There is motive and motivation that drives nearly every aspect of our decisions and directions. Motivation can impact our family life, our careers, our spiritual choices, and so much more. I’ve written about this before, but reading this week and then in conversations I have had, it reminded me again about the importance of understanding our motivations behind everything we do. Something we all have difficulty with is allowing our motivations to be driven by anything outside of relationship with God through Jesus Christ. This is certainly a flaw in my life that I have had to come to terms with and still struggle with and I know I will continue to struggle with throughout the course of my life. The problem here lies in the fact in our fallen nature, and with so much to tempt us in this world, it is so easy to strive to seek having our needs net apart from a relationship with with God through Jesus Christ.
In his book, “Effective Biblical Counseling,” Larry Crabb explains that motivation is “the drive or urge to meet our needs.” It is that sense of momentum that impels us to do something to become significant and secure. As a fallen people we experience an acute, keen desire to be significant secure.” Simple stated we are all filled deep down a sense of longing and need. We know there is something out there we need to fill that need to help us feel significant and secure.
In this world it is everywhere. We may tend to feel secure in our work and career and believe that striving to continually earn more will show significance to your life. Believe me, this is where I was for a long time. For married couples, it could be trying to find significance with your spouse and thinking you need to keep doing things to make them love you. Crabb gives a great example of this. Even in the church, we may find significance in getting ourselves involved in every aspect of what is going on and allowing people to take notice of your works.
Now, I am not saying there is anything wrong with career advancement, anything wrong with doing things for your spouse, or anything wrong with heavy church involvement. Those are not the problems. The problem here in can lie in the motivations behind that. Is the motivation driven for self or is it driven out of a sheer desire to glorify Christ in your life. Proverbs 16:2 says, “All ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the LORD weighs the motives.” James 4:3 says, “You ask and do not receive, because you with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” Lastly, Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:1, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.”
Our motivations drive our lives in many ways and if the motives are not right and are not centered on our faith in Christ, which for one is called sin, then we need to do some serious re-evaluating ourselves. Like I mentioned, I had to do some real evaluating of my life. For a long time, I found my significance and security in career advancement. Building my experience and education so that I could make a higher income and give my family more. You know what I found in that? Emptiness. Why? Because the motivation was wrong. It was all built around me and what I wanted and thought I needed to do.
Now moving into a life as a Christian counselor, once again, I had to check my motives. Was I doing this because I was stuck and wanted an escape or was it really driven on faith and the desire to truly glorify God and fulfill the Great Commission making disciples for Christ through helping people find their significance in Him and healing and restoration through Him alone. I cannot heal people and I know that. I can only help lead them to the one that can provide the real healing and restoration. The same thing that I found through Christ and is available to everyone.
I’ve had to do some evaluating of myself nearly everyday to ensure my motives are in line with my faith. I pray every morning to have my actions and thoughts centered on Christ. With each passing day, I realize that God is leading me and now being centered on Him, I can follow Him as my motivations are now centered on Him. Is this the case for every part of my life? No. I have to continually check my motives in everything. We all do. Understand the results that flawed, self-driven motivations bring. Real significance and security in this life is not possible apart from a relationship through Christ. Trying to seek it through worldly things will lead to emptiness and deeper brokenness. This is another part of the reason why I believe God is leading me as a counselor. So many have found this emptiness through self-reliance and need to be led differently. Having been there bares a strong testimony.
So I’ll close with this, motives drive us. We need to closely evaluate what really drives us in our desire of significance and security in this life. Don’t let a self-driven life be your motivation. Instead, seek your motivations through your faith in Christ and let Him be the driver of your motives.
“We have a Father, and He cares about our internal world – issues of motive, issues of fear, issues of validation.” – John Eldredge