Motives are so important. They reveal the sometimes hidden reasons behind our actions. They answer the question why. Testing our motives can diagnose initial heart issues that can lead us to big heart issues in our relationship with God and others. One phrase that’s been jumping out at me recently is “so that.” What follows these two words reveals motives and mission. Here’s a few of God’s “so that’s”:
- Why blessings? Genesis 12:2 – “I will bless you…SO THAT you will be a blessing.” Not just so I can
- Why God works? Exodus 8:10 – “…SO THAT you may know that there is no one like the Lord our God.”
- Why Bible Study? Joshua 1:8 – “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, SO THAT you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.”
- Why remember and retell? Psalm 102:18 – “Let this be recorded for a generation to come, SO THAT a people yet to be created may praise the Lord.”
- Why serve and reach out? Matthew 5:16 – “let your light shine before others, SO THAT they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
- Why did Jesus teach? John 15:17 – “These things I command you, SO THAT you will love one another.”
- Why Church? John 17:21 – “…SO THAT the world may believe that you have sent me.”
- Why Spiritual Gifts? 1 Corinthians 14:5 – “SO THAT the church may be built up.”
Try a little exercise with me. Write down the big to do’s of your life or what you’re doing or wanting to do. Then write a big SO THAT and complete the sentence. Be honest even if it hurts. If you’re a leader do this for your church or organization. My questions: Do my motives line up with God’s eternal purposes or my temporal wants and desires? Are my motives drifting as I experience success or failure? Am I passing off eternal motivations and perspective to those I lead? Are my motives baptized in consumerism and marketing? Are my motives derived from looking at God or looking at others?
So often I get off track when my motivation gets fouled or becomes secondary to my to do’s.