Unmask Your Motives

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The frenetic pace of modern life often leaves us with barely enough time to brush our teeth in the morning. The sterile glow of a smartphone governs every second of our lives, telling us where to go and when to be there. We simply don’t have time to ask the important question “why?” Why do we choose to take on another Bible study? To help with the Youth Group on Wednesday nights? To sing with the band on Sunday morning?

Tim Chaddick, the founding pastor of Reality LA and author of the book Better: How Jesus Satisfies the Search for Meaning challenges us to think not just about the “what” of our lives, but also the “why.” 

We clearly can’t unmask our motives if we don’t take the time to investigate our internal ”whys.” What things prevent you from stopping and questioning your motives for ministry? For life in general?
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We often excuse poor motives with godly goals. ”I’m not jealous of the mega-church on that side of the street, I just want to make God’s church bigger on this side.” What motives might you be hiding behind godly-sounding goals?
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Tim points out that, sometimes, insidious motives hide beneath our masks of good intentions. Ecclesiastes 4:4 argues that perhaps one of the strongest motivators for anything we do is envy.  

Ecclesiastes 4:4 (ESV)

4Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Does the author of Ecclesiastes make an exception for anyone in the verse above? Why is envy such a powerful motivator?
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Where do you feel the temptation most strongly to make ministry decisions based on envy? What circumstances reinforce that temptation? What help to squash it?
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If we don’t carve off a slice of our week for reflection, sinful motivations can potentially poison our lives. In the video, Tim added that journaling—writing out the thoughts of our inmost being—can be a useful tool in bring to light our poor motivations. 

Think through your weekly schedule. Where can you find thirty minutes in your week to spend with God asking the “why” question?
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 Tim concluded with some thoughts on how to get at our underlying motivations. The “why” of our lives will only float to the surface if we spend concentrated time stirring up the waters of our souls. In the busyness of life, it takes strategic planning to have enough time to unmask our motivations.