Motive is the drive that controls the pursuit of our desire, and Christ will always use tests, troubles and tribulations to reveal the true motive of our heart. – Pastor J
"Whatever we do, it is because Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for everyone, we also believe that we have all died to the old life we used to live.”
2 Corinthians 5:14 (NLT)
What I’ve learned over my time in ministry is that Christ has a way of revealing to us what our true desire is, and what our true motive is. Most often the answer is humiliating as we are shown we are still controlled more by our flesh than by His Spirit.
One day I was having some personal time with God. I had been in the ministry for a time, but I heard the Lord ask me, “What have I called you to?” I just knew that I had the answer to this question, and so with great confidence I answered, “The ministry!” Then I heard Him respond, “No I haven’t.” And with great disappointment I proceeded to question Him what was I doing. Was I wasting my time? Had I missed His will for my life? Then I heard Him say, “I’ve called you to Myself, and ministry is just a natural outflow of our relationship.” It was then that I realized two very important truths about myself. I realized that my desire was forged out of my flesh and my motive for ministry was selfish. Really, my ministry was to myself, but it was disguised as service to God and His people. My desire was to be successful and my motive was men’s approval.
In the short conversation I had with God, He revealed to me that my motive to serve had to be out of my desire to obey Him and my motive had to be my love for Him. Nothing more, and nothing less.
I hear often the term “burned out Christian”. This is a term that defines someone that has been serving the church for a period of time and has become weary of doing so. “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” Galatians 6:9 (NAS) I have come to the conclusion, and this after many years of facing this in my own life; that if we allow the Holy Spirit to keep our desire and motive in check we will never experience “burn out”. But it takes a humble heart to accept what so often we want to deny or pass on as another’s fault. If our service in and to the body of Christ and the work of the gospel is driven by our love for Christ then it doesn’t matter the results we see in this life or the appreciation we are denied or the rejection we receive, because we love Him and love what He loves.
For us not to serve the body of Christ using the gifts He has given us is a sin against Him, but our serving the body out of a motive to serve ourselves is also a sin against Him. Our service is our desire to obey Him and we are motivated by our love for Him. “If you love me, obey my commandments.” John 14:15 (NLT)
Our flesh will put on the appearance of righteousness only to deceive ourselves. It will pursue ministry as a means to satisfy selfish ambitions and personal interests. If you ever feel like that you are “burning out” in your service to Christ then return to your first love and let your ministry flow out of that.
“I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people. You have examined the claims of those who say they are apostles but are not. You have discovered they are liars. You have patiently suffered for me without quitting. But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen from your first love! Turn back to me again and work as you did at first.” Revelation 2:2-5a (NLT)