Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me. (Philippians 1:17)
And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. (James 4:3)
During my days in seminary, I formed a habit that helped me immensely throughout life. I had my artistic sister, Luci, print a simple, three-word question on a small rectangular card I placed on the wall above the desk where I spent so much of my time.
Just black letters on a white card, with a bold question mark at the end:
WHAT'S YOUR MOTIVE?
I no longer have the card, but the question is now indelibly etched on my mind. I ask it almost every day of my life. It has proven to be an essential checkpoint I now apply on a regular basis:
Why are you planning this?
What's the reason behind your doing that?
Why did you say yes (or no)?
What is the motive for writing that letter?
Why are you excited over this opportunity?
What causes you to bring up that subject?
Why did you mention his or her name?
What's your motive, Swindoll?
Searching, probing, penetrating questions.
Because the path of servanthood is so perilous, we need to cultivate a sensitive walk with God marked by obedience.
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