William Merrill, in 1911, penned these lyrics to the well-known hymn, challenging men to live godly lives and influence their world:
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.
Never has the need been greater than in our time for men with the courage and conviction to live lives of personal holiness and strong Christian conviction in order to be influencers for Jesus in our rapidly-degnerating society. Without strong fathers families fail. Without strong Christian fathers, families, our culture and the world fail!
Peter said in 1 Peter 2:9-12 (NIV):
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
As I pray for revival to come to America, I must first pray that it will come to my life, that I will choose to break free from a luke-warm brand of Christianity and live a life of supreme obedience to my Lord. As a father on this Father’s Day, this is my challenge to all fathers who make the claim of being a Christian. Are you living your faith out to such an extent that you are an influencer for the kingdom amongst your children, your wife, your work associates, your community? Are you presenting a true picture of Jesus to those around you? If not, then revival cannot and will not come to our churches, and the world will continue to see Christianity as only an anemic, poverty-stricken faith.
Consider these convicting words of George MacDonald as expressed through the namesake character in his novel “Thomas Wingfold, Curate” first published back in the late 1870’s:
“The waves of infidelity are coming in with a strong wind and a flowing tide. Who is to blame? God it cannot be, and for unbelievers, they are as they were. It is the Christians who are to blame. I do not mean those who are called Christians, but those who call and count themselves Christians. I tell you, and I speak to each one of whom it is true, that you hold and present such a withered, starved, miserable, death’s-head idea of Christianity; that you are yourself such poverty-stricken believers, if believers you are at all; that the notion that you present to the world as your ideal, is so common-place, so false to the grand, gracious, might-hearted Jesus-that you are the cause why the truth hangs it head in patience, and rides not forth on the white horse, conquering and to conquer. Until you repent and believe afresh, believe in a nobler Christ, namely the Christ revealed by Himself, and not the muffled form of something vaguely human and certainly not divine, which the false interpretations of men have substituted for Him, you will be as, I repeat you are, the main reason why faith is so scanty in the earth, and the enemy comes in like a flood.”
Rise up then, O fathers. Have done with lesser things! We have a soberingly serious duty to present a true Jesus to a dying world if ever a revival in the Church and a spiritual awakening of our culture is to come.
Happy Father’s Day!