As humans, we tend to set goals. Goals are things we can work toward to give us a sense of accomplishment once we have achieved them. And behind every goal is a motive. A motive is defined as a reason for doing something.
The underlying question behind motives is whether one is being selfish or compassionate.
Because we live in a sinful world, our motives are often distorted by sin — making them fleshly motives rather than eternal motives. Our faulty motives will produce faulty goals. We often have faulty motives that are from temporal desires, and these are often selfish.
These faulty motives are not fruitful or abundant. They become things that will never be fulfilling — motives that will leave us empty.
But, when we are able to have motives that are eternally focused and aligned with God's will, we begin to realize that shift from emptiness to God's fulfillment within us. You will see that God is on your side, and He is working within you to fulfill those goals.
Philippians 2:13 says, "For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him."
When we consult God in our motives, they are often compassionate. They also become more pure in accordance to God's purposes.
Proverbs 16:2 says, "All a person's ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord."
Our human hearts without God are easily misguided, and we may even pretend to act for the benefit of God or other individuals, when in reality, we are being selfish. God knows the true intentions of our heart and that we may act because of negative motives. Pride, bitterness and revenge are all motives of the flesh and are not pleasing to God.
This is such a hard thing to steer away from because we ARE human, after all, and we do have emotions. It's what we do with those emotions that can decide whether we cross the line of being sinful or not.
So, what can we do to evaluate our motives?
- If no one was watching what I was doing, would I still do it?
- If I had to suffer to continue doing what God had called me to do, would I keep doing it?
- Am I doing this for praise or to make me feel good about myself?
- If I never get recognition, will I still do it?
I am not telling you that it is bad to have personal satisfactions, like a vacation. But motivation can turn into a concern when we are not honest about why we try to accomplish goals. When we want to obey God, but our hearts are hardened to the things He wants to show us, God knows. When we are at that stage of life, we are only deceiving ourselves and others around us.
Galatians 5 tells us to walk in the Spirit. When Jesus died and rose again, He left us with a Helper: the Holy Spirit. We are never alone in our motives and goals. The Holy Spirit can even guide us when we have received eternal motives and goals.
When we allow God to control our motives and goals, then our desires are aligned with Him.
Psalm 73:26 says, "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
Our goals have to align with the mission of God. We must aspire goals that please God. Our motives must be consistent with our efforts to achieve that goal, and we must remain fixed on Jesus while accomplishing it. We are to accept and honor God and His will for our lives. We ask and we receive a goal to act upon.
Jesus said in John 13:17 that you are blessed if you do the will of God. But, honoring God while we are in pursuit of the goals He has laid out for us takes a whole lot of courage.
It takes courage and willingness to take action, especially if the outcome is uncertain. Such courage is attained only as we develop a lifestyle of depending on God.
So, my prayer for whoever reads this is that you do depend on God in every season of life — that you depend on God no matter what the outcome may be, and that you have courage and boldness to get through this season.
Because friend, I promise that God's desires are far better than what our human hearts could ever desire.
Psalm 37:4 "Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart."