Wisdom Hunters – Right Motives 

Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted? And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves?’ Zechariah 7:5-6

Right motives can be illusive. One minute you can be pure in why you do what you do, the next you can subtly slip into suspect behavior. Therefore, be relentless to regularly review your motives. Pride is always looking to pounce on your purposes, so ask the Lord to cleanse your motives and mark them with His purposes. You can make faith in Jesus a filter for right motives. “Why would Jesus do this?” is a wise question that helps you get to the heart of the matter. The why question reveals intent and encourages honesty.

Regularly asking, “Why?” addresses your motives. You may want to give to someone, but why? You may want to serve someone, but why? You may want to sacrifice an opportunity, but why? You may want to perform a religious duty, but why? Where does your devotion reside? What drives you to do good things? If your reasons are self-serving, then you have missed managing your motives for eternal purposes. Your motive may be to use religion and the church to promote your profession, but God does not like to be used for anything other than His glory.

“In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables” (John 2:14-15).

If you serve because it makes you feel better or because it feeds your ego, your motives are dysfunctional.  If you are trying to make up for your shady past or you are driven by guilt, not only are your motives wrong, you are a good candidate for burnout. As a consequence, your misguided motives will cause others discomfort, for they have a ripple effect on relationships and organizational dynamics. Unhealthy motives that seek attention and credit will compromise principles and values in an effort to reach the desired results. It is driven by whatever means necessary to justify worthy results, but lasting fruit results from the seeds of pure motives.

Jesus said, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name” (John 15:16). Therefore, do an audit of authenticity and stop doing acts of righteousness that draw people to yourself instead of to your Savior. Fast and pray, but do so with discretion; give anonymously (Matthew 6:5-6). Do everything for the glory of God so your love for the Lord and for people lifts your motives to a grace-filled level.

Continually allow the Holy Spirit to scrub your motivations. Ask often, “Why would Jesus do this?” Model His motivations, for right motives reap God’s rewards (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, purify my motives by the promptings of Your Holy Spirit.

 

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