What are your motives?

February 10, 2017

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
(James 4:3 (NIV))

Do you consider yourself to be selfish?

If you are like me, you have probably glossed over this question with a halfhearted response that, if you said it out loud, would sound weak and pathetic. Let’s face the truth. If you are human, then you are selfish. The proper question to ask yourself is to what degree does your selfishness surface in your life? Do you go through life throwing temper tantrums because you didn’t get your way and get all that you wanted, or do you face the reality that you can’t have everything that you want?

What do you pray for?

If you recorded your prayers and had someone else listen to them, would you be embarrassed by what you ask for in your prayers? Would they come across as self-centered?

I believe that every single one of us needs to truly take a long, hard look at our motives. We all have ulterior motives for doing the things that we do. Some of us do better at subjugating our ulterior motives, but we all still have them.

Perhaps we should pray the words of David as part of our daily struggle to have righteous motives.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
(Psalm 51:10 (NIV))

Copyright 1998 – 2017 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Be careful what you try to offer!

February 19, 2016

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
Peter answered: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”
(Acts 8:18-23 (NIV))

OUCH !!!

Unfortunately, Simon is not the only one who has tried to buy the grace and power of God. The only difference is that most people try to barter with God instead of offering money to those who come in God’s name.

How do you barter with God?

Have you ever heard someone say that if God will do something for them, then they will commit their life to God? The only thing that seems to vary in this equation is what each person wants as their part of the bargain. Some want to live. Some want fame and fortune. Some even want to blessed with the power that Simon was seeking.

What is the difference between those who barter with God and what Simon did?

I honestly believe that there really isn’t a difference. In both scenarios, the one who is seeking is willing to do whatever it takes for them to get what they want. Did you catch that? For what they want! They are trying to gain something to further their kingdom and God is only the provider of the means. They fail to realize that God gives gifts to whom He pleases. They also fail to realize that God looks at the heart. He knows who is sincere and humble. He knows who will turn what God has given into a situation that cries out “Look at what I have done,” instead of “Look at what God has done!”

There is a difference between eagerness and selfishness. Be careful that you do not make the mistake that Simon made. Pray for guidance. Pray for wisdom. Pray for insight. Pray for patience. In time, God will reveal to you the gifts that He desires to give you for use in His kingdom. Just remember that they are for His kingdom and not yours!

Copyright 1998 – 2016 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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Does this sound familiar?

October 24, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
(Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV))

When was the last time that you heard anything like this?

Today’s society is bombarded with words and images that tell us that we deserve better than what we have simply because we have earned it, or because we have succeeded where others have failed. We judge success on how much we have accumulated and not on how much we have given to others.

What would you think of someone who spent their whole adult life roaming from town to town without a true home to call their own? What if this person often slept outside and ate whatever they picked off of trees as they walked from one place to another? What would you think of that person if they chastised the church and its leaders for losing touch with God? Would you think of that person as a part of society that should be locked up, or perhaps killed? What if that person did nothing wrong, but taught people to love God and each other?

Does this sound familiar?

Would you have been one of the people shouting “Crucify Him!” almost two thousand years ago?

The person that did all of these things is Jesus.

We cannot even begin to imagine a life that gives of itself so freely that it thinks nothing of itself, yet, that is exactly what Jesus did when He walked the earth. Jesus was God with us. If God can humble himself and place others first, then how can we elevate ourselves above God by placing ourselves first?

Jesus is our example. Are you living according to the example of a Godly life that we were shown, or are you still an infant in the faith that always wants to be taken care of first?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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What thoughts fill your mind?

August 14, 2012

Be Still . . .
Devotionals for Daily Living
 ©

The LORD detests the thoughts of the wicked,
but those of the pure are pleasing to him.
(Proverbs 15:26 (NIV))

What thoughts fill your mind?

Are you obsessed with how to gain wealth or power? Do you fill your mind with thoughts of greed and selfishness? Perhaps you occasionally visit thoughts of lust. In the midst of all of these thoughts, do you find yourself thinking of things of God? Do you find yourself longing to change what has taken control of your mind and your actions? Do you long to replace sinful thoughts with thoughts that are pleasing to God?

It is true that you become what you spend your time thinking about. If you spend time thinking wicked thoughts, you will soon find yourself filling your mind with more and more of the same. If you spend your time reflecting on things of God, you will soon find yourself following these thoughts toward a life that is centered around God and His Word. It is the ultimate fulfillment of the saying “You are what you eat.”

Spiritual food is important. If you desire for God to be pleased with you, then you need to put things into your mind that will make you pleasing to Him. Your thoughts will be filled with the things that you decide are important. It all comes back to one simple word – priorities.

What are the things that you have made your thought priorities?

Copyright 1998 – 2012 Dennis J. Smock
Daily Living Ministries, Inc.
http://www.dailylivingministries.org
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