Our motivations matter

By Tricia Lovejoy

I’ll admit it…I care what people think about me. Oh, I talk a big game of being my own, strong­-willed person who doesn’t mind swimming against the current, but, deep down, I want people to like me. I want them to be inspired by what I do.

It’s natural, really.

Most people want to be thought well of, especially us pastors’ wives or women in ministry. People are always watching us with our families, our choices, our responses. Most of us are compelled to not only give others something good to watch, but to be the best show in town! Honestly, it comes from a place of knowing the world has so many bad examples, and we simply want to model a better way. However, those very natural feelings of wanting to appear good to others can become a tripping point if we aren’t very careful.

Concern about what people think can tempt us to merely act” in good ways without any heartfelt emotion to back it up.

Case in point—Going to church because it’s the right thing to do rather than out of pure desire to worship. Another example is warmly greeting others in the church parking lot after having a war of words with the kids in the car. (I know, I know. I’m stepping on toes now.) Or—let’s get even more real—shaking hands and hugging necks beside your husband in the lobby while privately engaged in the silent treatment of him.

Guilty as charged, sometimes!

Jesus continually taught his followers about His expectations of them in Mathew 6. Chief among them? “Don’t try to impress others.”

Jesus warned us not to do good deeds to be noticed, not to give to those in need to be noticed, not to pray elaborate prayers to be noticed and not to fast to be noticed. God absolutely wants us to do all of those things, but, He desires the right motivation.

Bottom line, our heartfelt obedience is worth more to Him than our ulterior motives or needs. So, what is our challenge today? To evaluate our true motivations!

We should constantly ask ourselves, why we do the things we do. Our answers will reveal if we are offering God heartfelt obedience or a fake performance.

That question could also help us discover some areas in our lives that need a quick fix and others that might require a bit more wrestling. But that’s ok! Our lifetime ­and our ministry ­is our journey of getting to know God better.

Just be on the journey!

Published June 27, 2016

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Tricia Lovejoy

Tricia lives in Birmingham, Ala., and is married to Shawn Lovejoy, an author and the founder of CourageToLead, a coaching resource for pastors. She blogs at SharpenHer.com with insights into our Christian life, a little fun, and a lot of real-life transparency. Together, she and her husband lead out in ministry and life. They have three children.