"Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me. But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice. And I will continue to rejoice." Philippians 1:17-18
2000 years later and man's heart is no different - using the name of Jesus for wrong and selfish purposes.
You may read today's verse and think, that doesn't relate to me, but you may be surprised.
Our hearts are deceitfully wicked, and we struggle to understand why we do what we do.
Have you known anyone to follow Jesus or attend church or pray for the following reasons:
To win a game.
To do well on a test.
To make up for that bad thing we did and felt guilty about.
To impress a girl or guy so they would go out with them.
To get parents to leave them alone.
To receive a good diagnosis.
To change someone else so life would be easier for you (ouch, that one got too personal).
If you have attended church, prayed, or talked about Jesus for any other reason except for Jesus' glory, someone else's good, and your own personal spiritual growth - welcome to the "selfish ambition" club. And yes, I am also a member.
Whenever we try and manipulate Jesus for selfish gain (profit), we treat Jesus like any of the hundreds of pagan gods that existed in Paul's time. A relationship wasn't the standard, performance was. The pagan gods only desired duty, service, and payment. They didn't care about the individual.
Jesus desires you, you, and you. He desperately loves you and proved it by following His joyful duty (to His Father) to become one of us, serving us while he was here, and paying for our eternal life on the cross!
Jesus is no pagan God, but a Personal One!
Ask Jesus to forgive you for trying to manipulate Him. Ask Him to help you live a life for Him that flows from pure motives. With His grace, stop living for what you want and instead live for what He wants and what other's need.