What’s My Motivation?

Paul StiverI hate religion. Honestly, it was one of the things that led me to walk away from God and do whatever I wanted.

By God’s grace I ended up back in His presence at Hope CC and on March 1st of 2015 I gave my life to Jesus Christ. And over time, I realized that I still hate religion. But even more, I hate my religion.

 As I came into the church I would look at other Christians and see “how they were doing it.” Do they raise their hands during worship songs? Which ones? How long do they pray during communion? Who keeps a notebook during sermons? How does that person talk outside of church? How much do they spend on clothes? I was constantly looking at others for the basis of my own walk with the Lord, and in some areas I still do it today.

The reason for all of this comparison was my own pride. One day during a sermon, Pastor Cor mentioned memorizing Scripture. While reading Romans 8, I decided I really wanted to memorize the whole chapter. So I started memorizing Romans 8. Looking back now, I was excited to memorize the verses so that I could “show off” how faithful I was and how much I loved Jesus.

When I had memorized verses 1-9, I recited it to my fiancée, Allison. And I got a word wrong. And she called me on it. And I was incredibly upset and embarrassed. Why? Because how could I get it wrong? What would people think of me? Pure, unadulterated pride.

Tim Keller says, “God loves us as we are, sees us as we are, and accepts us as we are, but by His grace He doesn’t leave us where we are.”

I’ve lived this. Soon after repenting of my pride, I was able to realize that I was fully reliant on grace in memorizing God’s Word. And I also came to see that the whole point of memorizing God’s Word is to know Him. That’s the whole point of anything, really.

I can now fully recite Romans 8 in joyful praise and worship of His goodness and mercy shown to me in Christ! I’m so thankful that despite my horrible motivations, God will gracefully work all things together for good, which He certainly did here.

-Paul Stiver

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