I have started reading Oswald Chambers “My Utmost For His Highest” in the mornings again. I did this back when I was a new believer in college and was greatly influenced by his wise words. This is a huge blessing already to get the opportunity to start my day with some of the things that he has written. With that in mind, I read the devotional for Wednesday and its words have stuck with me for a couple days.
Everyone has motive. Without motive very little would ever get accomplished. My motive for training is to increase my total in competition. My motive for coaching is to see my athletes succeed in ways that they never thought possible. My motive for eating Chick-fil-A on a regular basis is to support a company that I appreciate and ultimately to satisfy the unquenchable desire I have for the vanilla milkshake. We all have motives.
Many of you have approached fitness and weightlifting with specific motives in mind. It is those motives that continue pushing you back to the gym on a regular basis. In this particular morning devotional, Chambers talked about our motives for approaching God. Why do we pray to Him? Why do we spend time reading His Word?
In the devotional Chambers says this, “We have become so self-centered that we go to God only for something from Him, and not for God Himself. It is like saying, “No, Lord, I don’t want you; I want myself. But I do want You to clean me and fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I want to be on display in Your showcase so I can say, ’This is what God has done me.’ ”
Sometimes those intentions, as good-natured as they may be, prevent us from really savoring and knowing the Lord. It would be no different than me approaching Megan and wanting relationship with her only for her ability to help or serve me. That would likely end in disaster and be the worst foundation for our marriage. The point that Oswald makes is that we often approach the Lord with the wrong motives. We approach Him desiring something from Him that we believe is of greater value than just simply himself. The reality is however, that any gift He may give us will always fail in comparison to the gift of Himself. There is no greater gain than Christ. To desire or expect something greater then this is not only preparing ourselves for failure but also making an idol of Gods gifts rather than worshiping God himself.
We all have motives. We all approach decisions and choices and often relationships with motives. The heart question here is do we approach our relationship with the Lord with self-centered motives or do we approach the Lord with desire for Him alone?
When I read verses like the ones below they serve as reminders that our greatest gift afforded to us is Christ Himself. Not Christ’s gifts. Not Christ’s answering our prayer. Christ Himself. Check your motives for why you pursue your relationship with Christ. Is it so that we can be closer to Him? Or so that we can be closer to what He can give us?
“By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!”
(2 Corinthians 9:13-15 ESV)
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
(James 1:16-18 ESV)