What’s Your Motive?

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, Renew a right spirit within me.” Psalms 51:10

Wouldn’t that be a great name for a game show, “What’s Your Motive?” Motives are a sort of mind game, aren’t they? It’s ultimately about our intention to have you believe something or to acquire something we want. Motives can be good or bad, wrong or right, pure or impure.

Have you ever known someone always seems to operate with a hidden agenda? You know the one. The one who is “fake”. The one you can’t trust. The one who whenever he/she is talking is more than likely lying to you? Do you remember when you first found out this person had a hidden agenda? You figured out this person’s method of operation was tricking you and deceiving you for their personal gain? Maybe it was subtle. Maybe they just wanted you to believe something that they are not. You feel deceived, betrayed….like you got kicked in the stomach.

You see, I was one of those people. In active addition, that was my M.O. I wasn’t like that when sober though. No where near it. As days of sobriety started to add up, God revealed to me the subconscious manipulation methods I used in order to get people to do what I wanted. He showed me how I could be subtle in my intent and that my motive was not pure. I wasn’t trying to hurt anybody. It had become a learned behavior and half the time I wasn’t even aware of it.

So I asked God to help me stay sensitive to the motives of my Heart. I ask God often to bring to the surface the little bits & pieces of impurity that may have lingered or have worked their way back in again.

“Grant me purity of heart, that I may honor you.” – Psalms 86:11

God doesn’t reveal these things to me so I will feel bad about myself. That is what the devil wants me to believe. I use to live in a state of guilt and shame (see my post about forgiving myself). God knew my self esteem was unstable back then, and in time I would heal. But now He reveals the condition of my heart so that I can repent any unconfessed sin. I want Him to. I ask Him for this. He reveals my subtle motives so that I can become pleasing in His sight. So I can change. So I can honor Him.

God knows my heart. He knows me better than I do. God knows that I really don’t want to hurt people or even hurt myself. He knows I wanted to change and I wanted to please Him but I couldn’t do that until He showed me the motives of my heart. It’s important that I keep my motives in check on a daily basis. Without purity of hear, I won’t be able to move forward to what the Lord wants for my life.

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Step 6 – Attitudes and Actions

BIBLE READING: PHILIPPIANS 3:12-14

Step Six – “We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.”

Getting entirely ready to have God remove “all” our defects of character sounds impossible. In reality we know that such perfection is out of human reach. This is another way of saying that we are going to do our best work toward a lifelong goal that no none ever reaches until eternity.

The apostle Paul expressed a similar thought: “I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be…Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven” (Phil. 3:12-14).

step6

This combination of a positive attitude and energetic effort is part of the mystery of our cooperation with God. Paul said: “Be even more careful to put into action God’s saving work in your lives, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, and giving you the desire to obey Him and the power to do what pleases Him”.

We will need to practice these steps the rest of our life. We don’t have to demand perfection of ourself; it is enough to keep moving ahead as best we can. We can look forward to our rewards with the hope of becoming all that God intends us to be. God will strengthen and encourage us as we do so.

The Twelve Steps

1. We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him.

4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. We continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us, and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of those steps, we tried to carry this message to addicts and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Step One: Dangerous Self-Deception

Bible Reading: Judges 16:1-31

We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction and that our lives had become unmanageable.

When we refuse to admit our powerlessness we are only deceiving ourselves. The lies we tell ourselves and others are familiar: “I can stop any time I want to.” “I’m in control; this one won’t hurt anything.” And all the while, we are inching closer to disaster.

Samson was one of Israel’s judges. As a child, he had been dedicated to God and God had gifted him with supernatural strength. But Samson had a lifelong weakness—the way he related to women. Samson was especially blinded to the dangers he faced in his relationship with Delilah. His enemies were paying her to discover the secret of his strength. Three times she begged Samson to tell her his secret. Each time she set him up and tried to hand him over to the enemy. Three times Samson lied to her and was able to escape. But each time he got closer to telling her the truth. Finally, Samson revealed his secret, was taken captive, and died a slave in enemy hands.

Samson’s real problem can be found in the the lies he told himself. By not admitting his powerlessness, he remained blind to the obvious danger that his pride and desire for beautiful foreign women were leading him into. This caused him to gradually inch his way toward an untimely death.

We need to be careful not to fall into a similar trap. As we learn to acknowledge our powerlessness over our addictive/compulsive tendencies daily, we will become more aware of behaviors that will likely lead us to destruction.