My post from yesterday is already out of date. Technorati.com now says it searches 24.5 million blogs. That’s 100,000 more than yesterday. Which leads me to ask two questions. What are all these people saying? And why are they saying it?
The past two days we’ve been talking about ways Christians can distinguish themselves in the blogosphere – in content and attitude. Today, I want to speak to an area that may not be as obvious – our motives.
Every action has one or more motives behind it, whether we’re aware or not. Sometimes our motives are godly, sometimes sinful. Often I find that my motives are mixed.
While there are countless reasons people blog, ultimately it comes down to two – am I blogging to bring glory to God or myself? Here are some tell tale signs that I’m pursuing the latter:
• I’m crushed by criticism
• I’m harsh in my disagreements with others
• I enjoy seeing my name in print, especially on someone else’s blog
• I check Sitemeter every hour to see who’s on my site
• I like to hear myself talk/write
• I Google my name every 30 minutes.
• I’m flippant in criticizing others
• I experience an emotional high when more people visit my site one day
I’m sure you can think of others. God’s words to us in James are relevant to blogging (and every other area of life):
Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:13-18, ESV)
The two motives we are called to fight here are bitter jealousy and selfish ambition. Bitter jealousy is grieving that I don’t have what someone else has – a cooler site design; more links; more comments, more visitors. It’s when I only want God to be glorified through ME, and don’t naturally rejoice when he chooses to use someone else.
Selfish ambition is similar to bitter jealousy, only more blatant. I want to be approved, applauded, admired. I want people to say kind things about me, whether or not I actually deserve it. I fear any kind of correction or feedback because it appears as though I’ve said or done something wrong. At root, selfish ambition is challenging God for the right to be worshiped. Sadly, it can motivate what we write.
God tells us that these sins are “earthly, unspiritual, and demonic.” I have to admit, I typically don’t think of my desire to be noticed in such radical, harsh terms. But then, I never see my sin like God does. As one Puritan said, “You see more defilement in my duties than I ever saw in any of my sins.”
The fruit of jealousy and selfish ambition is as predictable as it is damaging – disorder and every vile practice. When I’m confused, when I seem to be caught in a downward spiral of sin, I usually find that jealousy and ambition are the cause.
God’s solution is simple, but impossible apart from the Savior. Be humble. Be wise. Be “pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” That kind of blogging will bear fruit for eternity for the glory of Jesus Christ.
If you are a Christian blogger, I pray that you’ll allow God’s Spirit to clearly identify your motives for writing. Maybe some of us will realize we shouldn’t be blogging after all. Other might take it up. Whatever your situation, I pray you make it your aim to glorify the matchless Savior with every thought, every word, every choice, every action.
If you’re still interested, read on for a personal note:
I started Worshipmatters.com at the encouragement of a number of close friends in my church. I was persuaded that it might be helpful to share some of the biblical principles I’ve learned over the past 30 years related to music and worshipping God. I don’t know a lot, but I figured my mistakes alone would carry me for a few years.
I really want to serve people and honor my Savior through what I write here. I want to draw attention to the greatness of God’s power and the lavish display of His mercy at the cross. I want people to embrace the sufficiency of God’s Word and expect the activity of His Spirit in our lives. I also hope to suggest ways a theology of worship can be practically implemented in the church.
However, mixed in with those godly motives are some that I don’t particularly want to share with you. It took me almost five hours to write my first post. Why was that? As I confessed then, I didn’t want to look like a fool. I wanted people to think I was brilliant, creative, insightful, funny, and godly (not necessarily in that order). I realized that part of my motive in writing a blog was to impress people, to draw glory to myself. How pitiful. How sad. How dishonoring to my Savior.
But I continue to blog. Why? I’m persuaded that my desire to see my Savior exalted is greater than the desire to exalt myself. I know that Jesus completely paid the price for all my sins at the cross, and that motivates me to fight pride all the more. The issue is not how many people read what I write, but how faithfully I represent the Savior’s heart and purposes.
I pray this blog will be a means that encourages you to be faithful as well.
In response to your last line: it has been, and it continues to be. thanks for battling the pride and allowing God to work. Blessings! :)
These past three posts have been very encouraging and also very convicting to me. I have a blog, and I claim that my blog is a ‘Godward Blog’, and I want it to be, but many times I see those things that you describe come out more than ‘Godwardness’.
Thank you for your heart for God, and do keep on blogging! You are very gifted.
I’ve been reading your blog since the first post, Bob (you had me as a regular from day one and then as a fan when you answered my question on the first week =D ) and I’ve learned a lot – not only about worship, but also just about living God’s grace day by day. I think it can be said that most things that people write are, deep down, so that people will like them. And while being aware of that helps you watch out for it, it sure doesn’t keep you from falling into that. I thank you for your transparency and I thank God for your heart-felt desire to see Him glorified through what you’re doing here.
Amen and amen.
Thanks so much for the past 3 posts. My blog started out like a diary, but over time I believe one of my motives has become to blog about receiving God’s grace and wanting to glorify Him from the perspective of a young, stay-at-home mom and minister’s wife. I agree that our motives can be mixed — something I’m wrestlinng with right now is the question, “Should I just shut down my blog?” — because I find the motive of sharing my personal specific experiences is mixed with wanting to express to the unbelieving (and believing) communities that a young homemaker, which is not highly valued in our culture, can think deeply about life, be in touch with civilization, and ultimately be fully satisfied by the gospel. I’ve thought, “there are people that need to realize that there are Christian stay-at-home wives and mothers that actually enjoy their stations in life. I fear that my written thoughts may come across as pride or that someone may mistake my “happiness” as contenment in other things besides Jesus. Please share – how do you and others think this can be avoided in our “blogstyles” when we desire to remain specific about how God is growing us in Him? (PS – I previewed this comment 6 times before posting it) :)
What a great series. As I have become enmeshed in Christian blogs, I too have noticed two disturbing trends:
#1 The focus on tangiential issues not centered upon the focus of Jesus Christ — the disputes about issues that are open to interpretation. I’d like to see more focus on the ties that bind!
#2 The focus on what we think versus what Christ things. The thing I admire about your blog is that you go back to Scripture for everything. That should be a model for all bloggers and is one that I try to follow.
Thank you for a great blog series.
Your comments and insights are extremely critical for my generation of bloggers- college age and younger. There is so much potential for us to glorify God with our blogs, and yet there is so much abuse of them. They almost become a free zone, even for Christian teens, where anything goes. Just like our words, we must weigh what we post carefully.
Thanks for the encouragement and reminder to do so.
Excellent series, Mr. Kauflin!
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God… -1 Corinthians 10:31
Whatever we as Christians do, even blogging, is to be done to the glory and honor of God!
Thank you so much for this series, it has been, as you hoped, an encouragement to me, inspiring a blogpost here: http://www.hantla.com/blog/pivot/entry.php?id=195
this is really encouraging! i wish many people can get to read it and put it into practice. I’m praying that those who read this, their hearts will be formed, their minds transformed and their will conformed.
Thank you so much for this. My pastor and I are planning on starting blogs, and this was fantastic and timely reading to take to heart.