Who Am I Selling?
1 Corinthians 2:17 We are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God.
When in treatment, I tried to convince an atheist that he needed God. I argued with and prayed for him. I meant well, but if I am honest, I was primarily doing it to massage my own conscience. I felt awful about my disaster of a life and I thought that if I could save someone else, then perhaps I would feel better about myself. It would grant purpose to my destruction if I sold God while in treatment. It was all for a reason! I’m not so bad, I’m just playing my part…
My flesh nature can pervert almost anything, even the gospel, into self-promotion. In this case, I used the guise of sharing my faith to try and sooth my guilt. I have the uncanny ability to make everything about me. I can participate in even the most noble activity while pointing to self. Even while sharing my faith, I can be guilty of just feeding my need to be right.
Paul, in today’s passage, insisted that the gospel be shared only out of sincere obedience to God. There are those, who share their faith out of self-promotion. They are by nature, peddlers and salesman. They may truly believe, but their need to convince others is, at its root, a need to be right. Their primary motive is not the cause of Christ but the cause of self. These God-peddlers use even the guise of faith to promote themselves.
God does not ask me to sell him or myself. He asks that I sincerely tell of what He has done for me, pointing others to him. I must be watchful then, of my motive in all things. In every choice, I must ask myself if my eyes are on God or on self. I require constant course correction. Though, I made a decision to follow God once, this does not mean that I automatically make all of my choices with eyes on him now. It is in fact, still very natural to do everything while focused on me. Though I give up control to God when I wake up, I often take it back by the time I leave the house.
I started out writing this blog to share my struggle with other strugglers. I desired that the hope I found in Christ would be useful to those in need. It is easy though, to be seduced by affirmation. It is so tempting to chase the numbers, writing not about what God is telling me, but about what I think will sell. I can justify it so simply: The more readers I get God, the more good I do for you. Maybe I should include Sex and Drugs in every title… The blog can easily become an ego boost, making me feel good about my recovery. Sure, I was an addict, but look how fantastic I am now.
This natural bent towards self and constant need for correction can be frustrating but it is not useful to deny it. When driving, it does not help me get where I am going by insisting that my steering wheel stay in a fixed position. If I want to stay on the road, I have to accept constant course corrections. This is, after all, what Jesus described as the normal Christian life, to daily (or many times a day) turn from self to follow him.