It is easy to go along in life thinking that we’re okay. I know that there are times in my life when I deceive myself, thinking that I’m okay and following when the Lord when, if I were to be truly honest, I would know that isn’t true. But the deception is so comfortable. It’s much easier to convince myself that everything is okay between me and God then to come into His presence and ask His opinion.
Hebrews 4:12-13 NKJV
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
While God is concerned about what I do, He is less concerned about what I do than why I do it. That doesn’t mean what I do isn’t important. But what I do can often appear to be righteous without actually being so.
The Lord Jesus taught us:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'” Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV
These people that were cast out were doing wonderful things in the name of Jesus. They prophesied, cast out demons, and did miracles. And not in the name of some other deity, but in the name of Jesus. And yet, the Lord Jesus says that they had not done His will. His will is to match the thoughts and intents of our heart to His. Thus, why I do something is much more important than what I do. My thoughts and intents much be to do His will, to glorify Him, rather than to seem holy and righteous for my own purposes.
The apostle Paul echoed this same sentiment:
Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 1 Cor. 3:12-15 NKJV
The foundation of which Paul speaks is that foundation laid by the Lord Jesus. Verse 11 says: “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” If I do something that I want to be lasting, I must first do what it is the Lord Jesus wants me to do. Even if what I want to do appears to be righteous and well within Christian boundaries, if I am not doing what the Lord Jesus wants, then my work is in vain. I am building on a false foundation and what I am doing will be lost.
How many times have I decided to do something (on my own) and then asked God to bless it? Rather than first going to Him in prayer and meditation on the Word and finding out what He wants? My first order of the day should be to report to duty to my Master and find out what He wants me to do. The problem is, we are often afraid that He will ask us to do something that we don’t want to do or for which we feel ill-equipped. We don’t trust Him, so we take matters into our own hands, and simply ask Him to bless what feels more comfortable to us.
We are deceiving ourselves and building on a false foundation. And God sees through it all. Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:7-9 NKJV
Whatever we sow, we will reap. And God sees it all. Because He loves us, He will not allow us to deceive ourselves forever. He is constantly bringing back the Truth of His Word into our lives that we might see clearly our own motives and change them where they are wrong. I’m so glad that Father God is willing to be patient with me and continually brings me back to the Truth of His Word. I’m so easily deceived. I want to have His Truth in my life. I want what I do to be worthwhile.