When “Do Good” Turns To No Good

I once tried to solve my problems with a blueberry muffin. Someone I love was struggling through sin and it made every bit of my being ache. So my solution? Bake some muffins, say some encouraging words and surely that would save them from a multitude of temptations. I am well aware that sounds utterly foolish; however, I am convinced this is the mannerism in which many of us secretly operate. We see pain, we devote ourselves to a solution, and we puff ourselves up with pride, thinking we checked off our good deed of the day. Yet we neglect prayer, miss out on the opportunity to humble ourselves before God and ultimately we put ourselves in the seat of savior. What would it look like if instead of spending hours researching a hot topic, we devoted ourselves to prayer on behalf of the issue? How would our outlook of brokenness differ if instead of turning ourselves immediately to action, we stilled our minds to seek God first? How would our worldview change if instead of pledging our allegiance to philanthropy, we stood firm in Biblical truth and steadfastly obeyed what God has already commanded?

While throwing ingredients around the kitchen, hand whipping some butter, and stirring up the definition of a mess…the plainly obvious dawned on me – this muffin won’t aid in anything but a sugar high. Conviction met me at the beep of the oven’s preheat timer: my empty deeds cannot solve what only a radical move of God can. No amount of brown sugar and butter can soften a heart prone to wander. Realizing my negligence of prayer, I pleaded for my loved one and for my own sake as well. I desperately needed an attitude change in how I approach prayer.

Time has passed since the muffin epiphany and I have grown increasingly persuaded that as a Christian body, we desperately need to change our attitude from one of philanthropy, to one of prayer.

Colossians 4:2 “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving”

The “do good” mindset of our society is not a new concept that our generation birthed (even though I think we pridefully believe it is.) Through Scripture, we clearly see the attitude of man convincing himself that charitable deeds adequately measure up to the power of God. In Luke 18, we observe an account of a Pharisee that prayed on behalf of his own goodness and a tax collector that pleaded for God’s mercy. Scripture tells us who was ultimately justified…Spoiler alert: it was not the man focused on his own doing.

Let us find rest knowing that the world is broken, but that we are not left helpless. Through Christ, we are reconciled to fellowship with God and we have the privilege to continually praise, petition and commune with Him. Actions and serving are not the enemy, yet without prayer they do not hold potential in changing the heart. We desperately need a radical move of God, a change in our “do good” attitude and a shift of focus away from ourselves.

Approaching a broken world is a weighty task – what else can we do other than turn to the only One who holds eternal power and pray?

“Oh, that men would learn to pray with less of language and more of meaning! What great things are packed away in this short petition! God, mercy, sin, the propitiation, and forgiveness.”- Spurgeon