Lately, I’ve been really hesitant to write. I think the reason is because I’ve always struggled with wishing I were more eloquent and knew how to use bigger words. I know that is ultimately silly, and I’m sure there are some people who appreciate my simple words, but it’s still an insecurity of mine. Especially when I read others’ blogs who I so greatly respect, and have to literally read slowly and sometimes re-read in order to comprehend what they’re saying, because their language is a bit advanced for me. haha.
So often I hear people say, “give up your hopes and dreams,” “sacrifice your wants and desires for the sake of Christ,” and “God often calls us to do the thing we don’t want to do…”or …”share the gospel even when you don’t want to…it’s a biblical mandate,” etc.
Have you ever wondered if that’s all a load of crap? I guess I can maybe understand peoples’ hearts in saying those things, and I’ve often fallen prey to these beliefs. BUT, I’m becoming more and more convinced they are NOT the words God would speak to our hearts.
Think about this with me. If I choose to pray, not because I want to, but because I feel like I should, then what is my motive for praying? —> Welp, let’s start with this: Why do I feel like I should? Maybe because it seems like the “Christian” thing to do, what a person that loves God should want to do, or maybe because I think it will make my standing with God more favorable…” All of these answers nullify the grace of Jesus that says…”your Christian actions do not give you value and the things you do will never make God love you more or have more favor on you. NO, your being gives you value, not your doing, and it is already by the grace of Jesus that you are as loved and favored by God as you can be.” period.
I know, I know… “but Katy, every good Christian knows it’s good to pray.” YES, of course, but is God more concerned with how much I pray or with the heart behind the prayers I offer, however few and far between they may be. Do our motives matter to God?
I know, my God, that you examine our hearts and rejoice when you find integrity there. You know I have done all this with good motives, and I have watched your people offer their gifts willingly and joyously. -1 Chronicles 29:17
The Lord’s light penetrates the human spirit,[a]
exposing every hidden motive. -Proverbs 20:27
. . The Lord doesn’t make decisions the way you do! People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at a person’s thoughts and intentions. -1 Samuel 16:7
Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. -James 4: 2b-3
These verses speak strongly to my heart that God cares VERY much about our motives. And I didn’t even mention the things Jesus discusses in his sermon on the mount about our motives for praying, giving, etc.
So what does this mean for us? Here’s where I’m going to start. I”m going to stop doing things because I think I “should” or “need to.” Ya know what? When I’m in church, if I don’t feel like praying, I won’t pray. If I don’t feel like singing, I won’t sing. I might even choose to skip church because I don’t want to go…GASP! I”m asking God to open my eyes to the motives of my heart. I guarantee he wants to show us because he wants us to be free from doing things for the wrong reasons. He cares so much about our hearts.
This is what I imagine. I imagine being set free, by Jesus, from all of the “shoulds” and “christian” expectations I’ve placed on myself. In fact, Jesus has been doing this in my life already, and my relationship with Him is just beginning to become more raw than I’ve ever known. And here’s what else I imagine… After being de-toxified of the ugly motives, expectations, and pressures I’ve often lived under as a Christian…they will be replaced with a heart that is in relationship with Jesus. And when my heart is in touch with Jesus, the living God, well…then I will finally live. I’ll do the things I want to do, because my heart’s desires are beautiful when it is in touch with Jesus. I imagine becoming alive and Jesus becoming alive in me. THAT is the real version of me that I want the world to encounter. A life that is free in Jesus that can draw others into this freedom, where they can finally be freed from expectations, from “shoulds”, and from pressures.
What do you think? Too abstract? Not possible? I know it is. I’m beginning to experience it.