READ: 1 Chronicles 29:17; Proverbs 21:2, 27; Matthew 6:1, 3-4
“I know, my God, that you test the heart and are pleased with integrity. All these things I have given willingly and with honest intent. And now I have seen with joy how willingly your people who are here have given to you.”
1 Chronicles 29:17 NIV
“A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart.”
Proverbs 21:2 NIV
“The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable— how much more so when brought with evil intent!”
Proverbs 21:27 NIV
““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.
But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Matthew 6:1, 3-4 NIV
Do Our Motives Matter to God?
Our motives matter to God because they expose whether we are working for God or for ourselves. Eventually, selfish and sinful motives produce selfish and sinful behavior. We are all good at coming up with excuses for doing almost anything, but God looks behind the excuses to the motives of our hearts. God wants us to have a teachable heart that has integrity and is pure, joyful, and devoted. This kind of heart honors and delights God. We will never fully achieve these qualities in this life, but we please God when we truly desire a heart like this. We should check our motives by asking, “Would God be pleased with my real reasons for doing this?” and “Would I still be willing to do this if I knew everyone would find out?”
Good Deeds with Bad Motives
We could spend our entire lives doing good deeds, but in the end we would reap a bitter harvest if we do not do them with pure motives. We should do things that will please God and not people, and only get involved with the things we can do with motives that will honor Him.
Our Behavior Flows From Our Hearts
When our motives are selfish or impure, it is only a matter of time before our actions become selfish and impure. God is far more concerned with the condition of our heart than He is with our external behavior. He knows that our behavior flows from our hearts. God alone knows our hearts. We may be able to fool others and ourselves, but we can’t fool God.
More Scripture to Drive the Point Home
The lamp of the Lord searches the spirit of a man; it searches out his inmost being.
All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord.