I’m sure you never have those punched-in-the-gut, get-real-with-yourself moments the way I do, right? My wife has just taken on a position of teaching Bible to 6th and 7th graders at Lifeway Christian School. She’s a bit nervous about her ability to excel at it. After a conversation we had the other night, I’m convinced she’s ready! Her question to me was quite simple, and I can’t get it off of my mind. Ready for it? Do you do the good things you do for the sake of God, really? Or do you do them to make yourself feel that you’re good? Ouch!
It occurred to me that I often apologize to make myself feel better, not for the sake of the offended party. I make up for mistakes with acts of kindness to salve my conscience. I sometimes encourage people with my words because I feel that I’ve done a good thing. There, that’s my confession. I’m sure I’m all alone in it.
What if we really had the glory of God on our minds at all times, as our ultimate motive? I’m an advocate of Christian hedonism (termed by John Piper) in which we do what we do for the mere pleasure of it, but Christian hedonism takes into account that our pleasure is in God, thereby bringing Him the ultimate glory. After all, “He is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” (Piper)
But what I do sometimes is akin to legalism and self-righteousness. And I need to stop! Last night, I loaded the dishwasher, not so I could feel better about myself, and not so I could brag about it on my blog, but because by doing so, I could bring glory to God even if in some minute and tiny way.
So be good, but be good for God’s sake for once. You’ll feel better… but that’s really not the point!