The Means or the Ends? – Jeremy Austill
The Means or the Ends?

I want to get this out of the way in the beginning…

I like winning.

I like succeeding.

I like accomplishing.

I like achieving goals.

I like surpassing expectations.

It is perfectly acceptable to enjoy all of the above. As a matter of fact, I believe when we apply Kingdom principles to our everyday life, those are frequently the results.

However, our journey to those results matters. The steps we take to get there are important. Many live with the philosophy that the ends justify the means, but before the Lord, a pure heart far surpasses the value of the grandest of ends.

The psychology behind our desire to win and succeed is subtly unique with each person. Ultimately, we are wired to thrive. The desire to accomplish is imbedded in the fabric of our being. Yet at times, wires get crossed, and the “why” behind a desire becomes twisted. When the “why” gets twisted, it’s only a matter of time before the “means” become corrupted. We then find ourselves standing before God, holding up our big ole success for Him to see. Meanwhile, the Lord was hoping we would hold up a big ole pure heart.

As we stand in the presence of Jesus (and we are always in His presence), the greatest commodity we have is a right heart. Proverbs 4:23 commissions us, “Guard your heart above all else.” Why is a pure, honest, sincere, integrity filled heart our greatest commodity?

Results tend to belong to the Lord.

Results often have variables that are out of our control.

Results favor those with certain advantages in life like talent, intellect, connections and resources.

The heart…that’s our responsibility. We all have equal opportunity to steward ours well.

The person who loses, but does not lose heart, is of greater substance to God than the person who wins but is dishonest.

The person who fails, but maintains a strong heart, produces a more intoxicating fragrance in heaven than the one who succeeds, but succumbs to the path of ill-gotten gains.

Earlier I mentioned the “why” effecting the “means”.

When our “why” is Jesus, doing things the right way and honoring the Lord is a greater motivator than the results.

When our “why” is to feel validated, to impress others, to become wealthy, to garner attention, and the like, we will often use whatever means necessary to get the desired result. Then we have a habit of slapping the name of Jesus on it at the end.

As you walk the earth, by all means strive to win, succeed, accomplish, and achieve. Arriving at your destination is certainly important, but understand, the condition of your heart when you arrive is more important. Guard your heart above all else.

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