We are constantly trying to improve ourselves. Whether what you believe is actually better or worse, this pursuit is a fact for everyone. We want to be a better person or get better at something. And for Christians, this is especially true. But, even when you’re seeking something as good as God, your motivation might be twisted.
I read a devotional today from My Utmost for His Highest that talked partly about this, and I wanted to share it.
Goodness and purity should never be traits that draw attention to themselves, but should simply be magnets that draw people to Jesus Christ. If my holiness is not drawing others to Him, it is not the right kind of holiness; it is only an influence which awakens undue emotions and evil desires in people and diverts them from heading in the right direction. A person who is a beautiful saint can be a hindrance in leading people to the Lord by presenting only what Christ has done for him, instead of presenting Jesus Christ Himself. Others will be left with this thought— “What a fine person that man is!” That is not being a true “friend of the bridegroom”— I am increasing all the time; He is not.
To maintain this friendship and faithfulness to the Bridegroom, we have to be more careful to have the moral and vital relationship to Him above everything else, including obedience. Sometimes there is nothing to obey and our only task is to maintain a vital connection with Jesus Christ, seeing that nothing interferes with it. Only occasionally is it a matter of obedience. At those times when a crisis arises, we have to find out what God’s will is. Yet most of our life is not spent in trying to be consciously obedient, but in maintaining this relationship— being the “friend of the bridegroom.” Christian work can actually be a means of diverting a person’s focus away from Jesus Christ. Instead of being friends “of the bridegroom,” we may become amateur providences of God to someone else, working against Him while we use His weapons.
This made me examine my heart about what I was doing. I recognized that many times, I do things out of selfish reasons. Even when I want Christ to be known, I admit that I sometimes want people to see how God has changed me or how I’m growing spiritually. Or, they may be good reasons but not necessarily be the best by focusing on the things that should merely be the by-product of drawing closer to Christ, such as being obedient, serving others, praying, etc. To think that I could be a hinderance from God being known or that I’m taking some glory away from God? Yikes! I know that I have to constantly remind myself and keep myself in check.
So, what is your motivation? What [who] are you trying to prove [improve]?