Sunday, November 16, 2014

Motivated by love

      Over the past weeks and months there are many things that I have been thinking about, but one that keeps coming back to me is motivation.  What drives me to do what I do?  What do I base my decisions upon?  Should I homeschool my children instead of putting them in public school?  Why would I do this, is it because I have a heart for it and feel like the Lord is calling me to or is it because I am afraid of what they would face in public school and how it would affect them.  There are a lot of reasons that are good to choose to homeshool, or put your children in private school, but I am convinced that doing so out of fear alone is not a good motivator.  That is me saying that I cannot trust the Lord to protect my children, I must do it myself.  That is a dangerous place to be.
   I think most, if not all of us would say they want to be motivated by love rather than fear, but in practicality we often do the opposite.  In fact, fear surrounds us so completely at times that we don't even recognize its presence or its motivation in our lives. It keeps us from helping people financially, and physically.  It stops us from traveling and keeps us from exploring God's creation.  It causes us to hoard our things and resist sharing, lest we not have enough.    I am not saying that it is bad to want to keep our children safe and well fed, but as a Christian I say that I have faith in God to provide.  I say I can trust him and if this is so, then it should be shown by every decision I make.  I want to do things because I hear the father telling me to do so, and not because I'm afraid of the alternative.  Sometimes the decisions I make are the same whether I've made them from my own wisdom or by trusting the Father and listening to what he is telling me, however it is the motivation behind them and the driving force that makes all the difference.  When I am making choices based on what I feel is best (which is an idea pushed onto us from every direction these days, that only we can control our own fate and know what is best for ourselves) or based on what I feel will make myself happiest, then I am admitting that I believe that I know and can determine what is "best" for myself and my family.  That I, Michelle Kristine Finley know better than the all knowing, uncreated God, creator of the universe, what is best.  I think we come to this sometimes because we know that God's ways are not our ways, and his interests are often not the same as our own, and we don't like that.  God is not all concerned with making us successful and prominent and popular.  His number one goal is not that the world know how great and wonderful Michelle is but that the world would know him, and love and serve him alone.  These ideas do not mix.  I cannot live for the Father and at the same time live solely for the safety and happiness of myself and my family.  They are conflicts of interest.  For this reason many people stop even trying.  They deny that God exists or ignore his existence and pretend it doesn't matter.  If that doesn't work for them then they take the idea of God and try to create in into something that fits their mold better.  However, these are flawed because again they rely solely on their own knowledge and their own self interests, which are both extremely limited.  When we try to do things on our own strength and wisdom there is no end to the unrest.  We don't know what our actions are going to cause to happen, we can only speculate. I don't think we will ever know the full extent that our actions affect the people around us.  We think they only affect ourselves, and so we only take ourselves into consideration and this is a dangerous thing my friends.  It is playing chess with only one move in mind at a time, and that simply doesn't work.  (This is one reason I will never be good at chess, I can't see more than two moves ahead and it's simply not enough.)    Even if the most important thing in the world really was our own happiness and safety, with our own knowledge and all the resources in the world we would not be able to provide these things for ourselves no matter how hard we tried, and the reason is simple.  We were not made to.  We were made to worship and serve our father, and whether we acknowledge him or not, when we choose not to do this, our world is thrown entirely off kilter.  Most of our world makes decisions based on fear or the effects of fear, and we feel its force everyday.   So what can we do when we don't even know half the time where our decisions are made from?  We can break it down and come back to the place where we ask the Father about every decision we make, and whether it seems to make sense or not, choose to serve and obey the only one we can truly trust to have our best interests really in heart.  In 1 John 4:16 it says

"We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them."
  So by choosing to listen to and obey God, we are choosing to make decisions based on love, not fear. No one loves us more than he does and no one wants good things for us more than he does, we just don't always know what those things are, so how could we know to look for them?  Let us choose to once again turn from our own wisdom and knowledge and trust the Lord with our lives and the lives of those we love.  Whenever I have cognitively chosen to do this, the Lord has always made things clear to me (we all struggle with how to hear the Lord at times, but it is a practice that has to be developed) and has blessed me by my decision.   So as we head into this wonderful new winter season I would encourage each of us to re-examine our motivations for why we do what we do, and to trust the Lord with what he is doing in each of our lives.

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