Grab Your Journal: Let’s Explore Our Desires and Motivations

Grab your journal friends. Today we are going to do some work on our motivations.

First, why do our motivations matter? Well, let’s consider the disciples. James and John so badly wanted the status and glory of being near Jesus (see Mark 10:35-40). Peter believed in his strength he could honor the Lord (see Mark 14:29-31).

None of these disciples understood that their glory was nothing compared to the glory of the Lord. Our motivations will betray us when we are not seeking Him wholeheartedly.

James and John realized that service and humility are better than status. Peter learned that his strength is no match for this world apart from the Holy Spirit.

What is your motivation behind your desires?

So, let’s consider our own lives. Consider your desires. What is your motivation behind those desires?

Have you ever played the “5 Whys” game? It may sound like a game toddlers play, but I love it for figuring out my true motivation behind my actions.

Let’s consider my desire to write a book someday. 

Q – Why do I want to write a book?

A – I want my story to lead others to grow in their walk with the Lord.

Q – Why?

A – I want to obey scripture, and scripture calls us to share our testimony. 

Q – Why?

A – I want my actions to reflect my love for the Lord.

Q – Why?

A – I want to hear those words “well done, good and faithful servant.”

Q – Why?

A – I want the Lord’s approval.

And, there it is…my motivation and theological struggle. Do you see it? It’s so subtle. So many of my answers sound good! Obedience, love for the Lord. And yet, there is it.

Ultimately, my motivations land in a faith where I am seeking approval. Here is my struggle: I am working for my salvation.

God’s Word is clear that I cannot do anything to earn salvation, and yet, when I dig deep, I’m still trying.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 

Ephesians 2:8-9, ESV

Lest you give up reading this blog and relegate this little corner of the internet to failure. I realize my faulty thinking, and I am thankful for sanctifying grace. I am thankful that the Lord loves me and continues to work on me. This side of heaven, I will fail Him, and I will continue to seek Him to grow in both head and heart knowledge.

What do you do with faulty motivations?

What about you? As you dig into the “5 Whys”, what motivation reveals itself? And possibly more importantly, what do we do with those faulty motivations?

In a word, I believe the answer is repentance. Of course, our culture is not always so good at repenting. Justifying? Yes! We can explain and try to justify our sins all day long, but repenting is harder. It is simple, and yet, so hard.

So what does repenting look like?

1 – Confessing where we messed up. Realizing where we turned our hearts away from the Lord.

2 – Turning around and gazing upon Jesus again.

3 – Walk toward Him in wholehearted obedience.

So grab your journal. Play the “5 Whys?” Maybe you’ll land with more pure motivations than I did, but if not, prepare for the work of repentance. Know that in that work, you’ll land in the loving arms of your Savior. You’ll land right where you were meant to be. 

As I wrap up today, how about we meditate on some Ephesians again:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. 

Ephesians 2:8-10, ESV

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