Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 4 January 20:
Note: Here is a short video overview of Genesis 11-50 — https://youtu.be/VpbWbyx1008
Note: Here is a short video overview of Psalms — https://youtu.be/j9phNEaPrv8
– Genesis 11:4-6 — Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower… and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth….” And the Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them.
– Genesis 12:8 — And there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord.
– Psalm 1:1, 2 — Blessed is the man who[se]… delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
Ever since Adam and Eve chose to serve self over God, mankind has not only suffered the consequences of sin but has also suffered with the tendency to sin, to likewise choose self over God, to usurp His authority in our lives, to prefer self over Him, to trust self over Him, and to glorify self over Him. Ultimately, everyone chooses whether their god is God or an idol (an artificial, powerless god, usually self). What a person believes about God defines every other decision they make and determines how they will treat other people.
One thing is certain, we make terrible gods – when we seek to lord over our own lives, and naturally, as self-proclaimed gods, seek to lord over the lives of others, we inevitably create needless pain, suffering, misery, destruction and death.
We all make a choice who we will serve, and that choice will determine the outcome of our lives on earth and lives eternal. We will either seek the Kingdom of God and inherit it or attempt to build our own kingdoms on earth which only perish.
– Joshua 24:15 — And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve…. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Today’s readings reveal that people will either attempt to build great towers to themselves or alters to the Lord with their lives. Some unashamedly live life for self, but Christians should examine themselves to ensure they have not expected God to help them build their own kingdoms on earth. Even Christians can be tempted to build towers to themselves rather than alters to the Lord, convincing themselves its all for God. In His love, grace and mercy, God will tear down our towers and destroy our idols, though we might not see his demolition as an act of love. God would have nothing get in the way of your unity with Him. What are you building and why?
– Psalm 127:1 — Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.
– Luke 6:47-49 — Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.
A good question to ask yourself regularly is “Why am I doing what I am doing?” Is what you are doing God-centered or self-centered? Remember, even religious activities or deeds of service can become self-centered when we seek (usually subtly or unconsciously) to glorify self rather than God or to earn the favor of God or others rather than resting upon and celebrating the grace of God alone. Also remember that even though you may have committed to build an alter to the Lord rather than a tower to self, you build one stone at a time, and the temptation always remains to turn the alter into a tower. Fidelity is sustained one decision at a time.
If your self-examination is honest, you will likely recognize that your motives are mixed – you are motived in part to serve God and in part to serve self. Why? Because you are not yet perfected in love but rather are still growing into Christ-like character. Repent where needed, abide in God’s love and grace, and pray that God will continue to grow you in Christ-centeredness.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 4 Jan 20: Today, build an alter to the Lord by glorifying Him, serving Him and enjoying Him one decision at a time. Occasionally, check yourself to ensure you are still building an alter and haven’t transitioned to building a tower dedicated to self.