“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 (NIV)
As we saw in Genesis 11 last week, the Babylonians were driven by improper ambition to create a tower that would reach the heavens and make a name for themselves, a temptation that still plagues humankind today. When we create out of a desire to make a name for ourselves, or, to put it in more modern terms, to accumulate fame and fortune, we are essentially trying to save ourselves.
When the Babylonians invented the art of brick making, they weren’t content simply putting that innovation to work to build better roads and homes. They had to leverage their creation to make a name for themselves. Why? What is it about the human condition that causes us to use our work as a tool for proving something to the world? Deep down, all human beings know there is something wrong with us. We know we are flawed. We know we aren’t “right.” Deep down, we know that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Ever since Adam and Eve committed the first sin in the Garden of Eden, we have been trying to cover up these flaws, not with fig leafs, but with our accomplishments. We think that if we write a bestselling book, or sell a business for millions of dollars, or sign a record deal, or get 100,000 Instagram followers, or build the world’s tallest tower, then we’ll be able to mask our sinful human condition. Essentially, we use work as a means of saving ourselves.
But as Christians, we know that the work of salvation is complete! Because Jesus said, “It is finished,” we no longer have to use our work as a means of saving ourselves. What incredible freedom we will experience when we let that truth really sink into our hearts! Because of the gospel, we are free to work and create not as a means of making a name for ourselves, but as an act of worship to the One who made us, saved us, and called us to create. As we will see in next week’s devotional, this truth replaces our improper ambitions with healthy ambition that flows out of a love for Christ and a desire to make His name famous throughout this earth and the next.