Beware of self-seeking

By: Fr. Roy Cimagala

WE have to be wary of our common tendency to seek ourselves rather than to seek God, which is proper for us. This tendency is usually actualized everyday as we go through the different events and concerns of the day.

It’s good, of course, that we work to meet a deadline, for example, or to make money, to attain a desirable goal, etc. But let’s see to it that all this is done for God’s glory and not just for our own satisfaction. Otherwise, no matter how successful we are in these endeavors, if they are not for God’s glory, they are worth nothing in the end.

Relevant passages in the gospel support this assertion. “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Christ himself said. (Mt 6,33)

In another instance, Christ also said, “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” These words clearly tell us that we have to take care first of our spiritual life that is concerned about keeping a loving relationship with God before we worry about human motives, no matter how legitimate they are.

Thus, St. Paul said it very directly, “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Cor 10,31) It should be clear in our mind that if our motive for doing things is short of giving glory to God, those things which may turn out to be deeds and accomplishments in human terms would fail to fulfill the ultimate purpose for which they have done.

Let us remember that our life here on earth, and everything in it, especially our deeds, is meant to be a proof of our love for God, of our correspondence to his continuing interventions in our life, since everything is supposed to be an encounter of God, an encounter whose proper character is that of us giving glory to him.

By so doing, we actually affirm our true dignity as persons and children of God, created in his image and likeness, meant to share in God’s own life and nature. By so doing we do not demean ourselves nor annul our freedom.

Quite the contrary! We need to realize that we are nothing without God. Our problem is that we think we can be something without him. Let’s always remember what Christ said once: “I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing.” (Jn 15,5)

We just have to make sure that whatever we do, it should always be for the glory of God. Yes, as usually happens, it can be implied that we are actually glorifying God in whatever we are doing even if our immediate motive is something that is human and legitimate.

But we need to pause and rectify ourselves from time to time, because for us to slip into something purely human without doing things for love of God is very easy and can pass with us hardly noticing it. That is why it is imperative that we pause and make some kind of self-examination to see if we have the right motive in our actuations.

A tremendous amount of humility is needed here, since we have a strong tendency to be proud, vain, self-centered and to feel self-sufficient. We have a strong tendency to lose our sense of complete dependence on God.

We can think that for us to be truly free, we have to declare independence from God. Or we can wrongly think that by maintaining our dependence or union with God, we are compromising our sense of responsibility over our whole life.

So, let’s be wary of the subtle ways we can get trapped in the dynamics of self-seeking.