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What Drives You?

If you take time to listen to people’s stories, you will be amazed at how they got to be who they are today. And, it goes both ways. You will be inspired by the selflessness of some who genuinely desire to make a positive difference in the world. At the same time, you will be perplexed by the insidiousness of some who seem bent on either selfish manipulation or destructiveness. Just in the past week I have heard a story from each side.
I had the privilege of baptizing a woman who grew up afraid of God who then turned angry toward Him when she lost her mom just prior to puberty. After years of rebelling against Him in an attempt to ignore His influence, she finally gave her heart to Jesus while parked outside of her workplace listening to a radio program. She became convinced that God understood her pain and was a faithful friend who would help her in all areas of life. By her own words, her fear is being changed into confidence and her anger is being transformed into love for others.
In contrast, I heard a story about a woman who was in desperate need of attention. How she came up with this plan is a mystery to me but she decided to borrow a urine sample from a friend who was pregnant. She then took the sample to the doctor’s office and reported it was hers. The office ran the appropriate tests and gave her a document stating she was pregnant. She triumphantly took the results to her friendship circle to announce the “good news.” For a short period to time they celebrated with her and dreamed of the joy that was coming her way. It didn’t last long, however, as she had to report the sad news of a miscarriage.
This is nothing new folks. In Corinthians 5, the apostle Paul had to confront a situation where a young man was sexually involved with his stepmother. In the midst of instructing people how to respond to the situation he wrote these words, “For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” (v. 7-8) He uses the picture of Passover to address the motives of the human heart. Normally, the Israelites would eat bread that had been leavened with yeast. They would take time to let it rise before baking it. For Passover, however, they would eat unleavened bread because they needed to stay alert and be ready to move as soon as Moses instructed them to leave.
Paul is pointing out that unhealthy motivations (malice and wickedness) tend to start out small and unnoticed but have a pervasive effect on our lives. The thoughts and intentions swell until they take over our lives and produce behavior we would never have imagined earlier in our lives. On the other hand, healthy motivations (sincerity and truth) are pure ingredients in our lives. They are the same tomorrow as they are today. They have clear focus. They naturally call us to selfless behavior and solid decisions. They are easy to represent because they are constant. They are easy to recommend to others because they are beneficial. They are ready for action because they are consistent with the way God created life.
Lord, give me the grace today to be led by sincerity and truth and give me influence to help as many people as possible make the same choice.

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