What is our motive for serving God?
Do we use God as a means to an end? It’s a question worth the asking for each of us. King David asked God to search his heart, because he didn’t want a wrong motive in his relationship with God.
"Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." - Psalm 139:23-24
Humanism is a poisonous philosophy that has penetrated every fiber of our society here in the U.S. The essence of humanism, in a nutshell, states that the end of all being is the happiness of man, or the purpose of man’s existence is to be happy. Therefore, mankind does any and everything, whether it breaks God's heart and law or not, in pursuit of happiness which he feels entitled to pursue. Man goes his own way, and does his own thing and can find plenty of justifiable reasons to do whatever he wants in order to be happy. "If it feels good, do it," is the motto of many. Or, "Do it if it doesn’t hurt someone," with no regard of whether it hurts God or not.
The world embraces this notion in every culture and every creed. Even in the U.S.A. our Declaration of Independence states:
That was quite a great statement, but our founding fathers perhaps went too far by finishing the sentence with “the pursuit of Happiness."
Mankind is obsessed with pursuing happiness continually, and this thinking has even made its way into the church.
The liberal church world has let this thought penetrate the walls of their doctrines, and most modern churches preach that "if you give your heart to Jesus, He will make you happy here in this life." Most modern churches don’t ever mention words like sin, or repentance, or the Blood. Instead, they sell Jesus as a life enhancement. They say, “Ask Jesus to come into your heart, and He will give you joy, peace, love, and happiness." This may be true, but happiness is not a prime product, rather a byproduct because the Christian life is filled with sufferings, trials, and tribulations. Therefore, every day of each Christian’s life will not be, "Happy, happy, happy."
The fundamentalists shake off that notion and while they believe in the inspired Word of God, in the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, they primarily believe that the Christian life on this earth will not always be happy each and every day, but if you serve Jesus now, then in Eternity you will be happy. So again, is the reason or motive for serving Jesus? To be happy, even if you are thinking about eternity and not time?
Again, is God a means to an end? Are you serving God trying to cut a deal with Him so that you can be happy here in time? Or are you serving God so that you can be happy in eternity? Either way, do you believe that the chief end of your being is to be happy? Is the purpose of your existence to be happy either here in time or in eternity?
Please don’t misunderstand me. If you give your heart to Jesus, yes, you will find happiness, peace, joy, and love here in time, while on this Earth. And, yes, you will go to the New Heaven, the New Earth, or the New City, and eternity will be blissful, peaceful, full of the joy and love as we live in the very presence of Jesus Christ. But all of the temporal happiness and eternal bliss are byproducts of our personal relationship with Jesus. They shouldn’t be the prime product.
We should not give our hearts to Jesus with our only motive being, "to be happy," and we should not serve God so that we can be happy here in time or later in eternity, because being happy is not the purpose of our life.
The purpose of our life is to glorify God. It is to know God and to make Him known. The reason for our existence is to give Jesus Christ the honor, glory, and obedience that He deserves. Of course, the only way a person can do this is to repent of his sins and give his heart to Jesus so that Jesus can come and live His life through the heart of the repentant sinner.
This is why we should repent of our sins and give our hearts to Jesus, because the only way that our life will ever be a life that glorifies and honors God is through a life of obedience. We shouldn’t serve God for our sake or for the benefits it will bring, but rather we should serve God for the LORD’s Name sake, Jesus Christ.
It is simply impossible to live a life that glorifies God and pleases Him apart from Jesus Christ.
Please allow me to illustrate my point by looking at a story found in the 17th chapter of Judges.
"And there was a man of mount Ephraim, whose name was Micah. And he said unto his mother, The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from thee, about which thou cursedst, and spakest of also in mine ears, behold, the silver is with me; I took it. And his mother said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my son. And when he had restored the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, his mother said, I had wholly dedicated the silver unto the LORD from my hand for my son, to make a graven image and a molten image: now therefore I will restore it unto thee. Yet he restored the money unto his mother; and his mother took two hundred shekels of silver, and gave them to the founder, who made thereof a graven image and a molten image: and they were in the house of Micah. And the man Micah had an house of gods, and made an ephod, and teraphim, and consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest. In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes. And there was a young man out of Bethlehem-judah of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there. And the man departed out of the city from Bethlehem-judah to sojourn where he could find a place: and he came to mount Ephraim to the house of Micah, as he journeyed. And Micah said unto him, Whence comest thou? And he said unto him, I am a Levite of Bethlehem-judah, and I go to sojourn where I may find a place. And Micah said unto him, Dwell with me, and be unto me a father and a priest, and I will give thee ten shekels of silver by the year, and a suit of apparel, and thy victuals. So the Levite went in. And the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man was unto him as one of his sons. And Micah consecrated the Levite; and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah. Then said Micah, Now know I that the LORD will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest." - Judges 17:1-13
This story is a great illustration of a man who thought he was serving the LORD, but he did it his own way and made his own religion as he had his own house of God. He had two idols, one carved and one made of silver, and he had an ephod and a teraphim; then he hired his own priest, a Levite. Since he had his own little religion he said to himself, “Now know I that the LORD will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest.”
