Our Motives Matters
James 4 1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
The motive of a man can be 1 of 2 types, an impure motive which is driven by the desire to prosper self, the pure motives which is driven by the desire to advance the Kingdom of God.
The first 3 versus of James 4 give us a picture of what happens in our lives, in our marriage, in our house and in our community when men and women are motivated by impure motives.
- Fights and quarrels are many times caused by the motivation of selfish gain
- Jealousy, envy & a spirit of competition are many times the fruit of a person who is motivated by selfish gain
- Unanswered prayer is also a result of a person’s life that is motivated by selfish gain.
And one of the keys to keeping our motives pure unto the Lord is continually cultivating a life that is consumed with gratitude to the Lord and His goodness toward us as His people.
Gratefulness toward God and toward the people God has used with in our lives, protects us from a life that is consumed with self and selfish gain.
First comes the acknowledgment of goodness in one’s life. In a state of gratitude, we say yes to life. We affirm that, all in all, life is good and has elements that make it worth living. The acknowledgment that we have received something gratifies us, both by its presence and by the effort the giver put into choosing it.
Second, gratitude is recognizing that sources of this goodness lie outside the self. One can be grateful to our creator, other people, animals, and the world, but not to oneself. At this stage, we recognize the goodness in our lives and who to thank for it.
The two stages of gratitude comprise the recognition of the goodness in our lives and then how this goodness came to us. Through this process, we recognize the fortune of everything that improves our lives and ourselves.
I Gratitude takes us further
When a person’s motivation is cultivated by gratitude you will see that, that person is always willing to go a little further then the rest.
Luke 17:11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” 14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. 15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
What was the difference between the 9 and the 1, I believe it was the depth of gratitude that overflowed from the heart of the 1.
There is a difference between being thankful and being grateful.
“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.” – Henri Frederic Amiel
II Gratitude takes us deeper
There is a certain depth in the life of a person that possesses gratitude.
Luke 7:36 Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, 38 and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
She realized the depth she had been delivered from, so she expressed her gratitude in the deepest way she knew how.
Ungrateful people are shallow people, ungrateful people are selfish people, but grateful people are people of depth, & grateful people are selfless people.
III. Gratitude keeps us longer
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