Motives Matter6

minion“You want some of my banana?”

So, what is underneath why people do what they do?

You may have seen one of my recent articles: “You are what you do, not what you intend to do.” So – why do you do what you do? Let’s talk about motives and desires. Scripture says a righteous person will live with motives of faith.* Hab. 2:4 talks about how a person can be puffed up with desires that are not upright. Then it talks about the righteous person who will live by faithfulness. What does all that mean? Lots to think about. Let’s explore a bit.

Motives that are not upright are motives that are void of faith in God. Since motives are the deciding factor God uses to measure and weigh a person’s choices, you need to be sure of your motives. Apparently, faith is pretty important to God. Lk 18:8 says, “. . . when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” In fact, God goes so far as to say, “Without faith it is impossible to please (Me).” (Heb. 11:6)

You can do a really nice thing with the wrong motive, and it will measure pretty low on God’s scale. Conversely, you can do a thing, and maybe it wasn’t quite perfect – or you didn’t have all the information – yet, if it was done in faith to obey and please God, you just might hit a 9 or a 10 on God’s scale. Does this criterion excuse not working to raise your performance standards, or getting better information before you act next time? No, but it does focus on the heart rather than the deed. And, apparently, that is the criterion God uses when measuring a person’s heart motives.

An example: Let’s say a company or famous person (or you) gives a lot of money (or not so much) to a philanthropic cause. Whether or not that gift is pleasing to God depends on what was going on in the heart. Did you want to show compassion and kindness? Was mercy or justice part of your thinking? Maybe you wanted your ratings to look better? Perhaps you wanted to give your popularity a boost and have people think how wonderful you are. Motives underneath determine the tensile strength of your action. God sees those underlying desires. “People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7) He sees it all! No hiding the very stuff God lays on the scale. How will the scale tip?

So, on whose scale are you aiming for a “10”?

Man’s or God’s? minion-1169396

God says that His eyes range over the earth, looking to find those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. (2 Chron. 16:9a) “So we make it our goal to please Him. . . “ (2 Cor. 5:9) Choose to respond with motives of faith in God. He honors faith, and He certainly notices when someone refuses to believe Him.

Agree with God: be hard on yourself in the right way. Check your motives before you offer your banana.

* Rom 1:17; 2 Cor. 5:7; Gal. 2:20; Heb. 10:38.

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