Another way to state this might be the way God Himself said it, “Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7b)
Motives matter. But how often do we weigh our motives with brutal honesty and integrity? I must admit that I am prone to be lazy in assessing or even acknowledging my motives for many of my behaviors. I can easily “drift” through daily life without so much as glancing at the underlying intentions of my heart. I’m not quick to ask myself the question Why? prior to speaking or acting. But it is crucial that I do ask the question because God is more interested in how I manage my inside man than how my behaviors appear to others.
I think if we got honest about our motives for why we do the things we do we would be shocked at how often our intentions are selfish. Again, I’m not trying to beat you up here – the first blows are on my head. But think about it. Why do you get dressed up to go to church? Why do you give a dollar to the man on the street corner? Why do you take your wife out on a date or buy her roses? Why do you ask your largest client how his family is doing? What are the true motives behind the behaviors?
I’m not assuming that all our motives our selfish. That would be to assume that God cannot change our hearts and that we cannot “walk in step with the Spirit.” I just wonder how much time we spend evaluating our motives and asking God to remove the pride and selfishness that is so often present in them. I am fully convinced that if we would properly weigh our motives for the activities we engage in on a daily basis, then the outer self would match the inner self (that part of us in submission to God’s Spirit) and authentic faith would emerge, a faith that is compelling and attractive to a watching world.
It is time we crucify our false faith of self-promoting, image-based motives. Let us offer up our motives to the leading and control of the Holy Spirit and experience genuine love and compassion in an undivided heart. It is this kind of heart the Father seeks and with such a heart He is well pleased.
Desiring authentic faith,