“Ask all the people of the land and the priests, ‘When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me you fasted?” Zechariah 7:5b
Pure motives are sometimes hard to distinguish. Especially difficult are motives related to religion. Why do we serve God? If gratitude and love are the reasons for our service then our motives are right, but it is not always that easy or clear. Sometimes as committed Christians the lines of pure hearted motivation are blurred. Service for Christ is not to make us feel better about ourselves, rather our service is to glorify our Savior Jesus.
Indeed, service for God with wrong motives can easily lead to burnout, disappointment and disillusionment. An act of service—on behalf of Christ—is not conditional. You hold it with an open hand and with a pure heart you offer your time and money. Your expectations are at peace knowing you have followed the example of Jesus. Your motive is to please and obey Him—it is not for your fame, but for your heavenly Father’s name.
Hence our contentment comes from Christ, not our achievements and the accolades of men. Men may see our righteous acts and want to give us more credit than is deserved. This is the time to publicly reflect the glory back to the Lord. Praise offers the opportunity to privately and humbly thank God for His unmerited favor, mercy and blessing.
It is important to do a motive check of your life. It is a moment-by-moment, day-by-day, and year-by-year process. We are all experts at rationalizing and justifying good results that emerge from shady motives. The methods may even be acceptable, but the reasons are wrong. However, pure motives can be found, as they come from a pure heart. Seek to align your motives with love. Great works can be accomplished, but without the foundation of love we gain nothing in the eyes of God.
“If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing” (I Corinthians 13:3).
Just being in God’s presence tends to purify our motives. So, do all things for Him and His glory. Moreover, let your reward be unseen rather than seen. Then the pure motives represented by gold, silver and precious stones will one day survive God’s revealing fire. It’s all for His needs and their needs. Stay motivated with pure motives for Jesus’ sake!
“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work (I Corinthians 3:11-13).
Prayer: Why do I do what I do in the name of the Lord? Has Christ cleansed my motives?
Related Readings: Proverbs 30:12; 1 John 3:3; Revelation 19:8, 14
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© 2013 by Boyd Bailey. All rights reserved.
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