.

Of course worship can't happen without bringing something of value to offer.  Initially it is just our time.  This time becomes more and more as we spend more and more at that altar instead of out in the world.  The time begins to suck in other things - relationships, hobbies, activities - sometimes in the light sense of time, sometimes in the heavy sense of sacrificing those thing through adultery or workaholism or addiction or selfishness.

Given long enough we become slaves of the mountains that we have built, constantly toiling up them to offer sacrifice that we have pulled from other parts of our lives.  In the end, that which have initially built to please us destroys us.

There must be a solution, of course.  There is - but it is the hardest thing of all.  We must tear down the mountains of the mind.

How?  By refusing to climb them or indulge them.  By turning our steps away from them when formerly we go to them.  By refusing to indulge ourselves in our secret sins.

This is not something that can ever be done in one's own strength, of course.  Ultimately there will be parts that we can never reach, effort we cannot make.  Ultimately we are dependent on God and His power to overcome such things.  But that does not excuse us from not making the attempt.

Let not the picture of our lives at the end be someone who has carefully carried all his interests, his relationships, his family - his life - up a mountain and offered them up to something which ultimately was phantom that had power neither to save nor reward.

Let us not be slaves of that which we indulge for ourselves.

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