Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:3-5)
In God’s economy motives matter because he examines our hearts. God wants our service to be motivated by love for him and humans. If we are not motivated by love our service could become self-righteous service. Richard Foster in Celebration of Discipline provides a description of what self-righteous service looks like. A summarized version of his description is provided below:
- Human energy versus energy from the Holy Spirit;
- Impressed with the “big deal” and concerned with impressive gains;
- Requires external rewards (to be seen and appreciated);
- Likes reciprocity in kind (some kind of pay back);
- Picks and chooses who to serve (usually the high and powerful get served);
- Affected by moods and whims.
If any of these descriptions characterize our acts of service then we need to question our motivation. By contrast, I believe the acid test of proper motivation is this; does the act of service originate from love? 1st Corinthians 13:4 – 8 serves as a great barometer of motives:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
What do you think?
April 9, 2014 at 1:07 pm
I use to be motivated by wrong motives. As a result my life was very stressful. It led to bad choices which resulted in unpleasant consequences for me and others. ( We reap what we sow).
I would suggest the outcome of those motives shown in the bullet points above is stress and unhappiness, either immediately or in the future.
Once my motives became lined up with GOD’s word I found myself exclaiming ‘ Jesus your yoke is indeed light’ (see Matt 11:30).
Because I found freedom from striving
If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea. (Isa 48:18 NIV)
Therefore I would encourage anyone to examine fervently their thoughts against the scripture and should it come out wanting pray to God to give you the right attitudes. HE did it for me!
You owe to your mental health 🙂