One night, I was praying and asking the Lord to remove fear and doubt, and to give me boldness. I wanted boldness because I believed thats what I needed to be a more successful Christian, a better blogger, and a better ministry leader. I wanted Him to remove fear and doubt because I felt they were the cause of my dissatisfying progress.
And His reply to me was, “Is it for selfish gain?“
Wait, what? Lord, did I hear you right?
I didn’t think I heard His reply right because what I believed I was praying for the right things. “Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” (Ephesians 6:19) I was asking for characteristics that I thought would help me to be better and do better……for the building up of His Kingdom. But then I heard it again: “Is it for selfish gain?”
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit…Philippians 2:3
I was asking God for things so that I could measure up to my idea of success; to my idea of being better. And I wrapped it in a nice Christian bow. I thought more about my prayer: a more successful Christian, a better Christian blogger…. And then I thought what exactly is a “more successful Christian?” And what exactly is a “better Christian blogger?” You see, my mouth was saying one thing but my heart was saying something completely different. And well, God pays attention to the heart.
I thought more about my prayer. Like, where did it manifested from. Our prayers come from somewhere… a need, a want, a desire for something to happen. What was my heart really saying?
My prayer manifested from a want; a selfish want. I have to be honest. I’ve been feeling a little inadequate in my Christian walk lately. It seems as though everyone is having very successful ministries. And some come up with the best quotes or can put the right words together to make the perfect meme. Or they finished that book that I know we started working on at the same time. Everyone seems to be doing “success” better than me.
So essentially what I was asking my Lord for was to make me more like them. Give me more of the things I assume they have in them. The things that make them be more (successful)…. and not less like me. Give me more boldness, less fear, less doubt.
The ask was not the problem, it was the intent behind the ask. My desires were not aligned with His purposes. And well, God checked me on it!
Was I really asking for these things because I wanted to do greater work in His name? Or was I asking for them so that I could do better at the things He’s called me to? Because doing better would ultimately make me feeling better about myself. Doing better would make me feel more adequate. Or put like this: Doing better would make me feel like a more successful Christian!
My ask was for selfish gain. Ouch!
Yes, I want my posts to reach the masses. And yes, I want my ministry to change the lives of thousands of people. I do want to be bold so that I can share the gospel with anyone I come across. I don’t want to be fearful in that someone will not like what I have written. And, I don’t want to have doubts that what I’m sharing will not help someone out there in the world. But what I should have been asking for was wisdom and trust so that I can rely on God to do what is best for me.
I got completely off track! Looking at others’ successes, I got distracted and allowed the Enemy to cause me to second guess myself and all that God has poured into me. Wow! My job is to be obedient, to stay the course, and to have Faith.
The world does not define “good”, “right”, or “success”. God does! I had been using the wrong measuring stick. But He got me back on track. Thank you, Lord!
Be cognizant of your prayers. Make sure they are “for unselfish gain”.
“Turn my heart toward your statuses and not toward selfish gain.”