Rational Self-Interest and the Worship of God

Cody Libolt
Feb 6, 2015 · 3 min read

I advocate an unusual approach to these topics based what I see as a foundational principle in Scripture: Holy Self-Interest.

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The principle says:

“It is always in your rational self-interest to do the right thing.”

Rightly understood, self-interest and morality are inseparable. The right thing is the right thing it leads to your own rational self-interest.

Should Christians seek their self-interest? Is it helpful? I want you to ask these kinds of questions. I want you to take a hard look at what motivates us to obey God.

Worshiping God out of self-interest?

Yes. I believe self-interest is the proper motivation to worship God, because it is the proper motivation to do anything. This is a tall claim. Read on, and I will work to demonstrate it.

I write to redeem the idea of self-interest in your eyes.

I write to convince you that properly, fully — we need a new perspective on self-interest. And I write to show that this new perspective is not really new at all. God’s people through the ages have looked to his promises and considered him as their means to self-interest.

As a starting point, let’s gauge your receptivity. I want to suggest an idea to you, and ask what you think about. The idea is:

“Gain.”

What came to mind as you read this word? I will admit, in my mind I hear, “evil gain.” That’s a common phrase. And it is biblical.

Gain. It drips of greedy, sordid, wicked pursuits.

Or does it?

Hear the last stanza of a poem by John Piper:

John Piper isn’t alone.

I thank Jacob Brunton for drawing my attention to the following quote from Jonathan Edwards:

Charity and Its Fruits

It is not wrong to seek happiness or gain.

There are right and a wrong ways to pursue them. Jesus asked what it profits a man to gain the world and forfeit his soul. We should in fact be willing to lose the world if it means gaining our everlasting life. Do not overlook the fact that Jesus spoke of profit to an individual man; profit for his own well-being — his own individual good.

As I learn to seek Holy Self-Interest in God’s will, may my own final whisper be — “Gain.


For the New Christian Intellectual

Ideas Matter - Help restore the mind in Christian life

Cody Libolt

Written by

Co-founder at ChristianIntellectual.com. Get help growing your blog and audience: CodyLibolt.Media/

For the New Christian Intellectual

Ideas Matter - Help restore the mind in Christian life

Cody Libolt

Written by

Co-founder at ChristianIntellectual.com. Get help growing your blog and audience: CodyLibolt.Media/

For the New Christian Intellectual

Ideas Matter - Help restore the mind in Christian life

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