What are my motives?

Chuck Swindoll recently said that we should regularly ask ourselves three questions:

  1. Is this the right thing to do?
  2. What is my motive?
  3. Will this bring glory to God?

Those three questions prompted some introspection regarding why I do the things I do. I was not necessarily enthralled with my findings as I realised that much of what I do “in the service of the LORD” is actually selfishly motivated and brings me some small measure of recognition rather than glorifying He for whom I profess to act. Let me share some of my thoughts on motives.

James 3:4 cautions against asking with wrong motives. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.”

So, does that mean that it is wrong to achieve recognition for my efforts to serve God? I don’t think so.

Proverbs 27:2 says, “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips.”

The English idiom says something like, “Don’t blow your own horn.” And, again, motives come into play. If I am praising myself, or serving God as a way of seeking the praise of others, then my motives are questionable. If I seek the spotlight as a way to gain recognition or respect (or notoriety), then I need to rethink why I do what I do. Do my efforts bring a bit of enlightenment to others, yet fail to glorify Him? That raising of my own self-importance is a form of idolatry.

So, do I merely stop what I am doing “for the Lord”? Again, I don’t think so. However, what I MUST do is to ensure that my motives and conscience are clear. Paul mentions several times that our efforts must bring glory to God and not to self.

1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Colossians 3:17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men

 

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