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24 Jan '14

Convictions or cookies: Which drives you?

Posted by T.J. Addington in emotional intelligence (EQ), motives
Cookies are nice! They are the comments or affirmations we get in ministry because of what we do - preaching a good sermon, visiting someone in the hospital, helping those in need. In fact, it is easy to become driven by the cookies because they satisfy our ego and make us feel good about ourselves. I must be doing something important for Jesus is people give me all those cookies!

But: cookies can be dangerous as well. Cookies can motivate us to please others so that we get more cookies. And a drive to please others for our ego needs can cause us to play to people rather than to be driven to please God and to push into places that God wants us to push but people don't.

Hence my question: Are we driven more by cookies than by conviction?  Christian leaders must lead out of a deep place of inner conviction irregardless of whether we get cookies for our leadership. I remember rolling out some new paradigms in the mission I lead ten years ago to the consternation of many who saw it as the flavor of the month and me as out to lunch. If I were looking for cookies they were few and hard to find. And that lasted for quite a while. But what I did have was a deep abiding conviction that where we were going was where God wanted us to go and I said often, "Do not question my resolve!"

Sometimes cookies come and sometimes they don't. We are not called to chase cookies but to move in directions that God wants us to move with conviction and resolve. If I am chasing cookies I will not press into areas that are uncomfortable with either an individual or a congregation. If I am chasing cookies I will become a servant of men rather than of God. I may even compromise my convictions in the process.

I like cookies. But I recognize that cookies don't always serve me well. Convictions serve me much better. Especially those that come from God and are shared by my key colleagues as the direction God wants us to travel. Our best cookies will come from the words of our Lord one day. "Well done my good and faithful servant."