Are you aware that you are not your own master? Can you make yourself stop breathing or blinking? Can you control the rhythms of your heart of the coursing of the blood through your veins? Of course not; God has designed your body’s functions to keep you alive, and ultimately, He numbers your days.
Spiritually, you are not your own master. You are influenced to serve the devil and his desires or the Lord and His desires.
Spiritually, you are not your own master either. You are influenced to serve the devil and his desires or the Lord and His desires. We began this series by examining the things that enslaved us in our sinful nature, but today we learn that it’s one thing to control our actions or what we do, and quite another to control our desires, or what motivates us.
Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? Romans 6:16
God is not as concerned about purifying your actions as much as purifying your motivations. Remember, it’s not our actions that earn us a place in heaven. Even those who hate God are capable of doing good deeds. Instead, God looks at the heart and your desire for Him. Pure motivations can only produce pure actions, therefore God wants you to voluntarily surrender yourself to Him so that He can begin to change you from the inside out. Then He will increase your desire to read, pray, have compassion on others, see His will done, etc.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12
Look at three motivations to serve God as they are contrasted with selfish motivations:
1. Godly motivation: I am motivated to invest in others, therefore the Great I Am is evident in what I do.
Selfish motivation: I am motivated to be better than you are.
If you are really a follower of Christ, you will seek to do God’s will and to be used for His glory. If you struggle with having those others-centered motivations, ask the Lord to change your heart. Pray that He will use you to invest in another person for his/her sake and for God’s sake. Wake up in the morning and ask Him, “God, whom do You want me to help or encourage today?” Just as He looks at you with love and affirmation, ask Him to help you to see others the way He does.
Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Philippians 2:1-3
2. Godly motivation: I am motivated to speak life into the lives of others, therefore the Great I Am is evident in what I say.
Selfish motivation: I am motivated to be more affirmed than you are.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 12:34 that the mouth speaks out of the overflow of the heart. This means that when we are judgmental, critical, gossiping, or cruel in our speech, our hearts are actually full, teeming, with negative junk. It’s not a pretty picture!
Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. Ephesians 4: 29
Imagine what would happen if you only used your mouth to lift up others and encourage them. Ask God to give you a heart for other people and to help you to notice their amazing qualities. Be free with your kind words and tell people that you like their courteous behavior or that you value their displays of faith or courage. Over time, God will replace that junk in the heart with goodness and love so that only those things can flow from your mouth.
3. Godly motivation: I am motivated to be a conduit of God’s blessings, therefore the Great I Am is evident in what I give.
Selfish motivation: I am motivated to possess more than you.
You are blessed when you bless others. Be a stream, not a lake! Don’t hoard what God has given you (money, clothes, a home, blessings) all for yourself. Read what Paul writes about this:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God of all mercies, who comforts us with all comfort in all of our tribulations, that we may comfort those who are suffering with the same comfort we have been comforted by. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
If you have experienced a major trial or pain in your life, you have experienced God’s grace to bring you through it. Now it’s your turn to use your experiences to bless someone else who may be experiencing that same trial.
Examine your possessions as well. Do you have a nice coat that you probably won’t wear again? Pass it on to someone who needs a coat! Take stock and be willing to part with the blessings God has given you so that others may be blessed as well.
The point of today’s message is that you have a master whether you think so or not. You can have a master who wants to destroy you or a Master who loves you and wants to transform your life.
The point of today’s message is that you have a master whether you think so or not. You can have a master who wants to destroy you or a Master who loves you and wants to transform your life. If you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then ask Him to change your desires and motivations to match His. As the Holy Spirit changes your “roots” (your motivations and desires), your life will produce the fruit of spiritual freedom.