Motives

Psalm 119:167 “My soul keeps your testimonies; I love them exceedingly.”

Motives mean everything to Christ regarding how we live our lives and how we practice our faith. I Corinthians 13 speaks of those who do what appear to be great things, things that any human being would likely view as awe-inspiring, but that are worthless in God’s sight.  The examples he gives include those who give everything they own to the poor, and a martyr, who might surrender his body to be burned in the flames.  The problem is that people can do such things and not be motivated by love, either love of God or love of their neighbor, the two greatest commandments. 

Some of the misguided or less than loving motivations the Bible gives for doing supposedly good things include doing things so that people notice us and think well of us.  The Pharisees did everything they did, including giving, praying, and wearing religious symbols and clothing so that they would draw attention to themselves, rather than to God.  People can give to others simply because others gave to them, which is just a sense of obligation, not love.  Many people who don’t give God a second thought obey the law of the land, which God commands us to do, but their motive may primarily be so they won’t be punished.

The psalmist, on the other hand, proclaimed that his soul kept God’s testimonies. He loved God’s law.  He looked forward to obeying God from the heart, because he loved God and wanted to please Him with every action of his life.  Jesus rebuked those who “honor me with their lips while their hearts are far from me (Matthew 15:8).”  He called these very religious people “hypocrites” to their faces.  They faithfully attended synagogue, gave, sang, quoted, and even taught the Scriptures, but it was all motivated by something other than a love of God.  They proved this later when they murdered God’s Son. 

May God help us to examine our motives so that “whether we eat or drink or whatever we do, we do all to the glory of God (I Corinthians 10:31).”

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