Our motivation can drive to us act and accomplish many great things, but it can also lead us to do harmful things to others. It can be challenging to discern our true motives for our actions. I know I am quite good at convincing myself that my selfish motives are really for the benefit of others.
James 3:13-18 gives us guidance on how to determine if our motivation is pure. “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing (James 3:16, NASB).” Are you motivated to act out of jealousy toward someone else who acquired status or recognition? Do you judge others because you’re jealous of what they have that you lack? Are you acting out of selfish ambition to elevate yourself above others? These are hard questions that should give us pause and prompt us to check our motives. Jealousy and selfish ambition create “disorder and every evil thing.”
James reminded us in 3:17 that “wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.” When our motivation is from God, our actions will encourage peace and express mercy toward others. Our actions will be gentle and reasonable, cultivating good fruit. When God motivates our actions, we will be “unwavering, without hypocrisy.”
© 2021 CGThelen
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23