At youth group the other night we created a representation of what a life is built upon. The goal was to imagine all the different things that make up a life. We all have certain ideas how we would like our lives to look. Goals and ideas as to what would make our life the best it could be. As we look at the different things here, we realized that they are not inherently bad. They get to be problematic when they are not kept in the proper perspective.
God has a rightful place in your life and it isn’t the leftovers, or the hour on Sunday morning. His place is the place that is front and center. It is as Lord of your life, not as someone who you might occasionally get some advice from.
Many people piece together dreams, ideas, skills, and desires into one big pile of stuff to stand on. The temptation for many is to then take it and offer it to God and saying, “see, look what I have done for you, God!” But, if it is all about you, none of that amounts to anything. For an example from the Old Testament, we look at the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11.
We must go from “me” to “He.” In other words, to go from me as the king and Lord of my life to God being God in my life. There are certain characteristics of a life that does that.
Live God’s Way
God needs to be the one we obey. If we aren’t obeying God, we are probably just listening to our own ideas. The people at Babel are no different. They want to have a certain life, to live a certain way. God has a different idea in mind, though and had commanded them do spread out and inhabit the land. (Genesis 9:1)
After the flood there was a need to disperse and to multiply. This was the command from God and the people here ignored it, in favor of what they thought was a better way.
Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” – Genesis 11:4
This is a prideful situation, an obvious case of disobedience. They want to reach God through the sky and they did not want to be scattered, despite what God said.
It was thought that they could build something tall enough to either reach god, or become great like a god. They just refused to do what God wanted and made up their own way. That has been our problem all along. We tell God that we have a better idea. God knows you, He created you. He created the world. Don’t you think that just maybe He would know what He is doing?
Exalt “thee” not “me”
You know the song I exalt thee? What if we changed the words to “I exalt me.” That just wouldn’t feel right. Yet, that is exactly what the people were doing.
Not only did they want to reach the heavens, to be great, but they wanted to make a name for myself for all time.
The appeal is to follow the world, to be happy and to do what feels good. People want to make their lives the best they can be. What do we have to boast in? Anything? I didn’t make myself breathe. I didn’t speak and create the stars in the sky, or tell the moon where to hang in the sky.
So, it is not us making a name for ourselves. It is us making much of the great name that is above all names, our living God, our Savior, and lining our life up to Him
Surrender to God’s method of reaching you
Here they thought they build this amazing sky scraper of a building in order to reach the heavens and what happens?
But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building – Genesis 11:5
The Lord has to come down in order to see it. So much for reaching the heavens. Do you see what that is showing us? No matter how hard we try to reach God, our efforts are completely insufficient. Our efforts will never reach God. But God very easily and willingly came to them. He does the same for us.
This story, even though it was many years before Jesus Christ was born in a stable, highlights mankind’s need for a Savior. We can walk up to God and show him this wonderful life filled with so many great things and it will not be enough to reach him. He has to come to us.
Our sin takes us far away from God. Our lives and the things we try to do with them might look alright to us, but the Bible still tells us that we are objects of wrath because of our sin. There is this huge gap between us and God because of sin and no amount of fancy building can get us to God. We cannot reach Him.
But God didn’t wait for us to come to Him, He came to us. He scatters them around the world, mixes up their languages, not because He is threatened by them but because He wants them to trust Him and not in themselves because a lack of trust in God spells trouble for people.
It is going from me to he when we open up our hand to God and say, “here is my life, do with it what you would like because I trust you.”
How willing are you to let God be first in all areas of your life? What makes it difficult or easy for you?