To venable (verb): To randomly muse upon this and that.

WIIFM or WIIFG

Why do you do what you do? What is it that really motivates you? Or to put it another way round, how do you motivate people to do something? According to the natural way of things it is WIIFM that is the key. And WIIFM means: what’s in it for me?

Sadly this is all too often seen in the church where we find that the thing that drives people is the WIIFM principle. People come to services and generally approach church life with personal benefit being top of the agenda. Such people are really a menace because their passion is not for God, but for themselves.

An example of this type of person would be a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city of Samaria (Acts 8:9). He professed to believe; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done (see v13). However, he seems to have been intoxicated by observing the power available through the Holy Spirit and offered money to buy it saying: “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! “You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. “Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. “For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity” (vv19-23).

Simon basically looked on and said WIIFM? Peter tore into him on account of this attitude. Peter’s words are very strong, but we have to realize what is at stake here. Essentially the church where Jesus has set Himself as King is being threatened by the WIIFM principle demonstrated by Simon. It is in effect, an attempted spiritual coup d’etat which seeks to destroy the authority of the LORD Jesus in His church. Accordingly we must stand strongly against WIIFM being found in the church. We must resist all reasoning about me not liking certain preachers, me not liking certain ways of doing things; me wanting things arranged in a certain way etc. etc..

But we have to go further than that and consider what positively should be the driving force in our lives. Whereupon we pick up the WIIFG principle. Always we should be considering what’s in it for God? This approach is established categorically in the opening part of the pattern prayer given by our LORD Jesus. Do we mean it when we pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Matt. 6:9b-10)? We may be using the words, but are we really praying from the heart. Or is our desire: Our Father in heaven, irrelevant be Your Name, my kingdom come, my will be done on earth as I think it should be in heaven? How wrong this is!

Paul gives the right attitude when he says for to me, to live is Christ, (Phil. 1:21a). He was captivated by His Saviour and everything that Jesus, the Lord, had done for him. This motivated him to keep going through thick and thin. In all his circumstances his motivation was always to choose that which would please his LORD and Master. But why was he driven this way? Surely it was because he was overwhelmed by what His Lord had done for Him. He was overwhelmed by the cross and thereby he could no longer live for himself, but felt constrained to live for Christ. As he says in 2 Cor. 5 14-15: For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.

And that is the challenge for us is it not? If we really appreciate the cross of our LORD Jesus how could we ever want to think WIIFM? He pleased not Himself (see Rom. 15:3). The Son of God loved Me and gave Himself for Me (Gal. 2:20). How this would transform our church life and individual lives if we conducted ourselves always remembering that I owe everything to God’s grace in Christ Jesus. Easter 2006 has now passed in the church calender. But, for the Christian there is a sense that Easter should never pass; we should always be remembering the events of our LORD’S death and resurrection.

Which would lead us finally to the LORD’S supper. If we really appreciated what is happening when we remember our LORD Jesus in His appointed way then we would be galvanized into always putting the LORD first. The remembrance feast takes us to the cross and when we linger there awhile we can only be left with a WIIFG attitude pervading our lives.

The next time you say (or think) “this is what I want and it must happen” (or words to that effect) then go to Gethsemane and remember the words of our Saviour who, facing up to taking the wrath of God against sin, said: “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”

(Taken from Feltham Evangelical Newsletter of May 2006)

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