The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good

Day 5 of 7 • This day’s reading


The spiritual danger of pretending to have it all together

Many professional do-gooders are wired toward pretending to have it all together. We want to keep things looking good on the outside no matter how we might be struggling. We hide our flaws. We pretend we have it all together. We want to be liked.

A dangerous lie grips my mind: If I hide my flaws, then my mission will flourish. If people knew my struggles, then they wouldn’t like me or the ministry as much. I tell myself I’m doing it for the mission of Christ. But that false presentation undermines the life-transforming message of the Gospel.

Consider Laodicea, one of the seven churches mentioned in the book of Revelation. More than any other church, Laodicea was positioned to have maximum impact. It was affluent. The city of Laodicea was a merchant banking center, so the church had the resources to effect change. Yet the city had one major flaw: its water. Laodicea had warm water with high mineral content, making it lukewarm.

Jesus used this metaphor to illustrate how the church at Laodicea had everything going for it, but their insides didn’t match their healthy exterior.  Jesus said, “So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” 

The good news is God already knows you don’t have it all together. You haven’t earned His gift of grace. He’s given it to you. You just have to recognize you’re messed up. You get to stop pretending. Admitting “I’m messed up” is one of the most freeing things I’ve ever done. 

Something beautiful can happen when we take off the mask: Our mutual brokenness can bring us together. We can care for one another, showing true compassion toward each other in our weaknesses and strengthening each other to live for Christ.

David regularly asked God to “search” and “test” his heart to see “if there is any offensive way” in him. He wanted God to penetrate his polished exterior and open his eyes to his own sinfulness.

It’s time to open the door and stop pretending. It’s time to admit we have a messy kitchen and an even messier heart. Jesus is waiting to step into our ruin, our shame, our secrets, our flaws and bring comfort to the hurting, hope to the depressed, and acceptance to the humiliated.

Reflection: What are some of the reasons we put on a front that says we have it all together? How can we as the body of Christ foster openness?

Based on The Spiritual Danger of Doing Good, by Peter Greer with Anna Haggard, published by Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group (, 2014. Used by permission.