We all have motives; some good, some bad. I would like to think that my motives for what I do are all about love, obedience and gratefulness to God. However, I’m regularly coming face to face with God’s Word, ‘How can I know the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from my hidden (unconscious) faults’ (Psalm 19:12 NLT).
Looking at our text for today it’s clear that when we stand before God we will not be judged by what we have done, but by our motives. We can only conclude that it is possible to be doing and saying all the right things, in the right way, but from wrong motives, and God is not impressed – quite a subduing thought.
The Bible makes it clear that God is interested in our hearts, where our motives are hidden. These hidden motives control what we do. It’s not merely what is on the outside that counts, but what is on the inside. Jesus taught that even generous and sacrificial acts are, in fact, sinful when done for selfish reasons (Matthew 6:2).
The desire to pursue self interest has been with us since we were born. It is innately in human nature. Sinful motives are about me, my reputation, my gain, about being liked or accepted, being considered good or important. Like the Pharisees, we can speak the right words and do the right things, but the trouble can lie in our motives. Indeed our ways may seem innocent to us, but our motives are weighed by the Lord (Proverbs 16:2).
Right motives are always for God’s honour and glory and the good of others. Right motives never seek approval or praise from men. Right motives speak of a sincere heart before God, of integrity, reality and a genuine love and obedience to Him whatever the consequences.
Prayer: Father, by Your Spirit, will You please speak to me today and reveal any false and wrong motive in my heart. Strip me of all falsehood and pride. Wean me from the secret sins that are hidden from me. Set me free from them. Give me a hatred for them. Make them repulsive to me. Please put within me one motive – Jesus and His glory. Amen.
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