Monday, September 24, 2012

The Self -Willed Babylon

I've been giving some thought to the culture I live in, and how it is so similar to the Babylon talked about in the Bible. This morning I read Daniel 1, and the thought came to me that being taken captive by the enemy, like Daniel was, and then having a choice as to whether I adapt to my captivity or choose to stay an alien. The enemy of my soul works very hard to make me his captive, and is constantly trying to return me to places that God has called me to leave.  I can choose to have the same attitude as the modern day Babylon that I live in, or choose to stand against it.
In verse eight, it says that Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the Kings choice food or with the wine which he drank. It sounds to me like Daniel drew a line and took a stand. The choice food of the King was food that had been offered to the Babylonian gods, and Daniel was ultimately standing against those gods. His choice was blessed by his God, the God of heaven.
If I make choices that defile me in this modern Babylonian culture, I will eventually forget my identity and loose integrity. I will not know who I am! I imagine this is exactly what happened to all the other captives that were taken to Babylon at the same time as Daniel, and his three friends. They adjusted to the Babylonian culture, and forgot who they were. They were unable to stand for truth.
So, I've been asking myself, how willing am I to stand for truth all the time? How willing am I to keep a life a of integrity, no matter what the cost? I am captive in this world, but God is asking me to live with my feet in heavenly places. He is asking me to be a witness for Him in this world, but not be like the world. He is continually bringing me to places of freedom in Him, while at the same time, showing me how much I am surrounded with a modern Babylonia.
In Isaiah 47 Babylon is described at a place of self-will. The entire culture is about self, total self-absorption. Verse 8 says it well:

"Now then, hear this, you sensual one, Who dwells securely, Who says in your heart, 'I am, and there is no one besides me, I will not sit as a widow, nor know loss of children. But, these two things will come on you suddenly in one day. Loss of children and widowhood. They will come on you in full measure in spite of your many sorceries, in spite of the great power  of your spells. You felt secure in your wickedness and said, No one see's me, your wisdom and your knowledge, they have deluded you. For you have said in your heart, I am, and there is no one besides me.'"

Just like Babylon of old, the culture I live in today is all about self. Everywhere I look, self is encouraged and either blatantly proclaimed or it gradually seeps in to every aspect of thinking. The idea that it is not about me, but about God is completely foreign.  Even in church it ends up being self-driven. What can I get from church? What can I get from this bible study? After all, I am here, and I need something!
But, what if my attitude is the same as Jesus? He walked this earth giving constant glory to God. His life glorified the Father in everything He said and did, all the time. He gave to others, thinking of them and their needs. He knew who He was, and His walk in an ungodly world was nothing but Godly! He did not adjust to the Babylon mentality, but only to the mentality of His Father.
Today, I had some interesting conversation about self and being still. I do hear God telling me to be still, yet in that stillness, I must listen carefully for the next step. I am not being asked to be still so I can reflect on myself, but am called to be still and know that He is God.
Jesus, Lord of Lords, Say That Again! You cover me and take self from me. You move me beyond my own ideas and challenge me to stand against this Babylon I live in!

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