Why do you do what you do? What is your motivation? Why do you get up in the mornings? What is it that is fueling you?
This morning, I want us to consider what really is your fuel.
James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a
Looking at this scripture, we see that there are opposing sides – two parts that are going in different directions. There are differing ideas that lead us in different directions. I propose that these differing sides also reflect two different ways that we ‘fuel the fire’ within us.
First, we have the understanding of the earthly way to go. These are some of the characteristics that stick out to us:
Bitter envy, selfish ambition, boastful, falsehood – these lead to disorder and wickedness.
These don’t sound appealing to us at all as Christians. But just because it doesn’t sound appealing or like something we would do, doesn’t mean that we don’t do these things. We will look at this more in a moment.
One the opposing side is:
Pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, no partiality or hypocrisy – leads to harvest of righteousness, sown in peace.
These sound great! This is the obvious choice. I can hear us now thinking that we know the answer to this question on the test.
The problem is that this world is part of the first side. It is all about getting what we can for ourselves. It is about conflicts and disputes. It is about our inward cravings. It is about going after your desires no matter what is in the way. We are taught to achieve our goals no matter what it takes.
So, if the world is part of the first side and that is what we know…what happens? We end up doing what verse 2 in chapter 4 says…we commit horrible sins (murder specifically mentioned here), we covet (see what someone else has and really want it bad). Since we can’t have what we want, then we cause conflict – do what it takes so we feel better about ourselves and/or get what we want.
We also end up asking for things we don’t need or things that are not in our best interest. We do this because we are led by the world. We do this because we covet and we ask God to give us what someone else has. This verse shows us that we don’t get because we ask in our own desires.
If we are led by the world in too many cases, what can we do? Verse 7 and the beginning of 8 help us bring it back into focus. We are to submit ourselves to God. We are to give ourselves over to Him and along with all of our selfish ambitions. We draw closer to Him and in doing so, we cleanse ourselves of where we have gone wrong and repent…getting back on the right track with God. Only submitting to Him will get us there.
For a moment, let’s look at what fuel’s your fire. What gets you up in the morning? It isn’t just your alarm clock. You get up because you have things to do. You know you have to get up in order to go to work or you have to get the kids to school or you have to go to an appointment or you have to get ready for something. You get up because you have a reason. Many of those reasons are earthly. We have to make money to support our families. The kids have to get to school for an education. We have to go to the appointments for our health or whatever. We have good reasons for doing that.
But, if that is what fuels our fire, our fire will be put out really, really quickly. We will grow weary and tired. We will not want to continue to do those things because they are driving us crazy. We will dread Monday mornings because they are the start to the madness.
What would happen if instead of that fueling our fire, our fire was fueled by a desire to follow God? What if we got up, not to go to work, but to grow in our relationship with Him? What would happen if we got up with a desire to know Him more and serve Him and give Him our best? That doesn’t mean we don’t go to work…no because we look at work differently. It is then our avenue of service. We don’t dread taking the kids to school because that helps them with their avenue of service. We don’t get up because of the load of work we have that day but because we have a desire to follow God and see just what He has for us. We look at people differently…we look at the world differently…we look at life differently.
It doesn’t mean that everything goes great…but even in adversity, God is there! It is an opportunity to learn and grow and become a little more like Him each day.
So, to wrap it up…what fuels your fire? What will get you up in the morning? May we submit to Him and draw closer to Him beginning now. He might just fuel your fire within!