Monday, November 5, 2012

Trust and Twisted Motives - Devotional

Morning Devotions


READ Acts 1:21-26


        Recently the topic of selfishness has been on my mind. The thing that is insidious about selfishness is it has a lot to do with motives. And motives are notoriously hard to pin down, like nailing jello to the wall.

 Have you ever had that phone call, the person on the other end telling you how amazing you are, or how generous, or perhaps they are listing the frustrations of their day and What A Great Listener You Are? And the result of this rather one-sided conversation is you feel that person is a wonderful and generous soul rightbackatcha, and you just want to give some love back. And then the one-two punch comes, as the wonderful person asks you to do something for them. Makes a request that is pretty hard for you to fulfill, but not impossible.

Suddenly the air all blows violently and noisily from the balloon of your inflated ego and you realize that the motivation behind all the love is simply that the person wants something. Simply a little selfishness. I want or need something, and I know how to get it from you. The anger you feel at that moment is generally mixed with a large dose of confusion and prevents you from saying anything but a stuttered, “Yes, yes…of course. No problem.”

The point of this scenario is that motives are difficult to see, and hard to understand. What looks good from the outside can be kinda rotten on the inside. But God can see it. He weighs hearts, and he knows exactly what is on the scale. At the end of Acts chapter 1 the disciples are faced with choosing a new disciple to replace Judas Iscariot.

“So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas… and Matthias. Then they prayed, ‘Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen…’”

Fascinating! There is so much here to unpack!
For a start, the disciples used their own wisdom and experience, to a point, in settling on these two men. God has given us understanding, and we can certainly use it to test the waters of our own or another’s motives and character. They were confident that these two men were a good choice.
But they were wise enough to realize that only God can see the heart, the inner motives. They pray, and ask God directly. “Lord…show us.”

How many times do we by-pass this “little” step? Maybe because we wish we had the answer all by our amazing selves? Probably!  

Next, they believe that God is going to come through, and trust Him completely. They cast lots (knowing God can work through our simple devices) and when the lot falls to Matthias, the sentence concludes,  “so he was added to the eleven apostles”.
Not, “and they sat around and discussed whether Matthias was indeed the best choice.”

No second-guessing, no man-centered discussion, just trust that God has seen, has heard, and has answered. This is a great lesson in faith. Simply relying on God to come through, and being satisfied with His answer.

          Are you afraid to trust your own motives because you’ve seen the ugly weeds of selfishness twisting around your good intentions? Or does someone else regularly blind-side you with manipulation, otherwise known as twisted motives? We can use the disciple’s example and first use our own discernment and experience, to a point. Next we ask God for help to see as He sees. Then, we can trust what He shows us, through his Word or by His Holy Spirit. Trust Him, no second-guessing. We know we are flawed creatures, prone to wander, but we have a loving and faithful God, a God who sees.

PRAY  Oh God, it is hard to be human, as You so well know. Thank-you that You see me for who I really am, and help me to trust that YOU know the answers and what is best for me. Help me to trust and obey. Guard me from the selfish motives in my own heart, and the hearts of others. Thank-you for your faithfulness to me, your protection, your love.  Amen.




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