Are My Movtives Pleasing to God?


Gathering At the Well

Are my motives pleasing to you, God?

As I read thru the discussion questions for this week I can see where I have gone thru so many different stages in this area. And, I continue to go thru them. While I would love to say that I always have motives that are pleasing to God, it simply is not true.

Here are the discussion questions and then I'll take you on a bit of my journey where motives are concerned....

What is the real underlying motive for all the good stuff that you do?

For example, Do you go to church to fulfill an obligation?

Do you get involved to get a reaction from someone; possibly pity, recognition or even money?

Do you volunteer in your child’s classroom to analyze the new teacher or is it to help?

Do you share prayer requests for a chance to gossip or because you truly care and are praying?

When I look at my motives for attending church over the years and being involved in various church activities, I see so many phases that I have gone through. It reminds me of the stages we go thru as we grow from infants to children to teenagers and then move into adulthood. Constantly maturing as we grow... developing stronger relationships.... learning as we go about what is truly important and is worthy of our focus.

As a child I always attended church. I would never have thought of doing anything different. I was raised in a Christian home and we attended church regularly. It was comfortable place for me with many friends and loved ones. However, as comfortable as it was and as normal as it was, I was there primarily because my parents took me. They saw to it that I was in church.

As I moved into my teen years, I was still always involved in church, but I remember this age as the first times that I didn't always want to be there. After a fun Saturday night out with friends, getting up early on Sunday morning to attend church wasn't always the priority for me that it should have been. Occassionally I had to miss out on other activities because of church services or church related activities. My motives for being at church was, many weeks, because that is where I was expected to be by my parents. I was involved in many youth activities, so while I willingly attended, it was more because I knew I would have fun with my friends. Oh, yea... and my high school boyfriend attended the same church. I'm sure that played into my motives, as well. :)

During college was the first time I would periodically skip a Sunday morning service. Nobody was there to make me go and it just seemed kind of grown up to be able to make the decision NOT to go (boy, did I have that backwards, huh?). Often I went because my friends were going or I felt a bit guilty because I knew my parents would want me in church.

Once out of college I attended the church my parents attended. I became actively involved in the singles sunday school class and over the next few years became a children's sunday school teacher, preschool children's choir teacher, and became a member on a couple of church committees. I think back to that time and I'm sure some of those were places where God wanted me to be, but I also know that alot of my decisions to accept those positions were more for one of two other reasons.... 1)my friends were involved, or 2)I could not, for the life of me, tell anyone 'No'.

In my late twenties, I moved out of state and was further away from my family that I had ever been. I was single, but was living in the same city with my boyfriend (who is now my hubby). The first year or so after I moved I went thru phases with my involvement in church. And, honestly, when I did attend it was more out of a feeling of responsiblity or guilt.

After Jeff and I were married, we did attend church. Although, for some time it was sporadic. However, after we had been married a year or two we found this great church in our area. It is here that we have made our church home. It is here that we are raising our children to love the Lord. It is here that I (and Jeff) have realized and refocused my motives.

I can honestly say for the first time in my life that I don't attend church because I fell guilty if I don't or because someone else expects me to be there or any of a thousand other reasons. I am there each Sunday morning because I WANT to be there and becuase I feel that is where the Lord wants me to be. And, on those rare occasions when I wake up on Sunday morning and just don't feel like getting out of bed, I am ALWAYS so glad that I did drag myself up and on to church. I leave renewed and refreshed... ready to go out and face the week ahead of me. Fully knowing that God is with me and I have spent a wonderful morning worshiping Him. A worship time that usually stays with me thru the week in my own personal Bible Study and praise times.

As I've shared all this, I realize I've written a longer post than I had intended. What I've wanted to communicate here is that, at least for me, realizing my true motives has been a journey. I have had to "grow up" in my physical maturity, in my mental maturity, and in my spiritual maturity to find my true motives and to begin making them "right" in my own life. I still miss the mark on many days, but I am growing and finding that as I seek the Lord more and more in my daily life, that my motives are becoming more in line with what and where the Lord would have them.

14 Thoughts Shared:

Jenn said...

I too have gone through these same stages of church going. Thanks for sharing.

Chris said...

thanks for sharing :D

Joyfull said...

What an encouragement to see how true obedience and a desire to worship God came through. Sometimes things must be sifted from our lives to get to the heart He wants for us. Thanks for sharing today.

JesusRulzMe said...

Hey there sister Melanie!

I LOVE this:

"I still miss the mark on many days, but I am growing and finding that as I seek the Lord more and more in my daily life, that my motives are becoming more in line with what and where the Lord would have them."

So true, so true! We ALL miss the mark; only Christ Jesus fulfills all of our Father God's righteous commandments...and I'm so thankful that I live in Jesus' righteousness and not my own....what a scary thought!

Now that I've just typed that, I'm even more thankful for my Savior and to you dear sister for this wonderful reminder of who we are in our dead flesh, but all that the Holy Spirit is conforming us to spite of ourselves....just like Christ! Thank You Father! ♥

Bless you dear sister,

Laurie Ann said...

I went through a lot of these stages in going to church, too, Melanie. I praise God that now I know I am part of Christ's body, and that church is not just where my friends are. I believe growing up does have alot to do with it, and wonder if we hadn't been raised in the church, how different would we have matured in this line of thinking? Oh wow! Great post, dear friend!

Darlene said...

I am amazed at how much our stages in going to church are alike. I agree with you on the stages that we go through. There are so many times that I feel as a babe in christ...I still have so much to learn. Wonderful post!

My husband is in Texas today. He delivered a load to McGregor Texas this morning. I hope the weather is beautiful there. He is so tired of the ice and snow!

Yolanda said...

I wasn't raised in a Chrisitan home as far as a relationship with Christ, I was raised in a religious home. Used against me to make me behave better when I was displeasing my Mom. Rules intead of relationship so I went the full gamut of not being in church for about 10 years, but when I came back, I was hungry for a relationship and my motives changed drastically. Thank you Melanie, for sharing your heart with us today.

LAURIE said...

Melanie, I loved what you had to share about the different stages of life. I would have to say that my motives have also changed with my stages of spiritual development. I am glad that God is patient with us. Aren't you? Thank you for joining me in todays discussion of "are my motives pleasing" -God bless, Laurie

Katie said...

I guess the "joy is in the journey".
Thanks for sharing what was on your heart. I am motivated to make my own motives list.

Rebecca said...

I agree that sometimes I don't feel like doing somethings either, and then out of my motive to please God, he blesses me even when my attitude isn't the best. Especially when it comes to Sunday services. Thanks for sharing!

Sab said...

Oh, I love reading your stages through your Church walk. I still have a lot of growing to do, but I can see my own stages and growth. It's always good to see how much we've grown along with how much we have yet to grow...

God Bless!

eph2810 said...

I wanted to leave a comment at lunch time, but the browser wasn't nice to me - lol...

Anyway, I think that we all, at some point, wander off from the community of believers. I believe that the Proverbs Scripture "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." rings true though :)

Thank you for sharing your heart with us on this post.

Sweet Blessings said...

Thank you for sharing! I can see that participating in this meme challenges you and ENCOURAGES us at the same time because of your authenticity and desire for the Lord's will in your life. Blessings to you! Amanda:)

June said...

Thanks for picturing my life. I struggle with my motives. I am so glad He knows our heart,