May 12, 2014

The Real Reason

Devotion for the Week...

We're really good at justifying the things we want to do, aren't we? Whether it's starting a new quilting project when there are already a bunch you're not even close to finishing or eating a piece of chocolate cake instead of an apple, we can usually find a way to make it feel like we're making the right decision.

It often surprises me just how relevant the Bible is to our lives today. It even talks about our habit of justifying ourselves. "All a man's ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord" (Proverbs 16:2). Isn't that the truth? Though we are quick to say, "I'm not perfect," we are also quick to make ourselves feel that we are in the right in most situations.

That incident with a coworker? Totally her fault.

An argument with your husband? He's being unreasonable.

A child who is whiny and begging you to play even after you've explained that you have work to do? He just needs to learn to play on his own.

We don't like to admit the possibility that we were insensitive or rude, or that maybe we've been working too much and our children need more of our attention. We much prefer to think of ourselves as innocent.

And sometimes we're doing the right things, but for the wrong reasons. Have you ever said, "Pray for ________," and then gone on to share a juicy bit of gossip? What are our motives when we say this? Are we really wanting our listener to pray, or are we just wanting to spread the story?

Or have you ever done an unsolicited favor for a friend, only to get angry when she didn't show the right amount of appreciation? Were you really doing it for her, or was it more for the attention you expected to receive?
How often do we stop and think about our motives? I mean really think them through, without trying to come up with reasons why it's okay to just do what we want.

"But motives are weighed by the Lord." God isn't interested in our excuses or our reasons why we had to do what we did. He already knows the true reason and how we'll justify it to ourselves. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He sees the desire to gossip, or the insecurity, or the anger, or whatever it is.

Rather than pretending we're always in the right, maybe we should weigh our motives ourselves and decide from there whether or not all our ways are innocent. After all, only be seeing myself as God sees me do I recognize the things that should be changed.

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