Fear of Wrong Motives

Saturday, May 8th, 2010 at 9:12 pm

Notes on Francis Chan’s
Forgotten God
Chapter 4: Why Do You Want Him?

Chan asks why I want the Holy Spirit. “What is your motivation?” he queries.

I search my brain and come up with this answer: “Because my vision is to glorify God by growing in daily relationship with Him, being conformed to the image of Christ; by growing in relationship with others, taking time to invest in their lives; and by growing as an individual, always learning and always practicing what I’ve learned.”

My life vision flows glibly from my lips and my pen. This is what I only pray that someday my life will exemplify. God’s glorification. Relationship with Christ. Relationship with others. Personal growth.

I fear, though, that this answer is too pat, too religious, too straight out of a Stephen Covey exercise. Surely, I have ulterior motives for desiring the Holy Spirit.

I set down the book for a few days. I pick it up again and reread Chapter 3.

What are my motives? I ask myself, digging for hidden selfish motives. “Because I want His kingdom to come and His will to be done.”

“Church answer.” My brain throws back its rapid-fire retort.

I try again. “I want the Spirit because…”

I’m at a loss. “I want the Spirit because more than anything, I want my life to be a testimony of Christ. I want the Spirit because I dream of being transformed into the image of Christ. I want the Spirit because God has put in my heart a dream for the church, His bride, walking in mercy and in truth. I want the Spirit because I know that it is He and He alone who can cause my life to reflect Christ, who can build the church, and who can draw the lost unto Himself. And if my life fails to reflect Christ, to build the church, and to draw the lost to saving grace, then all my achievements are worthless. I want the Spirit because I know that, apart from Him, I will have wasted my life.”

Chan is right–there are many wrong motives for seeking the Spirit. He names attention, miracle hunting, and desire for personal control. But these are not what motivates me at this point in my life. I need not be ashamed that, in God’s mercy, He has caused me to desire the Spirit for the right reason.

I need not spend hours trying to find a false motive. Should one arise, God will reveal that. For now, I can rejoice that God has granted me this pure desire–and I can seek the Spirit’s increased activity unbound by fear of wrong motives.

(See more notes on Forgotten God here.)

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