It is staggering to think that even the most “good” things we do are tainted by sinful motives and attitudes. There is no doubt that our Christian service, bible memorization, singing, teaching, and so on, are often twisted with wrong motives such as wanting to look good in front of others, to get a large following, to impress a girl, and the list goes on. This does not line up with the biblical picture of how we’re to serve God. According to the Bible, it is the mark of a Christian to do everything for the Lord, to please the Lord, and out of fear of the Lord. This is Paul’s exhortation in Colossians 3. Listen to how much Paul talks about how our lives should please the Lord as Christians.
Vs. 16 – “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the NAME OF THE LORD JESUS.”
Vs. 18 – “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting IN THE LORD.”
Vs. 20 – “Children, obey your parents in everything, for this PLEASES THE LORD.”
Vs. 22 – “Bondservants, obey. . . not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, FEARING THE LORD
Vs. 23 – “Whatever you do work heartily, AS FOR THE LORD and not for men.”
Vs 24 – “Knowing that FROM THE LORD you will receive your reward.”
Vs 24 – “You are serving THE LORD CHRIST.”
In less than 10 verses Paul reminds us 7 times, that as we live, we live for the Lord. These verses exclude no one. Are you a wife? Please the Lord. Are you a child? Please the Lord. Are you a servant? Please the Lord. Aka, whoever you are, and “whatever you do” do it for the Lord. Paul makes a similar expression in 1 Cor. 10:31 saying that “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” His example of eating and drinking is another way of saying, “glorify God in everything, even the smallest things.” This is the mark of a Christian.
The motives of our heart matter to God. There is no brushing aside the sin of wrong motivation by the fact that we’re depraved. Wrong motives in our service make us guilty before God. In Matthew 15:8 Jesus calls the Pharisees hypocrites. The reason He gives is that “this people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” We are to do everything in an attitude of reverence, and for the glory of the Lord.
Consider for a second Jesus Himself when He came to earth. Was not the mark of His life to do the Fathers will so that the Father would be pleased? (John 4:34) And consider the moment after He was baptized, as the heavens opened, and God almighty spoke those amazing words, “this is my beloved Son in whom I am well PLEASED.” Let us follow the example of Jesus and please the Lord, avoiding the pitfall of hypocrisy.