“The end or outcome justifies the means” is a statement that many people use when you point out something that is not quite right or something fishy. People steal things, give them to the poor or needy, and may feel good. Recently I heard about someone who does things that are not legal, but he said he is doing a good thing as he helps others by doing what is illegal.
When it comes to spiritual life, something similar exists. As long as I am blessed and have no problem, God is happy with everything I do and is in my favor. In Psalms 73, Asaph shares his concern about a similar matter. Ps. 73:3-8 (NLT)
3 For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.
4 They seem to live such painless lives; their bodies are so healthy and strong.
5 They don’t have troubles like other people; they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else.
6 They wear pride like a jeweled necklace and clothe themselves with cruelty.
7 These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for!
8 They scoff and speak only evil; in their pride they seek to crush others.
Asaph shares his concerns and finds an answer towards the end. Ps. 73:17 (NLT)
Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.
Asaph saw wicked prospering, and he thought his integrity was in vain. He finally understood the reality. The main issue is not with people who do not know God but with those who claim to follow Jesus. They do not seem to care to follow the basics of the Bible and still think that since outcomes are satisfactory, it is all good. One example I want to bring up here is how Moses lost his chance to enter the land of Canaan. The issue was simple. He hit the rock when God commanded him to speak for water to come (Num. 20:12). Water did come irrespective of disobedience, but God was not happy and gave the verdict.
Are we happy with the water coming out? If we are, then we are only focused on the outcome. In the Bible, we learn that obedience matters to God. Bible teaches us that obedience is better than sacrifice (1 Sam. 15:22). The process of how we achieve something is critical. The outcome may look good, but how we got it matters to God.
We should not deceive ourselves by the outcome and should pay careful attention to the process of achieving it. Obedience to God’s word and commands should be fundamental, even if the result is not what we expected. Obedience will pay off in the long run. Good outcomes with a shady process will not last long and fall apart, and it will be like a house built on sand. Let us build on rock and ensure we do not ignore the process.