* Relying on achievements for self-worth
The tower of Babel was a great human achievement, a wonder of the world. But it was a monument to the people themselves rather than to God. We may build monuments ourselves (expensive clothes, big house, fancy car, important job) to call attention to our achievements. These may not be wrong in themselves, but when we use them to give us identity and self-worth, they take God’s place in our lives. We are free to develop in many areas, but we are not free to think we have replaced God. What “towers” have you built in your life? (NLT)
Genesis 11:4 – Let’s build a great city with a tower that reaches to the skies—a monument to our greatness! This will bring us together and keep us from scattering all over the world.”
* Depression may follow great achievements
Samson was physically and emotionally exhausted. After a great personal victory, his attitude declined quickly into sef-pity.—“Must I now die of thirst?” Emotionally, we are most vulnerable after a great effort or when faced with real physical needs. Severe depression often follows great achievements, so don’t be surprised if you feel drained after a personal victory.
During these ties of vulnerability, avoid the temptation to think that God owes you for your efforts. It was his strength that gave you victory. Concentrate on keeping your attitudes, actions, and words focused on God instead of yourself. (NLT)
Judges 15:18 – Now Samson was very thirsty, and he cried out to the Lord, “You have accomplished this great victory by the strength of your servant. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of these pagan people?”
* It is pride to take full credit for achievements
God replied to Sennacherib’s taunting words, indicting him for arrogance. Sennacherib believed his kingdom had grown because of his own efforts and strength. In reality, said God, he succeeded only because of what God had allowed and caused. It is arrogance to think we are solely responsible for our achievements. God, as Creator, rules over nations and people. (NLT)
2 Kings 19:21-34 – This is the message that the Lord has spoken against him: ‘The virgin daughter of Zion despises you and laughs at you. The daughter of Jerusalem scoffs and shakes her head as you flee.
‘Whom do you think you have been insulting and ridiculing? Against whom did you raise your voice? At whom did you look in such proud condescension? It was the Holy One of Israel! By your messengers you have mocked the Lord. You have said, “With my many chariots I have conquered the highest mountains—yes, the remotest peaks of Lebanon. I have cut down its tallest cedars and its choicest cypress trees. I have reached its farthest corners and explored its deepest forests. I have dug wells in many a foreign land and refreshed myself with their water, I even stopped up the rivers of Egypt so that my armies could go across!”
‘But have you not heard? It was I, the Lord, who decided this long ago. Long ago I planned what I am now causing to happen, that you should crush fortified cities into heaps of rubble. That is why their people have so little power and are such easy prey for you. They are as helpless as the grass, as easily trampled as tender green shoots. They are like grass sprouting on a housetop, easily scorched by the sun.
‘But I know you well—your comings and goings and all you do. I know the way you have raged against me. And because of your arrogance against me, which I have heard for myself, I will put my hook in your nose and my bridle in your mouth. I will make you return by the road on which you came.’”
Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Here is the proof that the Lord will protect this city from Assyria’s king. This year you will eat only what grows up by itself, and next year you will eat what springs up from that. But in the third year you will plant crops and harvest them; you will tend vineyards and eat their fruit. And you who are left in Judah, who have escaped the ravages of the siege, will take root again in your own soil, and you will flourish and multiply. For a remnant of my people will spread out from Jerusalem, a group of survivors from Mount Zion. The passion of the Lord Almighty will make this happen!
“And this is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria: His armies will not enter Jerusalem to shoot their arrows. They will not march outside its gates with their shields and build banks of earth against its walls. The king will return to his own country by the road on which he came. He will not enter this city, says the Lord. For my own honor and for the sake of my servant David, I will defend it.”
* No achievements can earn you salvation
Most religions require specific duties that must be prformed to make a person acceptable to a god. Christianity is unique in that no good deed that we do will make us right with God. No amount of human achievement or personal goodness will close the gap between God’s moral perfection and our imperfect daily performance. Good deeds are important, but they will not earn us eternal life. We are saved only by trusting in what God has done for us. (NLT)
Romans 3:27-28 – Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on our good deeds. It is based on our faith. So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.
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