What then has become of your blessedness? For I testify to you that, if possible, you would have gouged out your eyes and given them to me.
What’s in It for God?
When Jesus came willingly to die for us, He didn’t think what’s in it for Him but what’s in it for us. It wasn’t all about Him, but it was all about us (John 3:16). There’s no way that I can be like God in this way because my natural human tendency is to help others and think, “What’s in it for me?” That is something I have to fight against every day. When I go into the nursing home to visit the elderly, am I really doing it for them or for myself? It’s hard to go and visit and serve others, but when I do, I wonder if I am doing it so that others will think more highly of me than doing it for God. The heart is so deceitful above all things, and we can’t even fully know our own motives (Jer. 17:9). I must constantly be examining my own motivation for serving others. If I tell others about what I have done, then I’ve lost my reward because that’s the way the religious leaders were in Jesus’ time: They only wanted to be seen by others (Matt. 23:5).
Think More Highly of Others
Paul was one of the most selfless men in the Bible. He was constantly telling others to not think too highly of themselves (Rom. 12:3) while restraining himself from ever boasting (2 Cor. 12:6), even though this man may have been the greatest missionary of all time. His transparency is seen throughout the Scriptures, and he was quick to write about his own struggles with the flesh (Rom. 7), acknowledging his wretchedness (Rom. 7:24). If Paul had been thinking “what’s in it for me,” he surely wouldn’t have endured so much suffering for the sake of the Gospel. His motivation was to save as many as God would allow.
A Heart Change
If God can change the heart of a pagan king (Prov. 21:1), He can surely change our hearts from our former desires to satisfy the flesh (Eph. 2:3) and to put off the old self (Eph. 4:22). Paul’s desire was changed from being religious to passionately wanting to save the people of Israel (Rom. 10:1), and he would have gladly exchanged his own soul if only he could save his Jewish brothers (Rom. 9:3). Paul never seemed to do things for what he could get out of it but gave himself for what others could get out of it. When we help someone, do we ever think, “What’s in it for me?” Very convicting, isn’t it?
A Closing Prayer
Father, I constantly battle my own intents. Am I doing things for others out of a selfish interest, or am I doing them for You and Your glory? I pray you will help me to examine my own heart’s motivation so that my intent is not for myself but for You and Your glory, and in Jesus’ name I pray.
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