Righteous Behavior Motivation

By Dave Henning / July 20, 2014

“The last temptation is the greatest treason:

To do  the right deed for the wrong reason.”- T. S. Eliot, “Murder in the Cathedral”

Pastor Tullian Tchividjian continues Chapter 2 of One Way Love with a discussion of ethical behaviorism, a term psychologists use to describe a schema that exclusively defines a person’s righteousness in terms of what they do or don’t do.  Thus, one’s righteousness can be judged via observable behavior.

Tullian points out, however, that in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, He insists that righteousness is more than what we do or don’t do.  It’s a question of why we do or don’t do something.  The author tells of a time when a grumpy old neighbor screamed at Tullian’s children whenever their ball landed on the neighbor’s lawn.  Yet, Pastor Tchividjian confesses, his conduct was not an exercise of love, patience, and self-control. While his observable behavior seemed righteous, the real reason for his apparent calm was terribly unrighteous- selfish concern for his reputation as a pastor.

William Holdern (Living by Grace) clearly describes unrighteous motivation:

“There may be many reasons for not acting upon our motivations, but obviously one of the most common reasons is a fear of the consequences. . . . Therefore when a person refrains from such actions it may not be because their heart is pure but simply a matter of self-protection.”

Today’s question: How would you describe your heart motivation following your ministry downsizing or vocation loss?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Addiction to control”


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Dave Henning

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