Motives are tricky things. Many years ago, I heard a speaker ask a question – “Why do we do the things we do and who do we do them for? Ok, I know that is really two questions, but do not tune me out over a detail.
Both of those questions are in my mind on a regular basis and prompt many more questions. Why do I do what I do? Why did I do what I did? Whom am I really thinking about when I did what I did or do what I do? Am I as noble minded and selfless as I have deceived myself into believing? Do I really not care what someone thinks about me or is that lie? How much of my self worth is tied up in other’s opinion of me? The list could on for a while, but I will spare you the pain of having to run though my thought life.
In every relational type situation I encounter, there are multiple wills playing out. There is of course my will. There is someone else involved and they have a will. There is our enemy’s will and there is God’s will. I know we are to seek God’s will in everything, but do I? Yet another question I ask.
It seems to me that many times I want what I want when I want it and God’s will, or anyone else’s for that matter means very little to me. Shocking isn’t it? Why do I do the things I do and say the things I say? Is God’s will really at the forefront of my words and actions. That question makes me squirm.
After almost forty years of walking with God and thirty years of being a pastor, I still struggle with my motives; daily. Dictionaries define motives as the reason we do what we do. Here is another question – do my motives line up with these words of Scripture?
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Philippians 2:3
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Colossians 3:12-13
To be honest, no. The desire is often there but my flesh is not always in agreement with my brain. So, what do we do, quit? Of course not. We see where we fall short, ask and receive grace and we walk on with our Lord. We learn from our mistakes and failures, and we walk on. We repent of our sin, and we walk on. We fall, get back up, and we walk on. If we have hurt someone, we ask for forgiveness, and walk on. If we need to make restitution, we do so, and we walk on.
Why am I writing this? What is my motive behind it? As far as I can tell, it is to help myself, and anyone who reads it, to think deeper. But really, only God knows the deep recesses of our hearts. Jeremiah stated centuries ago that the heart is desperately sick (Jeremiah 17:9) but thankfully he didn’t stop there, in verse 10 he also states that the Lord searches and knows our hearts and mind, and for that I am very grateful. My Lord loves me, accepts me, empowers me, and is changing me for His glory and purposes. If my motives need changing, my Lord will see to it that they are changed. I can, and do, rest in that truth.