Friday, April 25, 2014

Question Everything

"Worship God, not things."
Ed slipped quietly into the faculty room and sat beside Catherine.  She turned her head and began rattling a series of ideas off in search of a solution to a problem that baffled her for some time now. 

Gazing into her eyes he softly spoke,

“What if you’re taking something for granted? ... pausing before continuing ...

What if you question everything?”

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Don’t miss out on this week’s challenge (below).  Q & A

Slapping her palm against her forehead Catherine giggled as if to mentally say, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
She repeated Ed’s advice aloud,

“Look at it from an entirely different perspective! Question everything…” 

When Catherine flipped through her pages of notes she looked at Ed and said, "Uh-oh!"

As soon as she saw her error Catherine walked across the room to verify her findings with her uncle.
“What?... I know that look …” she stared at his puzzled face.  “What did I do?” 
With a shocked look he said. “I never saw it this way.”  Sighing, a disappointed girl walked off quietly muttering, “I don’t know what I was thinking.”

Catherine realized that she had been going about her entire life’s work wrong, until she questioned her theory.  Was it her motive all along to outwit her uncle or was this a fluke?

OK, this isn’t a true story but a scripted scene from the film I.Q., however, the moral of it might as well be something from a page in our own life.

The Motivating Question
For several weeks now I’ve been questioning some of the things I do on a regular basis.  The reason this “doubting” journey began was because I didn’t see some results I had been expecting with my “believer.”  

When that happened I took a microscope to why I really wanted these things and what my motives truly were.  That trail led me to several lessons in the Bible.
First I had to determine the definition of the word motive in the Bible to see if it was even worth researching; it states:

“Something as a need or desire that causes a person to act.”
What I discovered is that our motives are usually based out of things we have a desire for or question.  They are motives to our acting out our desires or thoughts, and are often self-serving or deceitful.

Then I looked for examples in the Bible of people who had a motive behind their actions.  I didn’t have to go past Genesis to prove my case in point.

In Genesis 29 Laban’s motives were deceitful toward Jacob when he gave Leah as a wife instead of Rachel.  The switch was made on his wedding night.

Can you imagine Jacob’s reaction when he woke up the next morning and saw someone sleeping in his bed and it wasn’t the one he “thought” he married?  What did Laban actually think he could get away with that day?
I have to question …
“Wouldn’t God search this (motive) out? For He knows the secrets of the heart.” (Psalm 44:21 NKJ)

We think if people don’t know what our motives are we’re safe, but that’s not true. Someone does know – God.
“O God, You know my foolishness; and my sins are not hidden from You.” (Psalm 69:5 NKJ)

The Lord knows all things; there are no secrets from Him. He knows every thought that flows through our minds and the motive behind it. 
When Secret is Revealed
"Did I really think or even worse sing that?" 
A pastor recently made this statement in a church service that I took to heart.  “Suppose you were sitting in a service when suddenly your thoughts were displayed on the overhead screen for all to see, even the Pastor.” 
So I pictured what this would look like if it did happen.

You move your head from side to side while the message is being preached not realizing what is going on at the front of the room.
Casually glancing at the clock on the side wall your thoughts begin to wonder.
"Boy, is he ever going to finish?  The guys will be waiting for me. I’m so hungry … can’t wait to hit that salad bar…”

Your mind continues on its path totally tuning out the pastor’s voice.
“Sarah’s with a new guy today.  What’s she see in him?  Look at that chin, you could skateboard off it! I’ve got more going on than he does; he probably has money.  

There goes my reason for coming here. Next week I’m sleeping in; this church stuff is getting boring …”

Can you picture the look on your own face and the others if they saw this coming out of your head?
We might become judgmental and start some of our own questioning. Can you believe that guy?  What was his motive for going to church?  Sarah.

Instead of passing criticism, I might actually defend this chap.  I can sort of relate to this one, going down that same road in my teens. 
Even so, that doesn’t make it right.
“So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time – before the Lord returns. For He will bring our darkest secrets to light and reveal our private motives. 

(Wake-up call here!) Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.” (1 Corinthians 4:5 NLT) 

God knows our motives for why we do things.  It’s really scary when you think of it and should “motivate” us to change some of our actions.
“People may be pure in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their motives.” (Proverbs 16:2 NLT)

Motivated to Change Something

There was a rich elderly man who went to buy a hearing aid.  After two weeks use he returned to the store to share the results of his purchase.  He was pleased to announce that his hearing was so good that he could even hear the voices from a distance. 

“Your family must be so glad that you can hear now.” said the manager.  The gentleman replied, “I haven’t told them yet. I’ve been listening to their conversations this week and have changed my will three times!”
“But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” (Jeremiah 17:10 NLT)

I think his relatives will be in for a rude awakening upon the time of his departure from Earth don’t you?
Unlike this man, God always hears our prayers and knows our motives.  He sees us through the eyes of grace.  He won’t change His will or love toward us even if our motives are not exactly the best.  The good thing is that He will gladly listen to the prayer of repentance.

Everything, doesn’t mean everyone.
"Hmm ... why am I doing this?"

This is something I have been guilty of in the past … questioning God about everything that didn’t go my way.
Our Inner Journey is leading us to take (A New Approach) A.N.A. concerning our motives.
Questioning everything doesn’t mean we are to question everyone about their motives, and it especially doesn’t mean we are to question God about His decisions.

Question everything refers to
our own heart motives.

Instead of questioning God about everything, remember He already knows the end from the beginning and promises He will always be with us no matter what.

This Week’s Challenge

Question our motives
through testing.

Psalm 26:2 is a personal request that allows God to test “my” or shall we say, our motives.   
“Put me on trial, LORD, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart.”

Here’s what we’ll question in our motives:

·      Do we have the courage to do this?  Can we focus on our motives and actions by questioning if they are legitimate or selfish? 

·      We will also question the motives behind our prayers.

“And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong – you want only what will give you pleasure.” (James 4:3 NLT)

·      Why do we give or not give to God’s work?

·      Are we doing this for gain or self-promotion?

“I know, my God, that You examine our hearts and rejoice when You find integrity there. You know I have done all this with good motives, and I have watched Your people offer their gifts willingly and joyously.” (1 Chronicles 29:17 NLT)

·      Why are we doing this? Are we betraying Jesus with the reasons we do things like Judas did? 
“So You can see we were not preaching with any deceit or impure motives or trickery.  For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.” (1 Thessalonians 2:3-4 NLT)

God always hears us and because of grace, mercy and favor He doesn’t change how He feels.  There is nothing about us that He doesn’t know and understand.  
“You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts
even when I am far away.
You see me when I travel (comprehend my path) and when I rest at home.  You know everything I do.
 (and are acquainted with all my ways).
You know what I am going to say, even before I say it LORD."
(Psalm 139:2-4 NLT)
Heavenly Father, may we no longer have to question our motives as we take a new approach on our Inner Journey, and that this becomes our confession.

Until next time, God’s motives are always FAVOR-able.


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Content and Image Copyright from Favored1. Do not copy. A.N.A. logo by J.C.Penney, Inc.
Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provide by GatewayBible
Image credit: GoogleImages or Dreamstime Creative Common License if not specified.
Image: Question Everything  Couple in Church  If Everyone Knows Cartoon  Cat
Film Credit: I.Q. 1994 Paramount Pictures