A while back, a friend from church invited me to go to a popular Christian concert with her. I was a busy mom and didn’t go out often, so the idea of spending an evening in downtown Chicago seemed like fun. On the night of the concert, through casual conversation, I discovered that my friend had originally made plans with someone else for this concert. But when that person couldn’t make it, she invited me. However, that was not what my friend told me. She made it sound like I was the one she wanted to go with.
As I got to know her better, I realized that my friend treated other people the same way. She was not always honest about her true intentions. As you can imagine, it made me hesitant to want to be around her. Without realizing it, she was pushing love away from her life.
When I moved to Colorado, I got a phone message from her, telling me she missed me and would love to bring her kids to visit my family and me. Initially, the idea of seeing someone from my old church excited me. But because of what had happened between us before, I couldn’t help thinking that perhaps she didn’t really care to see us. Maybe she simply wanted a place to stay near the mountains so she could give her family a nice vacation without spending a lot of money.
It may seem harsh, but I never returned her phone call.
The funny thing is, if she had been more honest with me in the past, we could have developed a true friendship. In a similar way, our intentions affect how we receive from God. Sometimes we limit His best in our lives because our motives aren’t pure.
Andrew’s How to Receive God’s Best teaching explains that our motives are more important than our actions. We can be doing good things but with wrong intentions. When we allow things like pride, selfishness, greed, or fear to motivate us, we’re not walking in love.
Andrew says that we sometimes wait to do what’s right until something negative shows up to motivate us. We’re so used to this negative motivation that we can’t let go of it. Some people do the right thing only because they’re afraid they’ll get caught or punished if they don’t.
Fear of punishment is a wrong motivation, and it brings torment. First John 4:18 says,
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
If we have been serving God or people out of fear, we haven’t been made perfect in love. Love will motivate us to do much more. And it doesn’t have negative side effects!
Fix your heart to live in God’s best. Don’t let wrong motives steal God’s blessing from you. Instead, let love be the fire that purifies those motives. Remember, we love Him (and others) because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). When we truly understand that His blessing and His love have no end, we won’t feel like we have to manipulate anyone or anything to make something happen. Learn how to activate the blessing and overcome any wrong thinking that limits you.