What Drives You?

stick.jpgIn his book Ministry in the Image of God, Stephen Seamands tells the story of Jack Frost (yes, that is his real name).  In former years, he was addicted to drugs, alcohol and pornography.  After he gave his life to Christ, he continued to struggle with a serious fear of failure that fueled an "aggressive striving."  Frost, in looking back at those years said, "It seemed to be perfectly natural to express my love for God by building my identity through hyper-religious activity.  Many of the Christians around me seemed to think the same way" (Jack Frost, Experiencing the Father’s Embrace, pp. 4-5).

Jack Frost became a minister.  He writes about the impact of his past on his life in a ministry role: 

My childhood filter system for earning love and acceptance translated ministry into an aggressive zeal to win souls and build the fastest growing church in our denominational district.

I wanted to look good to everybody.  But underneath the veneer of success, I was an unhappy man with a miserable family.  My commitment to "the ministry" was far greater than my commitment to my wife, my children or any other loving relationships.  When I was at home, I was irritable and impossible to get along with.  Everything I did was tainted with passive anger.

My countenance became stern and serious, and my preaching became legalistic and demanding….  I knew the theology of God’s love, but I had not experienced it in my relationships.  (Frost, pp. 5-6)

When I first read these lines, I thought about how valuable these thoughts are for anyone who is in ministry.  Not so.  I think any of us would do well to think about his reflections.  What is it that drives me?  What are my motivations?  What is there inside of me that makes me want to look good, competent, successful, strong, together, etc.?  Does this connect with you?

(To read more about Frost’s story, see Stephen Seamand’s Ministry in the Image of God, pp. 53-56.) 

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14 thoughts on “What Drives You?

  1. Some convergence here with Ted Gossard’s post today. Living that balance of being a person of quality and a person of need-for-acceptance (quality for the kudos) is never easy, especially for those of us who did not hear the parental words of love that fill a heart and give it stability.

  2. One of my principal motivations in life is the desire to be a genuinely good steward of whatever God has given me. And why is this so important?  It is where I find purpose and meaning.

  3. Jim: Good post; this is something I have been thinking about in reference to myself the past couple of weeks, as I will be moving to a new church the end of June. Such change gives one pause in reflecting on the motivations for ministry. 

  4. What drives you? Wow, what a question! I think there are good and bad motivators that drive me. What I struggle with is how to wean myself off bad motivators without loosing motivation/drive altogether. When I mess with the very things that drive me, I find it takes a while to find my get up and go.

  5. SGNow that is a very candid response.  I suspect many us have some very positive and some negative motivations.  I even suspect that we are not even aware of some of our motives.  For instance, I’m not sure we are always aware of how fear, a sense of inferiority, or shame necessarily motivates us. Thanks! 

  6. Allan,I wish you the very best as you prepare to move.  I recall doing a lot of soul-searching each time we have moved.  There is nothing quite as jolting to the daily routine and work as knowing you are about to move.So glad to have become acquainted with you through this blog world. 🙂

  7. Pastor’s wife,Thanks so much for this link.  This is very sobering.  I will be sure to pray for him and his family.   

  8. Jim, Interesting post, and far too common with us. Though certainly understandable in our brother’s experience.
    I think I’ve come a long way so that I’m not much worried if a flaw shows up before others. I’m more concerned about addressing the flaw, and trying to keep on going and growing in the Lord.
    I know a Christian who thinks that people don’t change. But I see the Christian life as all about changing more and more into Christ’s image. From a son of thunder to an epistle of love.