Know the right answers?

By Dave Henning / January 9, 2024

“Most people, including myself, who know the right answers, still have strong, unhealthy motives driving them. . . .  Every one of us has looked for our identity in something or someone other than Jesus. . . .  I’ve realized there is almost no limit to the ways we seek validation.”- Chip Ingram

In Chapter 3 (“The Lie of Insignificance”) of Discover Your True Self, Chip Ingram tells the story of his friend David.  David, his parents, and siblings emigrated to America from Southeast Asia.  And David’s parents, especially his mother, saw education as the key to a better life.

As a result, while still in third grade, David began to study for the SAT and ACT every Saturday.  For five or six hours.  However, David got one break per week for a couple of hours.  To learn about American culture, his mom sent him to a youth group at an evangelical, Bible-teaching church.  Ultimately, that time made all the difference to David.

Therefore, Chip stresses, habits or dysfunctional relationships present as symptoms of a bigger problem.  That problem centers on our distorted understanding of our own significance and values.  Writing in The Search for Significance, Robert McGee noted:

“From life’s onset, we find ourselves searching to satisfy some inner unexplained yearning.  Our hunger causes us to search for people who will love us. . . .  Our desire to be loved and accepted is a symptom of our deeper need.”

Above all, that underlying need for self-worth governs our behavior and serves as the source of our emotional pain.  Yet, since our separation from God, we routinely fail to turn to God to find out the truth about ourselves.  Hence, we reason that what others say about us represents the truth.  So, we find our value in living up to the standards and expectations others set.

Rather than looking to God, we focus on parents, peers, mates, and other important people in our lives.

Today’s question: When do strong, unhealthy motives drive you, even though you know the right answers?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “The search for identity”

About the author

Dave Henning

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