The Worshipful Man, and What you Delight In

Posted on January 29, 2011 by

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We sometimes spend a lot of time dwelling on the things that are wrong with American manhood. At least I do. And it needs to be done. Scripture is full of examples of men whose fleshliness and apathy towards God’s Word disqualified them from being able to be effective leaders of families or nations. But making that our prime focus is like pointing out all of the symptoms without suggesting a cure. Fortunately, the Scriptures are also quite specific about what godly manhood looks like.

One thing that we know that godly manhood isn’t: it isn’t self-focused. Godly manhood is not caught up in pleasing itself, gratifying itself, and in essence, worshiping itself. Self-worship is the mark of immaturity. The opposite of immaturity is worshiping Christ. And when I say “worshiping Christ,” I mean actually living out your life in a worshipful way.

Psalms 15 and 24 tell us exactly what that looks like. Both of these Psalms are about worship, and they both describe similar, yet distinct, qualifications for living out a life of worship. So what does the worshipful man look like?

Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.
(Psa 24:3-6)
One of the defining characteristics of the worshipful man is that he has not “lifted up his soul unto vanity.” The ESV translates this, “does not lift up his soul unto what is false.”
Lift up my soul? What does that mean?
I think we can get a clue about what David means by how he uses this same phrase elsewhere:

Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
(Psa 86:4)

So when David says “lift up my soul”, what he actually means is “actively searching out a source of joy.” The worshipful man, then, does not actively search for joy (satisfaction, contentment, fulfillment) in things that are “vain” – or as the ESV has it, “false.”
What are some “false” things in which we tend to want to find our joy or fulfillment? Here’s three I thought of, in no particular order:
  • Successes – even successes in ministry. Jesus said we should find our joy in the fact that our names are written in heaven, not in the fact that we are able to cast out demons (Luke 10:20). Be honest – which one would excite you more?
  • The world’s entertainment offerings – How many times do we spend precious hours discussing the latest songs and movies that the world has to offer? When was the last time you sat down to eat with a group of young people that the conversation didn’t go down that road? That’s not to say that all entertainment is necessarily evil. But too much of it today is focused on promoting a worldview that is false – exactly the sort of thing David says shouldn’t trip our trigger.
  • Self – Because, when it comes right down to it, we are absolutely terrified that people will think badly of us. And the thing that gives many of us the greatest joy is when we get the approval of others.
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Posted in: food for thought