Amy Carroll » Ministry Development » Un-Mixing Your Motives Part II

Un-Mixing Your Motives Part II

It’s so easy to get our motives tangled and off-kilter.  Read last week’s post about my first desire to be a speaker.

Several years after my prayer to kill off my “speaker envy”, God started whispering to me about speaking ministry during my quiet time.  My first reaction was to think, “There’s that old, nasty envy again.  God purify my heart!”

This time was different, though.  The desire to speak didn’t come with the same thoughts and emotions as before.  This time I fought against the desire even as it continued to grow.  This time it was a desire to make God known instead of making myself known. Within that year, God started opening doors for me to speak, and I was filled with joy instead of ambition.  The timing was right, my motives were pure, and it was a calling instead of covetousness.

It was a desire to please One while I was becoming more like Him.  This time was different, because God had refined my motive to just one.

“Your attitude should be the same as Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 2:5 NIV)

My motive is to follow Him and be made more like Him.  That’s the one motive that supersedes and reigns over any others.  How do we practically live that out?  I think the clue is in the following verses.

“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”  (Phil. 2:6-7 NIV)

There is something in every speaker’s and writer’s heart that loves MORE.  More speaking opportunities with bigger audiences.  More books published with bigger numbers.  I don’t actually think that’s a completely bad motive if our desire is to spread more of God’s message.  But God is the giver of that kind of more.

I think our focus has to be on becoming NOTHING.  Let me be clear.  Nothing is not our status.  Our status is holy and dearly loved daughters of the King.  Nothing is to be our chosen position.  Just as Jesus, reigning King of heaven and earth, made Himself nothing, we are to choose that position as well.

As I’ve thought about this important task of making myself nothing, I’ve been given two questions to ask myself when I’m making ministry (or life) choices:

  • Does this put self first or others first?
  • Is this a choice to be more or to be nothing?  (To elevate myself or to submit myself?)

These two questions are efficiently exposing twisted motives and bringing me back to my chosen position of nothing.  Day by day my motives are being heated, purified and refined.  It’s a painful process sometimes, but it’s a good process that I believe allows God to be more and therefore potentially for my ministry to be more.

I’d love to do something that puts the readers of this blog first today!  I have a beautiful  Real-Life Devotional Bible  to give away.  Please leave a comment on the blog to enter.  (If you’re a subscriber, you’ll need to click over to the blog.  Reply emails won’t count as entries.) I’m not going to put any requirements on your comment, so express your heart freely!  If you also let me know in your comment that you’ve Tweeted or Facebooked a link to this post, I’ll enter you twice.  Since these tips cost NOTHING , we’ll see if God does MORE.  🙂


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  1. Hello Amy , I love your post and honesty! Your story is something I can relate to and thankfully I’m feeling a bit of your second story. Today I shared at my g’ma’s funeral…this morning I prayed, “Lord YOU have to do this because I can’t.” He did…I walked away thinking, I just experienced Eph. 3:20 to it’s fullest! He clearly had me at the place of being nothing…I was an emotional mess as I prepared and practiced – I was nothing, but He did MORE! Grateful for how He used my She Speaks experiences and wisdom I’ve gained from your site to help me do what He did today. Thank you!

  2. What does it mean when it says your comment is awaiting moderation?

    1. The first time you comment on a WordPress blog, the administrator has to approve you. You’re approved, so after this, you won’t have to deal with that message! 🙂

  3. Amy, although I am not a speaker at events, I do speak about the Lord at every opportunity that arises…at work, at Special Olympics, and in daily conversation with anyone that gives me an opening. I appreciate your posts on motives and will be reflecting daily…I am who I am because He loves me and has a plan for me! Thanks for the reminder to keep myself invisible and all praise and glory, all focus on God!

  4. Reminds me of the Toby Mac song “Steal the Show.” 🙂 We all have days where we forget whose show it is. I really enjoy the sense of community in these posts as we contemplate our calling!

  5. Laura Naiser says:

    Thank you for these wise words. I’ve struggled with whether or not to pursue a speaking and writing ministry despite clear and consistent direction from God. I was so afraid that my motives were not pure or that I would be self-promoting. In the short time I’ve been working with you, you have helped me so much and I feel so much more free to just be submitted to Him and His call. Thank you for your honest wisdom and God-glorifying ministry!

  6. Lindsay Firzlaff says:

    I love these posts – thank you for sharing your faith and wisdom!

  7. Kimberli Freilinger says:

    God’s timing is perfect. I am speaking this weekend and something was feeling off. I am a also a pageant queen which is inherently self promoting. God called me into pageantry (yes crazy) for me to face my daemons of feeling inferior, fat and ugly. This process has been painful, heart hanging and fun and frustrating.

    I think my heart was changing to “this is an opportunity to show what I can do” instead of stepping back and letting God shine through.

    Thank you from saving me from the embarrassment of sf promotion. I want people to hear God. I am now going to spend time in prayer.

    God is so good 🙂 Amen!

  8. Becky Stepp says:

    So true! We must keep God first, but oh how we struggle with that. It is a fine line to want personal success in keeping with the Lord’s perfect and pleasing will. Thank you for that reminder to keep Him first while we become nothing!

  9. Marie Mossner says:

    Thank you Amy
    I too struggle with motives. Thank you for sharing so honestly

  10. Elise Daly Parker says:

    Great questions. Your honesty reminds me to be checking my motives. Am I glorifying Him or me? I have seen a vast difference when my heart is turned to and tuned into God. Spending time with Him,surrendering my thoughts to His purposes changes everything!

  11. Amy,

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom through another great post. I too struggle with are my motives all about me or sharing God’s Love & Amazing Grace. Sometimes I wonder if those struggles are the enemy trying to discourage me from sharing the message God has given me. Thank you for the giveaway. I have the Kindle version of the Real-Life Devotion Bible but love to make notes in the margin as God’s lays something on my heart. I also tweeted this post.

  12. Amy,

    I enjoyed this post so much today. I often critize myself for not being further in my speaking ministry than I’d like to be, but then I think that the Lord is still working with me on the writing ministry part, and all will be done in His pefect timing. And you’re right, it shouldn’t be about us but about Him! He is the One who created us for a specific purpose and will make sure that purpose is fulfilled if we are willing to listen and committ fully. Loved this today and thanks for the reminder to put my motives in check!