As a self-admitted control freak, it is a temptation that I continue to battle. I wanted to control every aspect of my life, even the people in it. It made my agenda easier if everyone complied with my needs. I would even make it appear to be in “your” best interest to follow my lead, when it benefited me the most.

I’d give a small portion of my money to the needy, but most of the time, I looked for a return on my investment somewhere down the road. As bad as this sounds, I had no idea I was like this. Reflecting on my selfish days, I clearly see my actions.

The most difficult obstacle to overcome is recognition of our faults. I believe that many of us today are just as I was, but we don’t realize it. We see the good parts of our plan and leave out the motive.

When you do a good deed, stop and reflect on it. Make sure you’re doing it with a “pure” heart. Tina and I have decided the only way we can do this is to never have money in excess of our bills and living expenses. The rest goes to someone in need. It’s the only way we can live our life with pure hearts and minds.

“Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”  — Luke 12:15

If Tina and I have excess money, we’ll start to worship it again, so we choose to make as much as we can but give the excess to people who really need it. Frankly, we don’t want it.

Rick Stanfield is a syndicated columnist, motivational speaker and author. His latest book is “I Can and I Will.” For more information, visit his website at www.rickstanfield.com.