Motives Matter

Posted on September 16, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Devotional Reflections

Most Christians are quite conscientious about how they are to live. We have been nurtured to know right and wrong. We know we are to live righteous lives, love others, be faithful to gather for worship and even to tithe. We may not be as successful in efforts to fulfill those aspirations as we would like, but it is not because we don’t know how we are to live. Unfortunately living the Christian life is seen as dependent on our own work and discipline rather than something empowered and led by the Holy Spirit. The result is frequent failure, guilt and futile resolve to do better.

We may find it in our ability to do a pretty good job of living for Christ, at least in comparison to others. We righteously avoid violating any of the ten commandments and do a pretty good job of Christian piety through worship and daily devotionals. But what is motivating these actions and behavior? Is it because we ought to, out of concern for our reputation, or compelled by a heart in tune with God?

Scripture makes an interesting observation about King Amaziah in 2 Chronicles 25:2–”And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, yet not with a whole heart.” He knew his obligations as King of Israel and that he was accountable to God, but his heart was not really in it. Sometimes, we would really like to be indulging in some of the pleasures we see others enjoying in the world; we grudgingly trek back to church on Sunday and Wednesday nights and write our check because of what we pledged to give. In our hearts we would really like to stand up for our rights and what we want rather than unselfishly serving our family and others.

Notice the contrast with Amaziah in what was said about King Hezekiah: “And he did what was good, right and true before the Lord…and he did it with all his heart and prospered” (2 Chronicles 31:21). The behavior and actions of the two kings were similar, but Hezekiah did it with pure motives of a heart for God, and he prospered. We don’t really have the joy and sense of victory in serving the Lord when we do it because we have to or that’s what expected. Jesus had a lot to say about the heart of man. Motives do make a difference.

It is interesting, in this context at 2 Chronicles 16:9 points out, “The eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” What an indictment! The Lord has to search diligently throughout the earth, trying to find someone among His people whose heart is truly in tune with Him. Why is God searching for someone with pure motives and a heart for God? It is so that He might strongly support him. How desperately we need the Lord’s support. Well, it is contingent on our heart being fully His.

It is significant that this observation is made regarding David–”I have found David…a man after My own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.” It makes a difference when we do what God wants us to do because we have a heart for Him. Motives do matter!

One Comment on “Motives Matter”

  1. Foibled Translator

    And when they are wrong, even in a way that is not readily visible, they can lead to disastrous results in ministry.

Leave a Reply

More News