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January 19, 2022

Mixed Motives : “Search me, O God . . . !”

As people, we have mixed motives. Often our deepest desires and strongest desires contradict each other. For example, the strong desire to eat that king-sized candy bar may not line up with your deepest desire to feed your body well.

Even the Apostle Paul struggled with this dichotomy of human motivation in Romans 7:15: “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate to do.”

As long as we are on earth, we will have to fight this war between spirit and flesh.

But luckily, we’re not left to our own devices. We have the Holy Spirit.

We need the Spirit of God to examine our hearts and to show us what’s really going on inside of us. And we need to be in a posture to listen. That means creating a holy space free from distraction where we open our lives up to God’s inspection.

So, How do we pray in a way that changes us?

We pray prayers that are informed by the Scriptures and led by the Spirit.

We pray prayers that are informed by the Scriptures and led by the Spirit.

Finding truth and instruction in the Word is crucial to hearing God’s voice. This is one of the ways the Word of God and the Spirit work together. We can pray Psalm 139 that says,

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”

Sometimes, we come to Lord in prayer but don’t have the words to speak. In these moments, the Spirit of God prays through us.

Romans 8:26-27 says,

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”

Here, again, the Spirit fills in the gaps of our humanly limitations.

God wants us to pray honest and vulnerable prayers.

We see honest prayer modeled throughout the Scriptures in people like Moses, David, Hannah, and Mary. They showed us that we can bring our petitions, our pain, and our thanksgiving to our Father.

Some of the best examples of honest prayers are the Psalms. These prayers encompass all of the complexities of the human experience, from loss and betrayal to exuberant praise.

God doesn’t want scripted or surface-level prayers. He wants us to come to Him, even in all of our human messiness.

As we study Scripture, we see that God is telling us the story of who He is. And only by learning who He is can we learn who we are. We are flawed humans with mixed motives. But more importantly, we are redeemed, and we are part of the story He continues to write.

Are you creating space for God’s instruction and inspection?

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