It is interesting that he proclaimed to be serving the LORD. Yet, he had idols and his own little system of finding out the will of God for his life, apart from God’s way. Much of mankind has religion, and they may even use the Name of the LORD in their religion, but they try to make their own god by creating the image of God that they like. Then they find a way to seemingly find the mind of God so that they can feel like they are in the will of the God that they serve. In other words, they want a God on their terms instead of accepting God on His terms.
Micah did all of this to bargain or negotiate with God, because he assumed that if he had his own little temple, his own gods, his own ephod and teraphim, and his own priest, and did all of this while using the Name of the LORD, that the LORD would be pleased and do him good, or bless his life. Micah had a humanistic philosophy and wanted to be happy or blessed.
Many Christians go to church and have religion. Many of them invest a lot of money by giving to the church. Many of their religions have a priest or a preacher, and some of them even have their own system of finding out the mind or will of God, apart from Jesus Christ. Many of them use the Name of the LORD, but their religion is a strange mixture of God’s Word and Idolatry. Yet, they still think that God will surely do them good, since they have religion and a preacher.
This story that happened over 3,000 years ago has been preserved in the Bible for us today. There are principles that apply directly to our lives here in 2015. It particularly smites me because I have been guilty of this exact same thing in my life.
I was born in September 1961, but I got Born Again in March of 1988 as I had a tremendous, spectacular, supernatural experience with Jesus Christ. I fell madly in love with Jesus and became a bold witness for Him. Soon thereafter, He baptized me in the Holy Spirit. And then again, He baptized me in the waters of His Name, Death, and Life. I was on a honeymoon with Jesus that lasted a couple of years. But because these experiences happened to me in a particular church, I had no reason to doubt any of the teachings of the church or the denomination. I became entrenched in the teachings of the denomination, and, slowly and gradually, I lost my first love with Jesus and became religious without ever consciously knowing that this had happened to me.
Years later, I became aware that even though I had given money to the church, and even though I had a priest or a preacher that I thought knew the Bible better than any other, and even though the religion had its own system of finding out the will or mind of God on any issue, and even though we did everything in the Name of the LORD, it was a strange mixture of the Bible and Idolatry. And to make matters even worse, I thought that surely God would do me good, or bless me, because I gave my money, time, and effort to the religion in which I was entrenched. I was counting on God blessing me here in time and in eternity. My doctrine insured my happiness both ways.
I was just like Micah, an Idolater who did it all in the Name of the LORD, hoping that God would bless me and do me good.
I have since repented for my idolatry and have been reestablishing my first love relationship with Jesus Christ. Today, I feel like it is 1988 all over again, as God, by His Grace, has been awakened in my heart once again. I blame the religious mess I found myself entwined in on no one but myself, for I chose the path I walked down.
As the Holy Spirit has been shining His light in my heart, I have seen clearly that my motives for serving God in the past were wrong. Today, I have a new attitude toward serving God. I am not living to be happy, nor am I praying for the LORD to bless me financially or to make me happy on this earth. In fact, I have stopped worrying about where I will spend eternity and have not even been praying for the LORD to bless me when I die. I can trust the same Jesus Who saved me to reward me and to put me wherever He wants me in eternity. For the first time in many years, I am praying that my life will bring glory, honor, and respect to God whether I am happy or not.
On a side note, since adjusting my attitude toward God, I am finding myself happier than at any other time in my life, but it is a only byproduct of my relationship with Jesus.
The purpose of our life is to bring glory and honor to Jesus Christ, and we do this through obedience and submission to Him and Him alone. No longer am I serving God to bargain with Him to do me good. Instead, I serve him because I want my life to bring Him Glory and Honor. I want my life to be a life of obedience to Jesus and Jesus alone. If my obedience to Him causes the multitude to hate me, then so be it. If this causes those who are still in the old religion that I left to hate me, then so be it. My purpose is not to be popular or even happy on this Earth, but my purpose is to obey Jesus and for my life to bring Him Glory and Honor.
I realize that I will only answer to Jesus Christ when it is all said and done, and I stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ. At that time we will all realize what the purpose of our life on Earth was really all about. It’s not going to matter how many friends I had on this Earth, nor is it going to matter what men may have said about me. Instead, all that will matter is what Jesus thinks and says about me. I now live for an audience of One, Jesus Christ. It is His two nail scared hands that I want to applaud my life and not the hands of the multitude of men on this Earth.
Just think about it. Doesn’t Jesus deserve all the Glory, Honor, Power, Riches, Respect, and Praise of mankind? Doesn’t Jesus deserve our complete obedience? He suffered and died on a cross to redeem us so that our lives would bring Glory and Honor to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
"...Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing." - Revelation 5:12
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain! Worthy is the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, to receive all Glory and Honor! He deserves it, Amen!
That’s a life now worth living.