Can we be transparent here a moment? Or a few moments? Would we agree that we all like to feel good about ourselves, confident in who we are, and especially in what we look like? Confident in what others think of us. Priding ourselves in the "fact" that others admire and esteem us. Maybe even deluding ourselves that others are jealous or envious of us.
I've been doing Beth Moore's study, Daniel, and she's offered quite a challenge to those who will take it; the challenge to examine our mentality and our hearts, to gauge what at times can be their true condition.
She's shown how Babylon was more than a place, it's a mentality and philosophy that prevails to this day. It's a mentality that's summed up in Isaiah 47:8,10 that essentially says, "I am and there is none besides me." We're a force unto ourselves. And as Christians, we have a way of Christianizing, if you will, this mentality. We may think we're above accountability, above correction and instruction. We may feel that because we're a leader in the church or once were, we are no longer subject to such things.
But one thing that we all fall easily prey to, Christian or not, is becoming an image builder. King Nebuchadnezzar may have built a 90-foot golden statue in his image, but we build no smaller egos and images in our present day. Beth says:
"Image building is any way we intentionally make ourselves seem different - and usually more - than we really are. Image building is the attempt to make impressions that are bigger that we are. Image building may begin with what is true but enhances that truth until it is a lie."
She goes on to say:
"We are so thoroughly indoctrinated in image building that I'm not sure we easily recognize the difference between excelling and self-selling."
(That touched a nerve. As in my carotid artery nerve.)
"Babylonian thinkers need others to bow in order to feel tall... Do we feel more important when surrounded by those we deem important? Do we feel more important when someone important notices us? Do we like to be seen with those who seem important? Are we name-makers? Or name-droppers? Even the most timid yes to any of these questions nods its head to Babylonian indoctrination."
Let's take it a step further... Not all of us are surrounded by so-called "important" people, but we are surrounded by the human race, which leaves all sorts of room for making up our own parameters of self-importance.
Do we feel more important when we excel at something that someone else doesn't? When our husband does? When our child does? Do we feed off of being served and being the "best of these," rather than serving and being the least of these? And please don't misunderstand, I've asked myself the same questions. In fact, the Lord and I spent quite a bit of time over these sorts of things this morning.
Mark 10:42-45 says:
"Jesus called them together and said, 'You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
I mean no condemnation towards anyone. We're all in process towards Christlikeness. The scary part though is that we can be so indoctrinated by the Babylonian philosophy and mentality that we cease to recognize it. May we be servants of all, and may we be the least of these. And may our image be that of Christ, and the Holy Spirit our mirror.