Scientist/theologian Emanuel Swedenborg once recounted having stopped by a bookstore and observing the titles that were being most heavily promoted by the enterprise. He caught himself thinking that his own published works were much more valuable to society than those showcased in the storefront window. He finally came to the opinion that this was a false and egotistical opinion.
Swedenborg experienced other horrifying self-discoveries.
These self-evaluations came at a time when Swedenborg was experiencing intense spiritual temptations to cleanse (purify) his inner world before being allowed to observe the life of angels in the Lord’s kingdom.
The point is that Swedenborg was quite charitable and shared his good works with the world well before the Lord God found him suitable for receiving new heavenly revelations. Apparently his goodness was not good enough!
Swedenborg had learned the unflattering truth that self-centeredness was secretly driving all his good deeds and projects. He discovered that when fame, status and personal reward were removed from his activities, he would quickly lose interest. So while his outer actions were useful, his inner life was rotten.
Few people make such a potent self-observation.
True love only comes from God. Without this acknowledgment, all our best efforts will lack the proper humility and innocence to become spiritually sincere.
Everywhere I look, I see good-intentioned people stressing the importance of love—as though we finite humans can suddenly act with greater kindness from our own power. This is an illusion and a strategy that overlooks the spiritual need to examine our deepest motives and remove any hidden flaws of behavior so that our acts of goodness can also become acts of salvation.
God’s Will Be Done—not our will.