WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
OCTOBER 11, 2022
TOPIC: EXAMINE YOUR MOTIVES
BY T. O. BANSO
“It’s true that some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure motives” (Philippians 1:15 New Living Translation).
In your walk with God and relationship with others, always examine your motives. Ensure that you have right or pure motives for whatever you do whether prayer, service, charity, or other things. You may look at certain people today doing some commendable things and pray to be like them but God may not be pleased with them because their motives are not right.
A minister of God can be holding great crusades in different parts of the world, winning souls but his motives can be wrong. In 1 Thessalonians 2:3, Paul told the Thessalonian Christians, “For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you” (New International Version). He also talked about some people preaching the gospel with wrong motives. “It’s true that some are preaching out of jealousy and rivalry. But others preach about Christ with pure motives” (Philippians 1:15 New Living Translation).
Paul explained further: “They preach because they love me, for they know I have been appointed to defend the Good News. Those others do not have pure motives as they preach about Christ. They preach with selfish ambition, not sincerely, intending to make my chains more painful to me” (verses 16-17 New Living Translation).
Nevertheless, Paul said whether Christ was preached in pretense or truth, what mattered was that Christ was preached. Because of this, he rejoiced. God knows everyone’s motives and He will reward everyone accordingly. But how sad it would be for someone to miss his heavenly reward because of a wrong motive!
It is also possible for someone to show kindness to another person but with the wrong motive. He can give not because he loves the person but because he has an impure motive. Paul wrote to the Galatians: “It is a fine thing when people are nice to you with good motives and sincere hearts, especially if they aren’t doing it just when I am with you!” (Galatians 4:18 The Living Bible).
He said in 1 Corinthians 13:3, “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing” (New King James Version). This scripture shows that it is possible to give to someone not because you love the person. However, God wants everything to be done out of love, not with an ulterior motive such as manipulation, control, attention, or fame.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:1-4, “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 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” (New International Version).
Examine your motives. Proverbs 21:2 says, “We can justify our every deed, but God looks at our motives” (The Living Bible). What is your motive in your service as a minister, head of a ministry, steward in church, or staff in your company? God does not look at outward appearance; He looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). He is interested in your motives more than your actions. God looks beyond your actions; He is more concerned about your hearts He goes beyond your actions to examine your motives. Paul says, “He alone examines the motives of our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4c New Living Translation).
Human beings will not always know other people’s motives. Therefore, their judgment can be wrong. The Bible says, “So then, do not judge anything before the time. Wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the motives of hearts. Then each will receive recognition from God” (1 Corinthians 4:5 New English Translation).
According to Proverbs 16:2, “People may be pure in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their motives” (New Living Translation). As 1 Chronicles 28:9b says, the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. “But I know! I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve” (Jeremiah 17:10 New Living Translation). The psalmist asks the LORD in Psalm 26:2, “Put me on trial, LORD, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and affections” (New Living Translation). You will not be able to examine yourself the way God will but you can examine yourself with the help of the Holy Spirit and get rid of wrong motives so that you don’t suffer the consequences.
Human beings may not know your motives unless you tell them. But everybody’s motive is open to the Lord. “The LORD’s searchlight penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive” (Proverbs 20:27 New Living Translation). He tests the heart and mind i-e He knows our thoughts and feelings (Psalm 7:9b). You will have no reward if you have a wrong motive for your good works!
In John 12:1-8, the Bible tells us the wrong motive of Judas when he objected to the use of an expensive ointment by Mary to anoint Jesus. He said it should have been sold and the money given to the poor. That seemed to be a noble idea but the Bible says his suggestion was not because he cared for the poor. He was a thief! He was the one keeping the ministry’s money and used to steal from the money in his custody.
Examine your motives. Get rid of wrong motives in your heart, including wrong motives for projects, programmes, service, giving, testimony, and preaching. Before you pray, examine your motives. “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:3 New International Version).
What is your motive for following a man of God? You can be following a man of God with a right or wrong motive. Could it be that Gehazi had a wrong motive for joining the ministry of the prophet Elisha? The Bible doesn’t say so. Maybe his motive became impure at a point while serving Elisha. “But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, ‘Look, my master has spared Naaman this Syrian, while not receiving from his hands what he brought; but as the Lord lives, I will run after him and take something from him’” (2 Kings 5:20 New King James Version). For pursuing Naaman, lying, and receiving gifts from Naaman when Elisha had earlier refused to collect any gift from him, Gehazi brought upon himself and his descendants forever the leprosy of Naaman (verses 21-27).
In Acts 8, after Simon the sorcerer saw that the Holy Spirit was given following the apostles’ laying of hands upon people’s heads, he offered money to buy this power so that anyone he also laid his hands on would receive the Holy Spirit. Just imagine!
But the Bible says Peter replied, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity” (Acts 8:20-23 New King James Version).
Always examine your motives. Repent of wrong or evil motives. Be guided by right or pure motives in your walk with God and your relationship with human beings.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I repent of my wrong motives in my relationship with You and fellow human beings. Holy Spirit, help me to always keep my motives pure. Father, I pray that everyone with impure and ulterior motives will repent and conduct himself/herself with pure motives henceforth in Jesus’ name.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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