A-1 - Encouraged by What You Read?

In the Bible, Babylon symbolizes every people or culture that opposes God. It was also a real place that earned a real reputation. Babylon was founded by Nimrod, the grandson of Noah’s son Ham. Nimrod’s generation was not far removed from the time of the great flood. He knew the reasons for the flood—that God had judged the people of the world for their sinfulness. He knew that the Lord had saved his grandfather and great-grandfather in the ark. He should have been a thankful and devoted worshipper of God. But instead, he built a city dedicated to defying Him.

 

Read Genesis 11:1-9. The citizens of Babel, the original name of Babylon, deliberately rejected the one true God their ancestors had served. In Genesis 11:4 we read, “Then 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.’” On the top of that tower in the middle of the city of Babel, they sought independence from God—the essence of idolatry, self-worship, and pride.

 

The god of self still reigns supreme in our culture today, and if we are honest with ourselves, it often reigns supreme in our own hearts. This self-worship is one of the greatest temptations we will face as children of God living in the City of Man.

 

We might think, “I don’t worship myself,” but how often do we choose ourselves over God? How often do we say, “God, I’d rather do this my way”? How often do we compromise with Babylon?

 

Be on your guard against the god of self. It’s a subtle idolatry that is easily rationalized. But the idolatry of self is the religion of Babylon. Only as we humble ourselves before God can we be delivered from its grips, and so become “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation” (Philippians 2:14).

 

We live in challenging times. But God has a word for citizens of the City of God living in the City of Man: If by the power of the Holy Spirit we will live blameless lives, exemplifying the purity and simplicity of the Gospel, then we will “shine among them like stars in the sky” (Philippians 2:15). No matter how dark the world becomes, our God is a God of power and might. And because He has won the ultimate victory, we can also be victorious in Jesus’ name.

 

Prayer: Father, help me to be aware of how the god of self might be infiltrating my heart and mind. May I keep in step with Your Spirit so that I can honor You and share Your love and hope with those You put in my path. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

“Don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? . . . Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:4, 7).

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.


Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.


The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.


He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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