Your motives are all wrong ...

What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 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 4:1-3 NLT]

These three verses scream motives to me - bad ones and good ones. On the bad side they speak to me of hedonism, the idea that is encapsulated by the phrases "if it feels good do it" and (on the religious side) "God wants you to be happy". This adventure in selfcenteredness is replete with jealous and envious motives. Interesting how James calls these "evil desires at war within you". Perhaps the first step in winning this war is to acknowledge our bad motives?

In contrast to these wrong motives is the God motive - love. Most of us can quote Jesus when he speaks of God so loving the world that He gave his one and only Son but I wonder if any of us really understands this sort of love? Perhaps, as James indicates, our prayer life can be viewed as an accurate barometer of where we are at with regard to motives. Are our prayers reflective of a deep love for others or are they more about ourselves? Food for thought.

Lord, I pray so much for myself and my needs. Help me to love others and pray more for the needs of others.

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