Are you doing the right thing for the wrong reasons?

Crystal Cox

My husband and I just celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary. When we dated, we often did things because that’s what we were supposed to do. Only through years of spending time together have we truly come to know each other.

I remember the first Christmas we spent together. We were dating, so I was supposed to buy him a present. I didn’t have a clue what to get him so I went for the generic manly gift of the early ’90s — a sweater. Fast forward to this past Christmas. One of my gifts to him was a collection of jazz piano sheet music. To the outsider, both gifts may seem generic and unexciting. But to my husband, who saw the sheet music in the store and mentioned wanting it months before, this was a special gift. The music book reflected a depth of knowing him I didn’t have that first Christmas.

How much of what we do is rooted in obligation? Some of us are working the job our parents expect us to get. Some of us are throwing a birthday party because what good parent doesn’t? Some of us are attending church and doing Bible study, because that’s what a good Christian does.

Doing is meaningless when it lacks passion and knowing.

Doing is meaningless when it lacks passion and knowing. When we do something to fulfill expectations or make an impression, we get in a spiritual rut. When what we do flows from our love for Jesus, lives are impacted.

How do we keep from doing things for the wrong reasons?

1. Focus on being not doing

Ephesians 2:10 puts being and doing in perspective: “For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

When we decide to follow Jesus, we become new creations. We are forgiven. We are God’s children. What we do flows from who we are and what Jesus has done for us. When we focus on knowing Jesus and following Him, we are equipped to do the works He wants us to do.

2. Allow passion to fuel action

When I make my husband a cup of coffee it’s because I love and want to serve him. Yes, there are times I feel God prompting me to serve my husband and I don’t want to, but it is still my love for him and for Jesus that pushes me forward.

Serving Jesus works the same way. Passion for Jesus brings life to getting up to go to church or serving on a team. Our passion for Jesus is fueled by reflecting on what He has done for us, getting to know Him through the Bible, asking His Spirit to teach us who He is.

As you reflect on why you do what you do, think about Colossians 3:23-24: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

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