Motives; September 18, 2018


Romans 14:7-8 For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

It’s interesting to read the Bible and think about how different political positions would claim different sections as their justification. The first several verses of this chapter would be very dear to a Libertarian, for example. However, these two verses bring all such “cherry picking” down to earth. Human imagination and human judgment aren’t the last word, because we belong to God. I think perhaps Americans in particular might rebel against this passage, because we have always glorified the “rugged individualist.” However, no amount of posturing can negate the fact that we are created beings who exist at the pleasure of our Creator; we cannot sustain ourselves. It’s sad that most people don’t come to this awareness until they are very old and/or very ill. In a sense, suicide is a last-gasp attempt to deny this reality. The devil can persuade someone to commit suicide only if he succeeds in blinding them to the truth in this passage. This is the ultimate call to accountability, because if we belong to the Lord, then we are to live and die as He desires and intends.

Recently I have joined a Missionary Kids (MK) group on Facebook, and it has been interesting indeed to see the opinions and attitudes expressed. MKs are a specific subset of Third Culture Kids, people who are raised in a culture different from that of their parents, so they synthesize a “third culture” of their own from what they experience. As both an MK and a missionary, I understand both generations involved in creating MKs. It has been a blessing to see how many enjoy a rich faith and fellowship with the Lord, but sad to see how many are embittered by their experiences, some discarding faith entirely. There are perhaps multiple motives for becoming a missionary, but this passage needs to be at the root of any such commitment. In other words, it is irrelevant whether our assignment is right where we were born or somewhere on the other side of the world; we belong to God, and should seek and do His will. To whatever degree personal ambition enters in, that will distort and go so far as to poison even the most noble-sounding occupation, and that will be expressed in the next generation. Jesus was the only human being with absolutely pure motives, but then, He was also God. The rest of us need to keep watch over our motives and allow the Holy Spirit to purify them. As it says in Proverbs, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)

Father, I feel like I could write on this all day! Thank You for all that You have brought me through for the past 70 years, and for all that You have ahead of me. I do ask You to purify my thoughts and my motives so that I may be more and more pleasing to You, delighting in You as I do Your will for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

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About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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