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“Rise up, O men of God”

10/15/2017

“Rise up, O men of God”

I heard this old hymn recently and I was struck by the first verse:

“Rise up, O men of God!
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and mind and soul and strength
to serve the King of kings.”

A.W. Tozer wrote

“What we think about when we are free to think about what we will – that is what we are or will soon become.”

How many of us are caught up with “lesser things”?  I know I deal with this.  I get so caught up (either on purpose or by default) with stuff that just doesn’t matter, has no bearing on anything eternal.  I waste time on frivolous thoughts and activities.  YouTube, for example,  is a brain sucker and time waster.   Hours of it,  no matter how educational (that’s what you watch on YouTube, right?) is still a waste of time, a lesser thing, a non-essential to the Kingdom thing.  I don’t do Facebook, but I understand that it is exhibit A of lesser things, where lesser things are the main thing.

Here are some questions on “lesser things” that hopefully will be thought provoking for you:

– Is the amount of time you think about (and spend time and money on) your hobbies, shopping and sports truly really wisely spent or are they in the category of “lesser things”?

– Are the good things you are dedicated to just not really so important, in the eternal view of things?  Are they something Jesus would recommend for you to think about, to do, along these lines:  “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things”?

– Are your idle thoughts about most everything else except Jesus?  When your thoughts wander, do they go to the incredible God you serve, and the inscrutable Mercy He has shown you, and to His abundant undeserved Grace?  Are we taken up with Jesus, His person, His love and the sacrifice He made for our salvation?  Do we think about our sin and how we need to repent and be living Holy lives for a Holy God? Or do your thoughts wander to the inane, inconsequential, often profane, non-eternal things?

– When you wake up in the morning, are your first thoughts not worthy of One Who’s sins have been forgiven by the precious Blood of Jesus?

– Have you really given your all to serve God or are you serving yourself?

– What does your credit card statements reflect about your priorities: are they lesser things or the greater things of God?

– Are the books and magazines you read part of the world’s system, designed to lure you away from God, or are the words that cross your eyes uplifting you, causing you to hunger and thirst for righteousness?

– Does your browser history show that you are dedicated to righteousness or folly?

– Are the text messages you send uplifting, pointing others to God as the Source of all wisdom and knowledge and power or are they about the inane and frivolous and trite, “lesser things”?

–  God said you are to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul,  and with all your strength, and with all your mind.”  With what goes on in your heart, soul, body and mind, have you really given all to Jesus?

– With our hands raised and eyes closed, we sing, “All to Jesus, I surrender, all to Him I freely give.”   Really?  Or was that just a bald face lie in the face of God to impress others and make us feel like we are dedicated believers and followers of Jesus?

– Are we in the church today pursuing the lesser things of buildings, calendars, status, numbers and image management? Are we pursuing the furthering of the Kingdom of God, in our time and budgets, giving “heart and mind and soul and strength to serve the King of kings”,  or are we pursuing our own little kingdom?

For if we truly sang, “Rise up, O men of God! Have done with lesser things” and took Tozer seriously, with sincerity in our most private inward being, in spirit and in truth, then our lives would look a lot different than they do today.  Most of what we think is important would fall away, and only Jesus and the things of God would become important.

We would pursue upward thoughts, be passionate for God’s Word.  Our first thoughts in the morning and our last thoughts at night would be thoughts of God.  We would seek out those who have like minds, so we can think God-thoughts together.  Our gatherings would be God-centered, prayer-centered, Scripture-centered, and not for our comfort and “felt needs”.   We would become dedicated to the most important ideas and things in life, the things that God wants us to think, and we would become an oddity to our friends and neighbors, because we would no longer think, look or speak like them.  We would be dedicated to the eternal issues of life, to the things that transcend our short time here.  We would become sober-minded, not caught up with the latest fad, the latest styles, the latest personality.  We would become people who “live on purpose”, instead of living haphazardly, or living vicariously through others.  We would live as if eternity matters, and our mantra would be “the world has nothing to offer”.

Is that what we see in the Christian culture today or are we caught up with the inconsequential, lesser things?   Is that what you see in your life?

May we truly be done with lesser things, and with all our being, embrace the most important things.  We will find that life will finally have meaning, and we will have the satisfaction that our lives are a part of something God-ordained, something bigger than ourselves, something lasting, something eternal.

 

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