The "Why" Behind the "Do"

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I've been thinking alot about motives recently.  It's a subject that haunts me endlessly; I guess because it's something I struggle with myself.  There's nothing quite like doing the right thing for the wrong reason.  It kind of sucks the "rightness"....well, right out of the whole action. 

The other day, during a lull of clients at the CPC, I sat down and started flipping through the shelves of literature we have there.  In one of the books I found a little slip of paper with this stirring qoute by A.W. Tozer on it:

"It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it is why he does it. The motive is everything. Let a man sanctify the Lord God in his heart and he can thereafter do no common act."

It kind of took my breathe away when I read that.  Not because it was profound (which it is, by the way) but because it was so relavent to something I struggle with.  That little sticky note just jumped out at me and I quickly scribbled it down on another slip of paper to take home with me later. 

I've thought about that qoute a lot since finding it.  It seems to always be at the forefront of my mind whenever I start weighing the consequences of doing one thing or another.  Making choices can get tough  when the why behind those choices gets questioned.   I don't like my motives questioned.  I'd like to fool everyone else (and myself, while I'm at it) into thinking that I do all the right things for the right reasons.  Problem is, much of the time my motives aren't as pure as I'd like to think they are.

For me, checking motives gets especially tough on traditionally controversial issues in the conservative -homeschool-world.   I've fought the skirts vs. pants war for years.  Been a fierce champion of stay-at-home-daughterhood since I was 12.  College vs. no college, courtship vs. dating, makeup vs. no makeup....on all those issues I've always been a staunch supporter of the "conservative" side of these issues.

But taking a closer look at them all again, it seems like the motives behind each of these choices is far more important than the choices themselves.  Asking myself why can often seal the deal on which direction I'm going to go.  Am I wearing skirts because they make me somehow look more spiritual?  On the other hand, am I wearing jeans to appear more "with it" or to look like everyone else?  The difficulty is that fitting in works just the same with skirts as it does pants.  Wanting to fit in with "church people" by dressing just like them doesn't make the skirt-wearer any more holy than the jeans-wearer.

See how murky the whole thing can get?  It's truly a matter of the heart.  Motives make or break the actions. 

Seems like people-pleasing gets me tripped up alot when it comes to motives.  And that's rough because there are a whole lot of people out there....and living to please all of them makes for one miserable existence.  And why is it so important that others think well of me, anyway?  Living for that smile of approval or pat on the back is a sure-fire way to mess up in life.  And it begs the question, just who am I living for? People, sinful, messed up humans, like me? (Who are probably hoping to win my approval, too?) Or God?

"Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ."  ~Galations 1:10

Tough one, people pleasing.  I like my reputation.  I like to be well thought of.  I'd like to constantly live in the smile of hundreds, march triumphantly through life with the spotlight beaming and my whole circle of friends (hey, the world while we're at it) applauding my every move.

But who am I trying to serve?  Why am I doing what I do, wearing what I wear, going where I go, or even writing what I write?  Heck, if I'm writing this blog post with the intention of somehow being revered or admired, being thought of as "spiritual" or "holy"......than what a waste of time. 

Motives are everything.  If I'm not doing something for the right reason, I might as well not even do it at all.  Better yet - run a check on those motives, adjust as prompted by the Lord, and change the action.  If I'm not living for the Lord, I'm not truly living at all.


Abby said...

This is exactly what I needed to hear today! Thanks!

About This Blog

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not
on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will
make your paths straight."

Proverbs 3:5-6

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