The Dangers of Doing the Right Thing for the Wrong Reason
“. . . Grant that we may sit . . ., one on Your right hand, and one on Your left.” Mark 10:37
The only thing worse than unbridled ambition, is ambition cloaked in God. James and John never doubted Jesus, they were His deeply devoted disciples, but they were ordinary men. They were ambitious. They sought to take matters into their own hands and leverage their relationship with Jesus to get what they wanted.
When we have secret motives:
- We are misguided about the severity of the situation. Verses 33, 34
The disciples selfishly and shamefully seek after glory and honor while Christ prepares to die as a ransom for the world. If we go into God’s holy war expecting a bloodless victory, we set ourselves up for disillusionment and desertion. Holding a romantic view of faith causes us to be unprepared for the onslaught of difficulty and defeat, and turns us into cynics. Many Christians believe they can deal blows to the enemy without receiving blows in return. So, when the blows come, they are overwhelmed and see themselves as victims instead of soldiers.
- We misunderstand the demand of suffering. Verses 36, 37
The disciples’ request was sincere and wrong. They had no interest, at the moment, for fitting into His plans. Whenever we demand God to adjust Himself to our desires without testing our desires against His nature, God meets us with a question, “Are you willing to suffer?” Are you able to pay the price? To die to yourself, embrace a childlike trust? Give yourself to a cause bigger than yourself? Pay no attention to your aches and pains and to live out of a new center? We often want success without struggle.
- We misinterpret the depth of sacrifice. Verse 38
The disciples were asking for something in a spiritual world that could only be attained by spiritual means within themselves. They were asking for something that could only be attained through intentional acts and experiences of sacrifice. We do the same as the disciples, we pray, “Lord, bless me,” never realizing our request will carry us far beyond our comfort, into following Jesus and taking up the cross. We are asking God to break down in us the obstacles which delay the coming of His Kingdom.
Read all the verses referenced in this devotional. Think of how easy it is to do the right thing for the wrong reason.