Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name. (Isaiah 25:1)
There are only two reasons to do anything in life: One is for personal gain and the other is for God’s glory. The Scriptures are filled with examples of men and women acting out of both motives, and it is always a good idea to inventory our own hearts to see just what motivates us to do the things we are doing.
We can sum it all up this way: are we using God as a means to attain an end? Or is the end we are seeking God Himself? The first mindset has us pursuing God for personal gain; the second has us pursuing God for His glory. Often we can be sailing through life without ever noticing the difference . . . until the storm winds begin to blow. When they do, we will know the true motives of our heart, which will be indicated either by our shrinking back from difficulty or standing firm.
Let’s take a brief look at these two categories of professing Christians. The person working for personal gain thinks about his or her relationship with Jesus in terms of the great gifts He can give. Such people come to Jesus for hope. They come to Him for happiness. They come for health. They come for a better home life. These are just a few of the personal gain reasons, all of which make it clear that Jesus is not their Messiah, but rather He is the means to their desired ends. However, the person working for God’s glory looks to Jesus as the end itself. Jesus is not the vehicle to victory for these people; He is victory Himself. Jesus is not the way to wealth; He is our wealth. He is not the way to happiness; He is our joy.
How would you describe your walk with Jesus right now? Is your relationship with Jesus merely the means to a desired end? Or is Jesus the end Himself?
Christian, you were created for relationship with Jesus, not for the rewards you receive from Him. Perhaps the best portrait in all Scripture that displays this truth lived out is the book of Job. God allowed His servant Job to suffer unimaginable loss: his health, his wealth, and all ten of his children. His own wife ridiculed him for staying committed to God. In essence, had Job lost every reason to stay in a right relationship with God . . . except God Himself.
It is clear from the biblical account that Job loved God more than all the good gifts God had given to him. Yes, Job loved his wealth, health, and children, but He loved God more. “‘You are talking like a foolish woman,'” he replied to his bitter, mocking wife. “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble? Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” Scripture states that, “In all [his trials], Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing” (Job 1:21-22, 2:10). For Job, God was not the means to a desired end. God was the end Himself.
May this be the confession of your life and mine, that our relationship with God is based solely upon a shining vision of His glory and not our gain, because ultimately His glory is our greatest gain.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!