As a Christian leader, why I do what I do is critical to God-honoring work. Many years ago I came across 1st Corinthians 4:5 in the Living Bible:

“So be careful not to jump to conclusions before the Lord returns as to whether someone is a good servant or not. When the Lord comes, he will turn on the light so that everyone can see exactly what each one of us is really like, deep down in our hearts. Then everyone will know why we have been doing the Lord’s work. At that time God will give to each one whatever praise is coming to him.”

Honestly, this verse scares me a bit—maybe more than a bit! It’s probing the why behind the what, how and when I do things. What’s really driving me, motivating me and is at the center of my affection(s)? The motives behind what I do are some times not easy to ascertain. It’s probably true that no one has 100% pure motives. It can be  painful to ask myself what truly drives me and keeps me going. Motives are important and at times difficult to understand. 

One of the things I have in writing in various places is the phrase “Led by Him, empowered by Him and honoring Him.” As a leader what I do can harmfully degenerate into led by me, empowered by me and honoring me. I am driven by my ideas, my energy, my personality, my gifts and my vision and all the while, thinking and assuming,  it’s all about Him when in actuality, it’s all about me. It can start with “God-given and end up being ego-driven.” 

Here are a few verses in The Message that have also been uncomfortable but necessary for me to think about:

“God tested us thoroughly to make sure we were qualified to be trusted with this Message. Be assured that when we speak to you, we’re not after crowd-approval—only God-approval. Since we’ve been put through that battery of tests, you’re guaranteed that both we and the Message are free of error, mixed motives, or hidden agendas. We never used words to butter you up. No one knows that better than you. And God knows we never used words as a smoke screen to take advantage of you.” I Thessalonians 2:3-5

Here are phrases from this passage which give me pause:

  • Not after crowd approval
  • Mixed motives
  • Hidden agendas
  • Take advantage of you

I think it’s good to ask God to search my heart and help me to be honest with myself, as uncomfortable and disconcerting as that may be.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”~Psalm 139:23,24 ESV

Here is a simple worship song from the 1980’s by Rick Founds and Todd Collins which I still sing to get my heart right:

“Search my heart

Look deep within my soul

See if there be anything at all

That might keep me from hearing you

Keep me from knowing you

Keep me from loving you, dear Lord.”

As this new year has just started, how about doing a little personal soul searching?