Spending: Check Your Motivations

“Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye.”
–H. Jackson Brown, Jr., American author

When I started this blog, I stated that simplicity is about constantly evaluating and re-evaluating our lifestyle choices to free up time, energy, and money so that we can do the things that bring fulfillment (see post here). Part of that evaluation and re-evaluation process includes checking our motivations especially when it comes to how we spend our money. In the quest for simplicity, it's important for us to regularly examine our hearts to uncover the reasons behind the purchasing of material things.


The Scriptures apparently tell us that God is concerned about our hearts and our motivations. 1 Samuel 16:7 says that “the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” (ESV, emphasis added). In the book of James, the Bible tells us that some of our prayers aren’t being answered due to a very simple reason. James says it's because “you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:3, NIV). God is obviously concerned with our hearts and our motivations. And therefore, we should be concerned about such things too.

What motivates us to buy certain things? Like a particular car? Or the newest clothing? Or the latest toys and gadgets? It can be for the right reasons. I bought a new pair of running shoes the other day because I ripped a hole right into my old pair. I obviously can’t run with a hole in my shoe. We may have good reasons for purchasing certain items. But as we examine our motivations, we may equally discover that we tend to purchase things for the wrong reasons too. Perhaps it’s pride? We want to impress other people. Perhaps we want to live in luxury? Maybe we feel like we deserve it. Perhaps we just want to keep up with our neighbors? I’m not going to let them get ahead of me.

But in the end, that’s not what God has called us to. We have more important kingdom things to worry about. And we have to understand that our purchasing habits can get in the way of what God is trying to do in each of us. God wants us to live humble lives. We’re not called to impress anybody. God wants us to love and serve people generously and sacrificially. God wants us to spend our days making His name known and making disciples of all nations. We can’t do any of that if we’re too concerned about our image. Or what others think about us. Or if we spend our days chasing after worldly success and luxury. That’s why it’s important to constantly evaluate and re-evaluate our hearts. Our wrong motivations threaten to pull us away from the things that really matter to God.

It’s time for a heart check. Do you find yourself purchasing things for the wrong reasons? Like trying to impress people? Or indulging in worldly things? The hope is that we will begin to constantly evaluate and re-evaluate our spending choices so that they begin to line up more consistently with God’s desires.