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Our Motivation Matters

Do you ever stop to think about who benefits from your actions? In a lot of cases, the things we do are designed to help us benefit from our actions. If we benefit from our actions, is it also fair to say, we do things to get recognition as well? Since we were babies, we have been conditioned to try to do things for applause. When you clap for a baby, their face lights up. When they start talking, they say, “Look at me,” and then they do something to try to get praise. Unfortunately, when this transitions into adulthood, it becomes something that can inflate our pride. When that happens, we begin to be controlled by what other people think.

Pride is very dangerous. Look at King Saul. He started off very humble. When Samuel found him, he referred to himself as a man from the smallest tribe and the least important family. After he became king, that humility left him and pride took its place. He made decisions that benefited himself rather than God or others. It got the the point that God was sad that he ever made Saul king. When Samuel went to Saul to break the news that God was going to take the kingdom away from him in 1 Samuel 15, Saul was setting up a monument to himself. Pride had taken over Saul’s life to the point he only cared about what God wanted when he got caught or was in a bind.

Romans 8:5 says, “Those who are motivated by the flesh only pursue what benefits themselves. But those who live by the impulses of the Holy Spirit are motivated to pursue spiritual realities” (TPT). When pride is in the driver’s seat of our life, we do things that benefit ourselves and bring us glory. 1 Peter 5:5 tells us that God is opposed to the proud. We must learn to seek God rather than the praise of men. Romans 8 draws a line between those who are Spirit minded and fleshly minded. The fruit of our lives will show which mind we have. Our motivation matters and is the difference between being humble or filled with pride.

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

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Serving Others Better

Imagine this scene. You’re in the kitchen trying to cook dinner. You have one child asking you for help with homework. Another child is in the high chair crying wanting something to eat because they just dumped their bowl of food on the floor. The TV is on and it’s turned up loud. Your phone then starts ringing. Just then you have a friend walk in. They survey all that’s going on, give a chuckle, sit down on the couch and ask when dinner is going to be ready. Can you imagine how that would make you feel? How would that change if your friend walked in, surveyed the situation and started helping? What if they picked up the spilled dinner and started to feed the baby to stop the crying? Even though they are a guest, you would be grateful to have them jump in and help.

Unfortunately, many of us are like the friend who comes in, sees everything going on at your church and sits down. Why would you help? You’re a guest, not a staff member. You can see there are things that need to be done, but it’s not your job. You’re there to get fed. The disciples had a similar mentality on the night of the Last Supper. A couple went ahead to prepare everything while the rest showed up expecting to just eat. However, they forgot one important detail. They forgot to get someone to wash everyone’s feet. Everyone was aware of the mistake, but no one did anything. They were arguing over who was the greatest instead. It was at that time that Jesus took off his outer garment, put on an apron and grabbed a towel. He saw what needed to be done, even though He had a lot on His mind that He needed to say, He washed their feet.

Having been at that dinner, Peter wrote 1 Peter 5:5 that says, “And all of you must put on the apron of humility, to serve one another; for the scripture says, ‘God resists the proud, but shows favor to the humble’” (GNT). Peter makes no exceptions in this verse. “All of you must put on the apron of humility.” None of us are above serving or helping others at home, at church or wherever you go. People all around us need help, but we have to lose the me first mentality if we’re going to serve others like Jesus. He knew that Judas would betray Him that night, yet He washed his feet and served Him dinner anyway. That is our example of putting on the apron of humility. It’s not about us or how uncomfortable we feel. It’s about showing the love of Christ to those who least deserve it because it was shown to us when we least deserved it. We must learn to serve others better if we’re going to be more Christlike.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

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Be Humble


Over and over the Bible records people whose hearts had turned away from God. It’s hard to put it into true perspective because we can read through a hundred years of history in a matter of minutes. One minute they’re serving God, the next they’re not. It’s easy to wonder how they could switch so fast. When you put it in context and you think about our present time, it’s not very different. You can see how each generation pulls further from God until He brings judgement.

When I look at where we are today, the political situation, the racial divides, and the desperation of the Church to be accepted by society, I see God’s impending judgement. Each time God brought a judgement on the people in the Bible however, He relented if they humbled themselves and repented. I believe that’s what we are in need of today. It’s important for each of us to stop thinking more highly of ourselves than we should, recognize our only hope for healing society is God and not us, and to repent and pray for forgiveness. God can and will turn this generation toward Him if we will humble ourselves.

To help with this process, I’m sharing verses today that discuss humbling ourselves.

1. You’re cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way. And do you suppose God doesn’t care? The proverb has it that “he’s a fiercely jealous lover.” And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you’ll find. It’s common knowledge that “God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble.”
James 4:4-6 MSG

2. He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, and to love kindness and mercy, and to humble yourself and walk humbly with your God? 

Micah 6:8 AMP

3. Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.

2 Chronicles 7:14 NLT

4. My sacrifice is a humble spirit, O God; you will not reject a humble and repentant heart.

Psalm 51:17 GNT

5. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

James 4:10 NIV

6. “Relax, Daniel,” he continued, “don’t be afraid. From the moment you decided to humble yourself to receive understanding, your prayer was heard, and I set out to come to you. But I was waylaid by the angel-prince of the kingdom of Persia and was delayed for a good three weeks. But then Michael, one of the chief angel-princes, intervened to help me. I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia. And now I’m here to help you understand what will eventually happen to your people.”

Daniel 10:12-14 MSG

7. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Matthew 18:4 NLT

8. Happy are those who are humble; they will receive what God has promised!

Matthew 5:5 GNT

9. When the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, this word of the Lord came to Shemaiah: “Since they have humbled themselves, I will not destroy them but will soon give them deliverance. My wrath will not be poured out on Jerusalem through Shishak.”

2 Chronicles 12:7 NIV

10. Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:]

Philippians 2:5 AMP

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A Humble Heart

  
James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor” (NLT). When James wrote these words, he had read all the stories in the Old Testament and knew how God operates. God has always had a special place for those who have a humble heart. Take Moses for example. He was raised as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, yet somehow he was a humble person. He didn’t think of himself as being above the Israelite slaves.

When God asked him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, Moses’ response was very telling. In Exodus 3:11, Moses protested, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” He was so humble, he didn’t jump on the opportunity to lead his people to freedom. He didn’t ask what was in it for him. He didn’t ask God for a signing bonus. Instead, he didn’t think he was worthy of the task and asked God why would He choose him.

God looks for people who are humble to use for some of His greatest work. He knows that the more humble the heart, the less chance for pride to interfere. Humility seeks God’s will while pride seeks its own. One way to humble yourself is to have a realistic look at your talents and to compare them to the task God has for you. Very quickly, a humble person will realize they don’t have what it takes and will ask what Moses did: “Who am I?”

When we are humble enough to to know we are incapable of doing great things on our own, then we are in just the right mindset to be lifted up by God. James 4:6 tells us that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. That grace He gives is what gives us the sufficiency to accomplish His will. That grace keeps our pride in check and our heart in line with His. If we will learn to be humble like Moses, God will lift us up and honor us by helping us accomplish things we could never do on our own.

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