March 17, 2012

Right Motives

Written by Boyd Bailey

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- March 17, 2012

“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 as pure as the driven snow in why you do what you do yet in the next you can subtly slip into suspect behavior. Therefore, you need to be relentless and honest in reviewing your motives. No, you can never shake self-preservation and some level of pride, but you can 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? I 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. God does not like to be used for anything other than His glory.

If you serve because it makes you feel better or to feed your ego, your motives are dysfunctional.  If you are trying to make up for your shady past or you are driven by guilt, then you are operating out of bounds. As a consequence, your misguided motives will cause others to feel or act strangely. Wrong motives have a ripple effect on relationships and organizational dynamics. Unhealthy motivation that seeks attention and credit will compromise principles and values in an effort to reach its desired results. Misguided motives are driven by whatever means it takes to justify worthy results, but lasting fruit results from the seeds of pure motives.

Moreover, dishonest motives are a recipe for rejection. Neither people nor God accept those with sinful motives. Spiritual people can discern inauthentic living a mile away. Therefore, do an audit of your authenticity, and stop performing acts of righteousness that draw people to yourself instead of to your Savior. Fast and pray with discretion and give anonymously (Matthew 6:5-6). Serve when no one else is watching and you are guaranteed to not get the credit. Ask about others instead of talking about yourself. Help make other people successful, instead of using them for your success. Focus on the Almighty’s accomplishments and not your own.

Furthermore, do not default to fear as the driving force of your life. Fear may be the worst motive of all, for it causes you to believe lies and to act on them. Fear leads you into out-of-balance living as it races to be right. So substitute faith for fear.  Faith keeps you focused on your heavenly Father, and He replaces your fears with peace and contentment. He can be trusted; so do not force things to happen in your own strength. Instead, do everything for the glory of God. Let your love of the Lord and people lift your motives to a more noble level. Continually allow the Holy Spirit to scrub your motivations. Ask often, “Why would Jesus do this?”  Then mirror your Master’s motives, for right motives reap God’s rewards.

Taken from March 17th reading in the 365-day devotional book, “Seeking Daily the Heart of God”…

Post/Tweet this today: Right motives reap God’s rewards. #motives #rewards


  1. Dave Hatfield says:

    This is very thought provoking. It really grabbed me and made me think about my own personal motives related to God. I have been a poor excuse for a Christian for many years and have recently begun to attempt to re-structure a relationship with the master.
    However, I find myself wondering when I read this if my motives are selfishly centered around myself or truely entoward to the father. How does one truely know?

  2. Bruce Barringer says:

    I am not sure I understand why it is “dysfunctional” to “feel better” when I serve. isn’t feeling better part of God’s reward for serving? Can somebody please explain?

  3. Alan Isted says:

    I believe the key word there is “to”. If the reason you’re serving is not to glorify God by helping others, but to make yourself feel better, then the motive is most assuredly no right. But will there be joy that comes from serving others to help them and show your love for God, yes! I hope this helps.

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