|Posted by charismata on February 21, 2010 at 6:37 PM|
Our motivations are almost always mixed and that’s okay. The purification of our motives is a Holy Spirit-driven process accomplished through the action of grace. For example, our personal ambition is often fueled by hope; perfectionism can be a heartfelt desire for excellence or people-pleasing could be considered the first step toward servant leadership.
These are the positives to the negative sides of these motivations. Personal ambition only becomes a problem when it is unbridled, driven by an unhealthy ‘pull out all the stops’ sense of competitiveness that disregards the rights and dignity of others.
Perfectionism becomes a liability when it results in compulsion and is accompanied by a destructive critical nature toward oneself or others. It can also lead to a false sense of personal superiority, which is the antithesis of humility.
People- pleasing is a particularly subtle trap. We often do it subconsciously and are unaware of the consequences when we adopt it as a personal style. It looks good from the outside but it has the potential to invade our integrity and violate our values or moral code. It can also backfire and turn others against us, especially those we are trying to please. People- pleasing is counter-productive when we use it to avoid necessary confrontations or employ it to manipulate or maintain control over someone or a particular situation. In these cases, People will be mistrustful of us, they will resent our interference and they will see right through us!
The best way to examine our motives is through the lens and by the light of the Holy Spirit. His light is not harsh but it facilitates a clear and balanced vision. For years I agonized over my motives. I didn’t trust myself because I didn't know myself. I didn’t know myself because I didn’t like myself and therefore I was always suspicious of my motives.
By invitation and through prayer, the Holy Spirit cut through all this with me. He helped me to take the focus off of myself and put it where it belonged… on God. He gave me a vision of true humility that would set me free from all of the internal angst that was my way of relating to myself. He helped to put my motives in perspective and purified my intention. He did this with my cooperation and applied will but it is His grace that “makes it stick.”
Invite Him to do the same work in you.