"The LORD is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear?"

- Psalms 27 : 1

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Verse Of The Week : Motives of The Heart

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Sometimes we think we believe we are in the right and our decisions & ways deserve nothing more than a round of applause. We look back at our previous choices and our heart swells with satisfaction just by thinking about how good, right, kind, successful [...] we have been. We think, I've done it right this time; I'm in the right and nobody can reproach me. 
Well, I was one of those kind of people that used to think that way. I'd look back and feel this sort of peace knowing I have not done anything worth reproaching. It feels good.

Until I read Proverbs 16 : 2:

"All a person's ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord"

If that didn't send chills running down your spine, it certainly did mine.
This verse clearly tells us that there are times we do feel our ways are right and the we are irreproachable when in fact, we might be in the wrong and guilty before God. Of course, when we feel like this, it is because we truly feel we are irreproachable not because we are purposely doing what is not right and justifying it. That's wickedness. This verse speaks about those that believe they are pure before God when in fact, they are not. This means our stand with God is not dictated by our feelings. It's not because we feel we are in the right that we necessarily are. Of course our conscience testifies for or against us [1 Corinthians 1 :12] but there are times where our conscience will not probe us yet we are not necessary in right standing beforeGod though we may think so.
1 Corinthians 4 : 4 rightly states that 
"My conscience is clear but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me"

The first question we need to ask is why?
It's simple. Man's nature is evil. Romans 7:20-24 speaks about this human nature :
" Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law;  but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.  What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?"

It is man's innate nature to do evil. The heart by nature is evil as Jeremiah 17:9 says :
"The heart is deceitful beyond cure. Who can understand it?"
It is in man to do evil. Ever since sin came through Adam & Eve in the garden of Eden, evil began working in man and it only through Christ that we can be delivered from this nature [Romans 7:25].

This leads us to draw out 3 other conclusions from our verse based on what we now know :

1. Man's standards are not God's standards. Isaiah 55:8 - 9 sums it all up saying :

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord.“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways    and my thoughts than your thoughts."
What God requires from us is not necessarily what we require from ourselves. Our notions are not His notions. The only way to know God's requirements is by reading His word.

2. Evil begins with our heart not our acts. It's not just what we do but also what we devise in our minds. It's not enough to say "well I thought about doing it but didn't so I'm good". The fact that one thinks about evil is already evil. You don't even have to execute it, you already hatched it. Proverbs 23 : 7 tells us so :
 "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he".
So it's not just about the actions, in fact, the actions are just the peak of the iceberg, the biggest part of it is what lies underneath...in our hearts.

3. The motives behind everything we do/say matters a lot. To God, yes. To man, maybe not. A few years ago, I was listening to a debate about doing good but also having the right motives. THis struck me. I'd always been the one to love helping others out however, after listening to that debate, I started to dig deep in myself about what my real motives for my "good works" were. I was shocked at what I found. You see, it's not enough to want to help another brother/sister if the only reason you are doing it is so you can be applauded by the world.
As Matthew 6:2 says :
"So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full"
 And likewise, it doesn't mean anything if you show an act of kindness to a your neighbor if there is no love behind but only want to do it to fulfill all righteousness. Whatever we do is this world, we really need to do it with the right motives because you may be doing "good" but your motives may be all wrong. The worst part of it is, most times, we do not realize our motives are not right. Don't forget that righteousness is not through works but rather in obedience to God [Romans 2 : 13]. No matter what you do, you can never gain righteousness. Our works can never buy us heaven. It is only through Christ. So now that we know that. What is obeying God? It is obeying His word and His word speaks about love, humility and selflessness. If these are the motives behind our actions, then we will be pure before Him.
The common motives that replace these three godly motives are :

- pride
- self-centerdness 
- greed
- human/godly recognition
- selfish ambition
- promotion
- applause from men
- respect from men

We might think we are in the right but if these things are the motives behind our actions, no matter how great they are, it amounts to nothing. God is the one that truly searches out every corner of our hearts and He knows us better than we know ourselves.

I didn't know that some of my motives fell under this category...it took God mirroring the contents of my own heart in awesome ways for me to see what was truly in my heart. It's scary but I give myself to God because I cannot change me but He can and I thank Him because He is already at work in me.

Let your prayer be : Lord, I realize that I cannot be righteous by my own works. I cannot obtain it by works but in obedience to you. Please forgive me for getting it wrong in the past. Lord please search the depths of my heart and open my eyes to see those things that truly lurk within. Give me the grace to surrender them to you so you may mould me according to your will. May my standards be your standards and may my ways be always pleasing & pure to you. Amen.

2 comments:

  1. What i've just red was actually powerful! I can't wait to see the next verse of the week
    .This page made my day

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Shana. ALL the glory belongs to God alone!!
      So glad the post was of help.
      God bless you dear

      Delete

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