Monday, May 6, 2013

It's Not All About Me?

I believe that the two most common motives for self-improvement and personal growth are self-interest and fear. Self-interest asserts, “I want to be a better person, and to be more successful in life.” While I think this is where many of us begin, such a motivation will only take us so far in our Quests, as it is inherently self-limiting. “Growth is all about…me!” Then there is fear. “I fear being poor, fired, divorced, cancer, being damned to hell, and need to change to avoid this.” This also will only take us so far because it is ultimately debilitating, as such fears are for slaves. And it too is, “All about me!” for what I most fear, I love the most.

I believe the highest and healthiest motivation for seeking transformation is love: love for God, for self, for others, for creation, for life itself. When Jesus was asked, “Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” he said that loving God with all of your heart, mind, and soul, as well as loving your neighbor as yourself: this summed up the entire Law.

When my motivation for transformation, self-improvement, and for all my other Quests, does not have love for God at the very heart of all that I am seeking, my soul’s connection to the transcendent God who is love is cut off, or at least severely weakened. If my loves for self, neighbors, creation, and life, are uncoupled from what is to be my Primary Love—love for the transcendent God—then all my other loves take on various degrees of idolatry. Without love for God as my chief motivation and focal point, I am saying that meaning and definition, significance and fulfillment, are to be found solely (or primarily, anyway) in self, or in others. When this takes place, I am a slave to an idol that will ultimately rob me of the life I was created to live. Or so I believe.

The Quests we take are because of love. Loving God we seek the Holy Grail of knowing Him more completely. Wanting to demonstrate our love for Him, we go on a Quest to become the person He intends us to become. Loving others, we are motivated to do for them what God has done for us: accepting them as He accepted us (in all our messiness), seeking their best interest just as He works for ours. Loving creation, we engage our God-given talents in making it more beautiful, more fruitful, and more God-honoring.

We all act as we do because of love. The only question is who and what do we love? Love for fame will send us in a different direction from where love for God and others will lead us. Love for power will cause us to behave differently than love for God. Love for riches will motivate us to conduct ourselves differently than what love for God and others will provoke us to do. (From my book, Legendary Leadership.) 

As the God who is love created us out of love and for love, it is love alone that has the power to convert and transform our souls in a manner worthy of our Creator. Loving God keeps us free, rather than living as slaves, for, in loving God, we remember that we have immortal souls that belong to Him, alone.

Copyright, Monte E Wilson, 2013 

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