WHAT ARE THE MOTIVES OF YOUR HEART?
Why do you do what you do? Have you ever thought about it? The Bible has a lot to say about the motives of our heart. A motive is the underlying reason for all of our actions. Proverbs 16:2 says, “All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but their motives are weighed by the LORD.” Because the human heart is very deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9), we can easily fool ourselves about our own motives. We can pretend that we are choosing certain actions for God or the benefit of others, when in reality we have selfish reasons. God is not fooled by our selfishness and is “a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
Human beings can operate from a variety of motivations, often negative. Pride, anger, jealousy, selfishness, revenge, a sense of entitlement, or the desire for approval can all be catalysts for our actions. Any motivation that originates in our sinful flesh is not pleasing to God (Romans 8:8 “So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
God even evaluates the condition of our hearts when we give offerings to Him (2 Corinthians 9:7). Selfish motives can hinder our prayers. James 4:3 says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” Because our hearts are so deceitful, we should constantly evaluate our own motives and be willing to be honest with ourselves about why we are choosing a certain action.
We can even preach, worship and minister from impure motives (Philippians 1:17), but God is not impressed (Proverbs 21:27). Jesus spoke to this issue in Matthew 6:1 when He said, “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” Those involved in ministry must stay alert to this tendency toward selfishness or pride because ministry begun for pure reasons can quickly move into selfish ambition if we do not guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23).
So why do you do what you do? Why do you go to church? Why do you minister? Why do you bring coffee to your spouse in bed only to treat them horribly throughout the day? Why do you clean up the house? Perhaps you use your good works to deflect from your horrible verbal words of accusation and condemnation. You want to mess with your spouse’s mind stating how many good things you do for them all the while you erode their confidence verbally and emotionally. God knows why you do what you do as you cannot fool him. Either you have a good heart and out of that you love people like Christ and have good fruit of the spirit or you have a wounded heart and soul that allows demons access to torment your mind and out of that comes fruit of the flesh and words or actions to hurt others.
I know of many who emotionally abuse and hurt their spouse and only act like they want to change when their abused spouse threatens to separate from them and talk about divorce. But their motivation to change is not real. They act like they need to change but they don’t really believe they need to. They still believe that their issues are their spouse and continue to blame their spouse so they never get delivered from their own demons nor change. Those who actually believe and know that they themselves need to change will actually wholeheartedly pursue getting their soul wounds healed and delivered from their own demons and then will actually change and save their marriage. It all comes down to the intentions of their heart.
It is time to get our soul wounds healed from our past pains, repent for our pride and sin and then we can have godly motivations in our hearts producing good fruit.
Jesus condemned the Pharisees many times because their hearts were prideful and evil even though they did good works for show.
“But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments.”
Matthew 23:5 NKJV
““But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.”
Matthew 23:13-15 NKJV
So when we do things for others we should not be planning to bring up all the things we did for them to guilt people into doing something for us later in return. We should not have ulterior motives to gain something back in return. We should do things with love in our hearts like Christ did for the betterment of others. If you only go to church to look good to your family and friends and check the box off but still have anger in your heart or jealousy and pride then you are going for the wrong motives. To be seen. To judge others who aren’t going. There are many people who attend church but have much hidden sin in their lives and have no intentions of changing. Many men look at pornography during the week or lust after women only to show up in church to make themselves look good to others. God knows our hearts. Many women treat people in controlling or manipulative ways during the week and then get dressed up with makeup on to appear good at church.
““Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.”
Matthew 23:25-26 NKJV
We know of many today in politics who try to appear good all the while living in sin and doing evil and vile things that are an abomination to the Lord.
So be honest today and think about why you do what you do? Are your motives clean and pure. Be honest. Ask Jesus to show you your heart and soul. Pursue forgiving all who have ever hurt you from your heart. Repent for your pride and sin. Command the demons to be gone from your soul. Then you will do things out of a pure heart.