God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing. Ephesians 2:10 (NCV)
What motivates you to do good things for others? If you see someone drop something in the parking lot, what drives you to get their attention so they don’t lose it? When you are trying to get out of a packed parking lot why do you stop to let another frustrated motorist into the line? When you see a little child who is lost what moves you to help them to safety?
There are a lot of reasons people do good works. Some noble, some not so noble.
- Sometimes we do good works because (in our eyes at least) they make us look powerful to those who are watching. We all like to look powerful, right?
- Some do good things for praise. We seek the acknowledgement of a job well done because it gives us value. There is nothing wrong with wanting to feel appreciated, but self-glory should never be the primary reason for our actions.
- Some do good works for others because they think it takes everyone’s eyes off of them. (If I do this, people will forget the bad thing I did back there.)
- Some people have a sort of messiah complex. They do good things for others because in their subconscious mind they HAVE to be the one to step in and make things better. Sometimes this type of person will ‘create a crisis’ in order to step in and save the day.
- Some people do good works now in hopes of banking some favors for the future. (“Better keep them in my good graces if I ever hope to get something in return.”)
- Sadly, for some, the actions they do for others are driven by the hope that God will smile kindly on them and usher them into heaven.
You may read through the list above and think, “I know someone like that, thank goodness I’m not in the list!” But the troubling thing is that the enemy can sneak into our actions and twist the true reasons we do things around so that they end up being self-seeking.
Throughout Jesus’ ministry on earth he taught us that the good things we do should be done for one reason and one reason alone, to glorify the Father. Even in his prayer in the garden Jesus prayed that his ultimate and final acts of doing good on earth (his death and resurrection) Would bring glory to the Father.
We were put here on earth, as God’s chosen vessels to do good works. We are God’s tools to change the lives of those around us so they can be brought into relationship with him.
Good works don’t get us to heaven, but doing good things for others can bring a little heaven into the lives of the weary. We do good works for one of two reasons, power for ourselves or to make people better. As a Christ-follower you can make a difference in your world for the glory of the Father. That’s what you are here for.
PRAYER: Father God, may the things I do for others be done to glorify you. Forgive me for the times I’ve caught myself seeking my own glory and power. Help me to make a difference for you. In your name I pray. Amen.