– Words from the Church Fathers –
Fasting, prayer, alms, and every other good Christian deed is good in itself, but the purpose of the Christian life consists not only in the fulfillment of one or another of them. The true purpose of our Christian life is the acquisition of the Holy Spirit of God.
But fasting, prayer, alms and every good deed done for the sake of Christ is a means to the attainment of the Holy Spirit. Note that only good deeds done for the sake of Christ bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
Everything else that is not done for the sake of Christ, even if it is good, does not bring us a reward in the life to come, not does it bring the grace of God in this life.
This is why our Lord Jesus Christ said, “Whoever gathereth not with me scattereth” (Matt. 12:30).
St. Seraphim of Sarov, Conversation on the Goal of the Christian Life