What if we looked at our decisions in life through a new lens?
Let’s consider some examples of typical decisions that we might make.
How should I spend my time this weekend?
Where should I live?
What car should I drive?
Which job should I pursue?
How will giving to the church affect my finances?
Should I serve on this mission opportunity?
What’s in it for me?
That is the filter that we often run our decisions through. It often seems that we are not willing to devote our time or money to an activity or purpose unless we sense there is something in it for us. And that somethingdoes not have to be a financial return or a new job. That somethingcan be recognition, praise, or approval. If we are honest, most of our decisions run through this filter at some level. Even something seemingly good, like giving to the church, can be this way. Are we giving out of a loving and obedient heart, so God can use it as He desires? Or, do we give to relieve a feeling of guilt, to get something from God, or to get something from others?
Jesus gave and acted without thinking “What’s in it for me?” Instead, He was interested in what brought glory to His Father…
After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now, this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.” John 17:1-4 (NIV)
So how can we bring glory to God and point others to Him in our everyday lives?
Perhaps, we could try a new filter for the decisions we make.
What’s in it for God?
As an individual, part of a family, or as the leader of an organization, we certainly have a responsibility to be wise. But we do not have to be wise all by ourselves. We can consult God for our wisdom. I am suggesting that we can “walk by faith and not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7 ESV).
God does not have plans to harm us, but instead has plans to give us a hope and a future (see Jeremiah 29:11). If we want to experience this hope and future that God has for us, we cannot constantly be thinking “What’s in it for me?” Instead, we need to be thinking “What’s in it for Him?” By “Him,” I mean God and the advancement of His purposes. By “Him,” I also mean others. What’s in it for your family members or friends? What’s in it for your brothers and sisters in Christ? What’s in it for the lost and the least?
I am not offering these reflections in a critical way at all. This is hard for every one of us. But as Christians, we need to pursue God and this is something to be aware of and try to reprogram at some level.
As a husband and a father, I feel the pressure of being a provider, being financially wise, and being responsible with my time. But, first and foremost, I am a son of God and a follower of Jesus. I want to be a Christ-imitator. And Jesus did not ask “What’s in this for me?” He acted to bring glory to God through love for God and love for others.
Here are some other examples of replacement filters for the decisions in your life:
“What’s in it for Him?”
“Does what I’m about to do bring glory to God?”
I am proposing that we try these new filters for the decisions we make. We can apply these new filters to our decisions of how we spend our time, how we spend our money, how we act toward others, and even in our internal motivations. Here are some examples.
Deciding on how to spend a few hours of your free time?… “Does this bring glory to God?”
Deciding on a big career move?… “Which decision is more likely to bring glory to God?”
Deciding to spend another few hours on social media or fantasy sports instead of time with your kids?… “What’s in it for Him?”
What this does is several things:
- Helps us to activate our faith in God seven-days-a-week
- Helps put imitating Jesus, and not culture, into our minds and hearts
- Helps us love others the way Jesus did
- Helps us see what God wants for us and be more aligned with Him
God loves us. He is for us and not against us. God created us and blessed us with everything we have. He owns it all, including the blessings and the struggles.
When we realize we don’t own ANYTHING, we can get closer to loving and living the way Jesus did. When we realize this, we are much more likely to think about “What’s in it for Him?” when we make the decisions in our lives.
Brian Goslee is an author, speaker, and founder of Changed Through Faith Ministries . Their mission is to help families grow closer to God and each other, using fun and relevant faith-infused events and resources. Brian’s life has been radically changed through active faith in Christ and he has a heart for helping others experience this in their lives.