A motive is an underlying reason for any action. Scripture has much to say not only about our actions but also our motives. The Lord sees the intent and discerns deep into our hearts. While we may say we want to do great things for God, in many cases our motives are less than pure. Many even go after God only with the motive of having fame and wealth.
There is a lot the Bible says about our motives. Here below are just two:
Proverbs 16:2 – “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits.”
Jeremiah 17:9 – “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
We can easily fool people about our motives and pretend that we are choosing certain actions for the sake of God or the benefit of others when in reality, we are being driven by selfish reasons. God is not fooled by our selfishness, because He is the discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12 – “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Humans by nature can operate from different motives behind our actions. It could be pride, anger, strife, envy, sense of entitlement or desire for approval. Some can preach the gospel from the motive of blessing lives while some can preach the gospel from envy, rivalry, selfish ambitions and insecurity. You can preach and minister from impure motives but you should understand that does not impress God. You must be able to discern any tendency towards selfishness and selfish ambitions.
Ask yourself the following questions:
Why am I writing that book?
Why do I want to preach or teach?
Why do I want to be connected somehow to well-known men?
Why do I want to start that ministry?
Why do I want to be part of that unit in church?
Why do I want to go for that vacation?
Why do I want to get that degree?
What motivates me in it all?
Why am I doing what you are doing?
What motivates my Christian service?
My witnesses, preaching, what motivates it?
What are the hidden motives in your heart when you stand to talk?
Why be a conference speaker?
How much of my public prayers in the presence of others is motivated by impressing men, praying to be heard by men?
Why am I interested in the truth?
Why do I blog?
Are my motives for specific services or for personal growth?
Romans 8:8 – “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”
Any motivation that comes from the flesh is not acceptable and pleasing to God. The Lord evaluates the heart condition when things are offered to Him. A motive that is selfish hinders prayer. The heart can be so deceitful, so you must constantly check and evaluate your motives and the reason behind your actions.
Jesus spoke to the people in Matthew 6:1 – “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.”
The right motive from every believer should be to please God. The Lord sees what no one else sees. He actually knows why we do what we do and desires to reward those whose hearts are right towards Him.
Galatians 5:16 – “This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”
So, constantly keep your motives in check, in line with God’s word. Pure motives can be kept continually by surrendering your heart to the control of the Holy Spirit. You must continually walk in the Spirit.
Allow Him to lead and control all areas of your life, then your desires will be to please him. The flesh constantly wants to be exalted but you must walk in the Spirit and receive strength to conquer those desires of the flesh. It is better to please God, therefore choose good motives for the Lord. Seek the Lord with your whole heart and let whatsoever you do in words and thoughts bring glory to God. Remember every motive but align with God’s standard through His word!