Category: Carl Leyerle


Motivation For Gain: What Really is the Motivation of Our Hearts?

I was thinking the other day as I was preparing a short family devotional, “Where is my heart really at with this.” The “This” I am referring to is a subject we are all familiar with because we all have to deal with it on a daily basis: Finances and Gain. As I was preparing my devotional concerning finances, I felt that the first thing to address was the condition of the heart or motivation for for gain in the heart and life of believers (including myself). That is what this article is about. It is not about money, but rather a believers motivation for obtaining wealth and/or material possessions.

 

James wrote his letter to the early church because the believers were exhibiting signs of spiritual immaturity and correction was needed. James specifically addressed numerous issues that these believers should have been over and beyond in terms of spiritual maturity. Briefly over viewed, their issues were:

 

  1. Lack of wisdom and double-mindedness (1:5-8)
  2. Hearing and not doing the Word of God; hypocrisy (1:22-25, 2:14-26)
  3. Favoritism of the rich (2:1-9)
  4. Inability to control the tongue (3:1-12)
  5. Worldly wisdom (3:13-18)
  6. Evil desires, covetousness (4:1-6)
  7. Presumption (4:13-17)
  8. Trust in riches (5:1-5)

 

These were just some of the glaring problems found in the early church in Jerusalem. The passage of scripture I wish to deal with is James 4:1-6. James is addressing believers who, among other things, were experiencing contention, strife and infighting (verse 1).

 

Our passage today deals with the contention and strife among believers that stems from covetousness and inordinate desires for gain. In verse 1, James asks the believers, “From whence [come] wars and fightings among you? [come they] not hence, [even] of your lusts that war in your members?” (4:1) James tells them that he knows what’s going on in their midst; desiring, fighting and killing. [Under the new covenant, wishing someone were dead is the same as actually killing them (Matt 5:21-22)]. I can well imagine the old saying, “If looks could kill” as being fitting in this situation. The point is that these believers were having strife, conflict and contention due to selfish, greedy lusts, and desires for material possessions and resources which were limited. In spite of their continual striving for gain, it seems they could not obtain enough to be satisfied. James then says something very interesting, “Ye have not because ye ask not. Ye ask and receive not because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it on your lusts (4:3).”

 

I would like to examine what James says a little more closely. Basically, James is saying the reason the believers were fighting amongst themselves is the fact that they strongly desired personal gain but were frustrated in their pursuits. They failed to ask God for the things they wanted and when they did ask God for what they wanted, they didn’t get it. James goes on to explain why they did not get what they asked for. “That ye may consume it upon your own lusts (4:3).” In other words, God wasn’t going to give them the material possessions they fought, strove and contended for because they would use those things only for their own selfish pleasures. God would get none of the Glory and none of the use out of these things the believers were lusting after. The believer’s motivation for gain was all wrong.

 

In fact, the next verse gives us insight as to what exactly was wrong symptomatically: Worldliness. James asks them, “Know ye not that friendship with the world is enmity with God? (4:4)” He further drives home the point by stating, “Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God (4:4).” WOW! The people’s evil lusts, contentions, striving, arguing and fighting over riches is equated here with worldliness. Worldliness IS enmity with God.

 

There are five basic principles by which the world’s system operates. They are: Force, Greed, Selfishness, Ambition, and Pleasure (L. Larson, Classroom Instruction 3/29/09). If a person finds themselves operating with this motivation for gain or from one or more of these principles employed as means to gain, he or she is at best worldly in their approach to life, at worst, not even saved.

 

Don’t misunderstand me, it’s not wrong to have material blessings. It’s not even wrong to want material blessings, but each one of us must be honest before God and ask ourselves the question, “Why do I want this?” If you want and desire things because others have them, and you have thoughts such as, “ Everyone on my block has a new car, I need one too.” or, “All my friends wear the latest fashions, I’ve got to have them, too.” Then your motivation for desiring something is all wrong. It’s worldly. Any attitude, mentality, or thought process concerning material wealth that has a, “Keeping up with the Jones’” flavor is worldliness.

 

But if your desire for blessings directly corresponds to your desire to serve God and minister to people, I believe that’s a valid motivation. For example, if God has given you the gift of hospitality, and you genuinely want to exercise that gift, then desiring a suitable home for that purpose isn’t wrong. There is a fine line and it’s easy to get this truth twisted. I’ve heard more than one word of faith preacher falsely tell people words to the effect of, “If you don’t have the finest clothes, nicest cars, and plenty of money, then no one will listed to you share the gospel.” That, my friends, is a LIE. People should be attracted to you not because of your money or looks or the car you drive, but because your countenance reflects that of Jesus Christ. They should be drawn to the Spirit of God in you and not the wealth that you possess.

 

Like I said, having wealth or material blessings is not wrong, in and of itself. But we must, as a people living in a fallen, sin cursed earth, always be aware of our heart’s motivations. We need to let the Holy Spirit show us the real motivation of our hearts. We need to be willing to repent and allow God to change our hearts when they are not right concerning these matters. Take it to the Cross. When we humble ourselves before God, He will provide the grace we need to have a pure heart before Him (James 4:10).

