James 4:3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
NOTE: March 1 is my personal national holiday – Winter is over! Spring is taking over!
Why do we do what we do? What is our motivation? Do we do things to get blessed? Do we do things to express our love for Him and one another? Or, does a lot of other stuff become involved creating a mix of motivations? Today’s verse highlights that we can have wrong motives. Not much of a surprise there.
Having pure and right motives is wonderful. Hopefully it will be true of us with ever increasing frequency. Unfortunately, there are times when our motives are not what they should be. Disobedience because our motives aren’t what they should be is not an option. When we know God wants us to do something, whether through the leading of His Spirit or through His Word, we are to do it.
Think of the times where we encounter problems with co-workers, teachers, friends, clients – people we have to deal with. The Lord says it’s easy to love those who love us. It’s the unlovely ones that can pose such problems for us.
In such situations I am so grateful for the Holy Spirit and His convicting power. He not only shows us when our motives are wrong, but he provides the grace to recognize it, confess it and deal with it redemptively. By looking to Him in faith, we can find ourselves in a transformative process where He uses our obedience to be the framework to create the right motives within us. When we cry out to Him to do it, it consistently happens – although it might take longer than we would like.
When the Holy Spirit reveals problems with our motives – or anything else for that matter – we see that they are not obstacles but opportunities for Him to transform us more and more into the image of Jesus.