Often as Christians, we seek the Lord not for the joy of simply knowing our Creator and author of our salvation, but for some benefit that we feel He can provide. We can turn the beautiful gifts He lavishes so generously into simply another layer between us and a real relationship with Him.
Beneath the spiritual-sounding words, hidden motivations lurk. We want to be righteous, not so much because of the rightness of it, but because we will feel better about ourselves, we will feel more confident about our spiritual maturity, or because a righteous lifestyle will impress other Christians. We want to be filled with the Holy Spirit, so that we will not feel so burdened by our sin, or so we will have the power to be more effective.
I have recently identified this very attitude in myself.
“I need to be more regular and dedicated to pray and read my Bible, to ensure that I am effective in my ministry life. I know I cannot be effective if God is not behind what I do.”
As the thought crosses my mind, I see the shallowness of it. Is God really the means to my own ends? Shouldn’t I love Him simply for Himself, not just for what He can do for me?
What changes would I see if I said, “I need to pray more because I miss communicating with my Beloved. I need to read the Bible more because knowing Him better is so worthwhile!”
Of course, God delights in giving us blessings! Yet, although we are exhorted over and over to fix our eyes on our eternal prize, I suspect that the prize goes far beyond just more blessings from the Lord. I believe the prize is also a deep communication with the living person of God.
We all know what it is to be in the presence of someone who inspires, motivates, and encourages us. Imagine that presence for eternity! What prize could be more precious?
Seek the Lord today, not simply because of what He can do, but because of Who He is.
What attracts you to the Lord, just as Himself, and not for what He can do for you?
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None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.