It’s easy to get caught up in a mindset of completing our work for our own benefit. I often find that this takes two forms. Either I blatantly try to excel in my work in order to bring glory and honor to myself or I am actually trying to please others in order to gain approval for myself. I don’t think I’m the only one. These mindsets are deceptive because they can look the same on the outside as doing the work for God’s glory. You might complete the same tasks with the same quality of work, but the mindset or motive behind the work truly matters. And here’s the thing: both of these mindsets of completing the work for our own benefit are sinful.
Let’s take on each one in turn. The first mindset of completing the work for our personal glory is clearly sinful. Work in and of itself is honoring to God and something that He cares about deeply. Before the fall of man, God gave Adam a job in the Garden of Eden. Mankind was to rule over the Earth and populate it. Work is good. But when we allow it to become a means to achieving glory, honor, and recognition for ourselves and not for God, we twist and distort God’s original intention. We will receive no peace and satisfaction from building ourselves up- it only appears that we will. It’s empty at the top and the climb was lonely. And you will find that you’re not a great god for yourself or anyone else.
The second mindset of completing the work to please others deceptively seems like a “good” motive. You tell yourself that if you’re well liked then you will feel complete, secure, and affirmed. You tell yourself that you’re serving others and God will like that and bless that. But are you really serving Him? Or are you working for the approval of your coworkers, superiors, parents? Their approval will not fulfill you. It cannot complete you. It will come up empty and leave you wanting more. Only the approval of truly working to honor and please God while turning the glory continually back to Him will satisfy. All other ground is sinking sand.
Friend, the true service mindset, the one that will bring you satisfaction, is serving our good and loving Father. So check yourself today and ask God to examine your heart and expose your true motives. He knows you better than you could ever know yourself.
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” –Genesis 1:27-28
“I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.“ –Jeremiah 17:10