Questionable Motives

  • By: Joni and Friends
  • Jan. 28, 2018


“Then Jacob made a vow, saying, 'If God will be with me… and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s house, then the Lord will be my God.'" - Genesis 28:20-21

When I was a little girl, I knew that whenever my older teenaged sister Linda would sidle up to my daddy and ask him if he “wanted or needed anything,” she was just buttering him up to ask for extra cash beyond her allowance. I was just a little kid, but I knew what sweet-talk sounded like. And what drove me up the wall was that it worked. I knew that Daddy knew she didn’t have the best of motives.

When I recall family incidents like that, I can’t help but cringe. It always makes me feel like the older brother in the story of the prodigal son. Let’s face it, that wild-living younger brother didn’t have the best of motives when he came crawling back home to Dad. He was hungry! And he needed a job. He really only wanted what his father could give him. But did the father care? When he saw his lost son coming at a distance, he didn’t pause even for a moment to measure the reasons or motives behind his boy’s homecoming. He just ran to meet him with open arms. It’s a lesson for me. Sometimes I’ll catch myself almost sweet-talking the Lord in prayer, as though I could dress up my petitions to make them look more respectable. Listen, God knows me and you inside out. He is not charmed by us. And the miracle is he invites us to come to him… even if for all the wrong reasons. You'll find he'll purify those motives of yours, once you are in his embrace.

How would you describe your motives for drawing close to God? As with mine, they’re probably not always the best. But our Father says, “Come anyway. Come home. I’ll welcome you with open arms.”

Taken from Joni's Pearls of Great Price devotional.

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