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Before videos and DVDs there was a primitive form of media known as Super 8 movies. And that was the medium on which we were able to capture many memories as our kids were growing up, which was a great improvement over what my parents had to record memories when I was growing up. They had a chisel and a stone tablet. Our three children all enjoyed being in the movies, but one of them enjoyed it a little too much. And, no, I'm not about to tell you which one. But this child loved the camera, so much that it didn't matter whose birthday we were filming or what activity, this same little face kept popping up right in front of the camera, effectively blocking out anyone else who might be in the picture.
If it's Louie's birthday - that's not the name of anyone in our family, okay - then Max shouldn't be pushing himself in front and making himself the self-appointed star of a movie that's supposed to be about someone else. It's really not cute and it really messes up the picture. Just ask God. People have been doing that to Him for a long time.
At least as long ago as the infamous Tower of Babel, where we find our word for today from the Word of God, it's in Genesis 11, beginning with verse 4 where "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..." A name for ourselves - one of our favorite things to make, isn't it. The Bible goes on to say, "But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. The Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world."
The tower might as well have been in the shape of a raised, clenched fist. They were saying, "We're going to be the stars here. We want to be important. So we're going to build something that will show everybody, even God, how really important we are." And God responded with serious judgment.
This is a vivid picture of a lesson we all need to remember - the deadly sin of self-importance. It was the beginning of the end for Saul, the Jewish king who started with such promise and a desire to put God out in front. The Bible puts it this way: "He has set up a monument in his own honor" (1 Samuel 15:12). That's a sin many of us could be guilty of. Honestly, could it be that you've been spending a lot of energy promoting yourself? Pushing to be in front? Trying to make a name for yourself, and maybe even using the work of Christ to do it? Could it be that you've really been building your own kingdom more than His kingdom? That's pretty dangerous ground. Just ask the people at the Tower of Babel.
The word "sin" and the word "pride" have that same middle letter, don't they - "I." Pride cost Lucifer his place in heaven. Pride is always expensive. God won't tolerate it. He hates pride and self-promotion. There's only one Name we should be drawing attention to. It is the name of Jesus. There's only one Star in God's constellation, and His name is Jesus. And there's only one kingdom to be building with our time and our money, and it's the kingdom of Jesus.
It's natural to push ourselves to the front, but it's wrong. And maybe, without realizing it, that's what you've started to do. From Babel to your life and mine, self-importance and self-promotion are sins that God just won't tolerate. "He must increase; (John said) I must decrease" (John 3:30). If the wrong person's out in front, rearrange the picture. You and I are the background for an awesome Savior. He's the foreground! He's the only star!