Watch Your Motives!

Psalms 34:7 says “delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” This is true, but in Proverbs 16:2 it says “all a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.” This is why even though you do right by God and his people, if it’s not for the right reasons your desires will NOT come to pass.

Many people give to the poor, give extra for offerings, even spend their precious time helping someone in need, but do it for the recognition or to create a false image. Whatever they desire will be even harder to obtain because their acts were not pure. Let me give you an example from my life that supports my view.

When I was 7 years old I dreamed of going to college to play basketball and make my way to the professional ranks. My drive came from passion for the game. At this early age I didn’t know how much money players made, even the big names like Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson. Nor did I know what kind of cars they drove or houses they lived in. All I knew was they made enough money to support themselves playing a game. That’s all I wanted too. It could’ve been $30k for all I cared.

Along my journey I ran into several challenges that put my dreams in jeopardy. I was cut from my freshman high school team, I made JV my sophomore year only to sit the bench behind a guy who was not only not as physically gifted as me, but didn’t really know the game like me either. Then there was not making varsity my junior year and sitting the bench a majority of my senior year.

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While I gained small victories during these challenges, like being named a captain my junior year on JV, leading the team in several statistical categories and somehow being named most improved player on varsity senior season, even though I only played 6 meaningful games ( that’s a whole other story) , those shortcomings put a chip on my shoulder that over ruled my passion.

I became so focused on proving people wrong, I forgot my true reason for playing the game. I LOVED IT, still do. When I got to college my motivation became showing up all those people who doubted me and the coaches who put hurdles in my way. Instead of celebrating the fact that even though I had to take a different path, I still was on the path to accomplish my dream.

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In college I badly wanted to show up my senior high basketball coach who never let me play. It became like fuel. When I became a starter midway through my freshman season at OSU Newark, I began putting up big statistics. I had several 20+ point, 10+ rebound games. I was dominating guys who were physically bigger, stronger and faster than me and gaining the respect from coaches across the state. After every game there was a write up in the paper about the previous night’s game. I kept them all.

One day while visiting my old high school, the coach who never let me play told me he wanted a picture of me in my uniform to put up in the locker room. He wanted to display all the players he coached who went on to play in college. I thought it was stupid since he never really played me, but I got my dad who’s an experience photographer to take the picture for me. After it was developed I took the photo to my old coach, but I put a surprise in the envelop for him. IMG_1469 IMG_1421

It was several copies of the newspaper clippings of my success. I wanted him to see it. It was my way of rubbing it in his face what he missed out on in me as a player and what I’ve done without his help.

That’s where it all went wrong for me. From that point forward my motives continued to sway. That chip on my shoulder grew larger. While it did keep me in the gym & track working on my game and conditioning, which led to me breaking and set several school records.

IMG_0083It also led to me becoming an all conference and all state performer as well as getting my jersey retired. But with my motives being in the wrong place, that’s where it all ended.

I’m convinced if I would have made it to the NBA or played overseas I would have become very obnoxious and arrogant throwing my success in the faces of those who doubted me. I know I would’ve and that’s not me. Therefore I truly believe that is why that dream never came true.

I got what I deserved and that was a chance to prove I was a good basketball player. Some would say great.

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But all the other stuff, I believe God put the kibosh on because of my wrong motives. Had I wanted it for the 7 year old who loved the game and to inspire people to never give up on their dreams, I know I would’ve made it. I got invited to several pro workouts and performed great, but there was that chip on my shoulder that couldn’t wait until I made the pros to flip on everyone who did me wrong. God wasn’t going to allow that.

So what are your motives? Are they pure? Are they righteous? Or are they for evil? Or for selfishness? Ask yourself that while you’re chasing your dreams and goals, and correct them before it’s too late. Or miss out on your dreams.

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