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Have a 'greater than' life

Pastor's corner

POSTED: April 27, 2009 3:54 p.m.
In elementary school mathematics, the concept of values is taught with the use of two mathematical symbols: > and <. > means “greater than.” < means “less than.”
For example: 16 > 8 is expressed, “16 is greater than 8.” 7 < 12 is expressed, “7 is less than 12.”
Values are a part of our everyday existence. They are what drive the different aspects of our day. Every activity in our lives carries with it a specific value. It’s what decides how people prioritize their lives.
It is sadly humorous that if you poll average people about what’s important to them, they will almost always offer you a list of things that supposedly are significant to their lives. Their lists range from health and weight loss or control, to financial security, to strong family and spiritual relationships. However, if one were challenged to prove the importance of these topics, I believe they’d find these are actually the least important aspects of life.
It has become very easy to complain about one’s weight or physical condition only to, moments later, order the greasiest, most fattening thing available. It is very common to determine that one needs more time with family, only to go home and spend three or four hours mindlessly watching television. Many talk about their concerns for their financial future, only to pull out the credit card or refinance papers on their home to purchase the next thing they “just have to have.”
God’s people need to rediscover the “greater than/less than” principle. We are, by God’s design, incredibly inventive creatures. I can remember having a discussion — almost an argument — with my teacher over “greater than/less than” in math. In one assignment, I determined that 7 > 12. She marked the problem incorrect. By her way of thinking (and the math book’s), seven is not greater than 12. Seven is less than 12. However, my argument was that seven is my favorite number. It was the number that God made as completion and, therefore, was the greatest of all numbers. I suppose it’s all in how you define it.
That is precisely how we look at life. We have one set of values that operate on facts and data. We have another set of values that are purely subjective based on our immediate desires and whims. Is seven really the greatest number? Is it of greater value than five, which is the number of grace? Or, perhaps three, which is the number of the Trinity? Where would we be without good old number eight, the number of new beginning.
Many quote true realistic values as if they were priorities. However, they live by the things that are of real importance to their desires, things that promote immediate pleasure, even at the cost of sacrificing the true priorities.
A life whose values are based on the emotions and desires of the moment ultimately becomes an empty life. A life measured by the things that truly matter is a life of great worth. God created a value system. He created you with the ability to capitalize on that value system. If you do, you will prosper from the soul out.
Start communicating a desire for good health and a firm, fit body. Then quit stuffing that body full of unhealthy junk. Make the statement that being debt free is “greater than” new belongings. Then quit pulling out the credit card because you need that new gadget or item.
Learn the difference between what is “greater than” and what is “less than.” Let the litmus test for it be the fruit that is produced over time, not by the moment. If you do, you will find yourself living a “greater than” life.  
Byler is the senior pastor of Bethesda “The Amazing Life” Church.
 

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