 

Carl J. Leyerle

11/8/10

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Alcohol and the Believer

Alcohol and the Believer

I’ve been thinking about the subject of alcohol consumption and the Bible believing Christian for some time now. More specifically, how alcohol affects believers and whether or not it is scriptural for a Christian to drink. I have my own convictions on the subject which I believe to be Biblical, but feel the necessity to address the issue in a short article. The idea came a few months ago.

I had run into an old acquaintance I hadn’t seen in a few years. We were catching up when he mentioned he had not had any drinks since such and such a month (the equivalent of about five months). Either my wife or myself (can’t remember which) commented off hand something to the effect of ,“Well that’s good, because the Bible says you shouldn’t drink.” My old friend got suddenly defensive and asked sharply, “where does it say that?” We replied Proverbs 23, and perhaps a few other verses off the top of our heads. The conversation moved to something else, when we finished talking, we cordially parted ways. That incident brought me to where I am at now. While I realize the vast majority of folk I associate with hold the same perspective about the subject I am writing about, there are others who don’t, perhaps to their peril. My belief is this: Alcohol, in any capacity, and any amount should be avoided altogether. The folk who don’t hold this as a Biblical view are the people I wish to discuss this with in this article.

As a Pastor, I am concerned for the spiritual health and growth of Gods people. I am in no way trying to be legalistic or dogmatic about the matter. Read 1Cor 6:9-20. I simply want to share from the Scripture some truths about the subject matter. I hope it will help people to see the dangers alcohol poses to the believer in Jesus Christ.

The Lord led me to the book of Leviticus. In chapter 10, verses 1-7, we read the account of Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu. They offered strange or profane fire in their censers before the LORD and as a result, they were struck dead by God. In verse 8 we see that God speaks to Aaron, with the content of what was said recorded in the following three verses. God tells Aaron and his remaining sons (the priesthood), to completely abstain from all forms of alcoholic drink when going about their priestly duties. As well, this command is a “statute forever” (Verse 9). Verse 10 tells us why God commanded this: so that they may put difference or distinguish between holy and unholy, clean and unclean. Verse 11 continues by telling us that it was necessary for the Children of Israel to be taught the statutes which the LORD spoke through Moses. Obviously, the Lord knew that the consumption of alcohol would hinder their understanding as well.

Some might argue that this only refers to the Levitical priesthood in the Old Testament and doesn’t apply to believers nowadays. If you read the beginning of the book of Revelation, Chapter 1, verses 4-8, you see that in verses 5 and 6, because we are cleansed from our sins in His own blood, that Jesus Christ has made us kings (this refers to the believer leading others by example of righteousness and holiness) and priests, (refers to one whose life is completely devoted to Christ and serving Him) to God in order that our lives may bring Him glory.

Sorry, friend, the command to abstain from alcohol applies to believers today. Next, I would like to address the reasons God doesn’t want His people drinking alcohol.

In verse 10 of Leviticus 10, the reason given is “that you may put difference (distinguish) between holy and unholy, and between clean and unclean.

I went to a secular rehab for my drinking and drug problem 12 years ago. One of the things I still remember from Alcohol education classes I took was that the first thing a person looses when they start drinking is sound judgment. One’s thinking becomes cloudy. The ability to discern is diminished. The more one drinks, the worse it gets. Ever see those bumper stickers on the back of police cars that say “impairment begins with the first drink”? That is not some propaganda. For a change, this time, the government is actually telling the truth! This is based on scientific research. Real science will always confirm what the bible says.

We see that drinking alcohol in any form or amount is not good. I’ve heard probably every excuse people use to justify drinking. From “drunkenness is forbidden in the bible but it doesn’t say anything about moderate drinking” to the lame, “Jesus made wine, didn’t He”? And everything in between. These are just that: lame excuses. When one studies what the Bible says about alcohol, and studies the passages in context, they will find overwhelming evidence that the exhortation to abstain from alcohol is scriptural.

Remember, I’m not being legalistic. I don’t think that if a person drinks a beer, they will immediately loose their salvation, and go straight to hell. But I promise you this: Alcohol will hinder your relationship with God and will retard your spiritual growth. It will also damage your testimony and grieve the Holy Spirit of God. 1 Cor 3:16-17, 1 Cor 6:12. The use of alcohol grieves the Holy Spirit, and makes His still small voice more and more difficult to hear. Consequently, the convicting power of the Holy Spirit will be lessened in you life.

I would encourage any of my friends to ask themselves before they drink, “Is this helpful for me? Is it helpful for my relationship with God?” If not, don’t do it. Remember that all of the so called benefits of drinking (social conviviality, relaxation, etc.) are the devil’s counterfeits to the benefits of a true walk with Christ.

Well, my friends, I hope all or some of what I’ve mentioned in this article has been helpful. If anyone has specific questions I will do my best to give a scriptural answer. Just get a hold of me.
One further thing: if your pastor doesn’t preach or teach from the Bible what I’ve taught here; he really doesn’t love you or care for the state of your soul like He says he does. It’s about time for men of God to step up to the pulpit and start preaching and teaching the Bible again!

In Christ’s love,
Carl J. Leyerle