Imagine that every action you took had a corresponding display of your motives, how would it read…? Would it say ‘this person is authentic’, or ‘I do this stuff to benefit myself regardless of who I hurt’…?
How often do we actually consider our motives? Paul tells us that there will come a time when, “we must all be made manifested before the tribunal of the Christ, that each one may receive the things [done] through the body, in reference to the things that he did, whether good or evil” (2 Corinthians 5:10 YLT).
To be made manifest is to be unveiled… revealing what has been hidden in the silent; inner reaches of our own hearts (1 Cor 4:5). This is the unveiling of our motives, the why we did something. God’s concern is not so much with what we do, but the why for which we did it. There are many ‘right’ actions that are displeasing to the Lord because they were done for selfish and manipulative reasons. The key revelation that is being unveiled here is ‘do we rely on ourselves and eliminate God from all aspects of our life, or do we ‘crucify our will with Christ’ and look to His indwelling Spirit for leading, discernment, courage, and strength to do what glorifies God…?
Underlying all this, the writer of Hebrews warns us that “without faith it is impossible to please Him (God)” (Heb 11:4); Therefore, faith must be present in our motives and actions or they are not pleasing to God. My reaction to this is ‘how much of all I have done just got eliminated from the ‘Good’ side of my scales…?’
If pleasing God and being unashamed at this tribunal of Christ is what concerns you, there is something you can do about it now. Paul writes, “If we judge ourselves truly, we should not be judged” (1 Cor 11:31). The judgment seat of Christ, in this sense has already started when we hold ourselves accountable by considering our motives and ‘putting off’ what is self seeking and ‘putting on’ what glorifies God. Jesus is the perfect example of this, specifically when He prays in the garden, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42). The litmus test for whether I am ‘self seeking’ or ‘God glorifying’ is asking ‘do my motives and actions correlate with God’s Word and The Spirits leading, as Jesus’ did.
The mark of spiritual growth in one’s life is; first, the increasing awareness of all the possibilities and potential for evil that lies in our hearts. And, second, the willingness to put off our control and allow Christ to live through us by being obedient to His perfect will. There is nothing more powerful or influential in this life than a willing soul who desires to please God by faith. This is the precious gift Jesus has given us; an example and testimony (The Gospels) of how to live. And “we can know that we have come to know him (like this) if we keep his commands. Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.”
But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them.
This is how we know we are in him (and putting off our selfish ambition): Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did” (1 John 2:3-6 NIV). Let us take a hard look at ourselves and ask the tough questions about our motives; in doing so may His judgments begin today so we are not ashamed when we are ‘unveiled’ for All to see.
May God be glorified as we… choose wisely…
Praying 4 U
Written by David Brown: David Brown is a husband, father, grandfather, Pastor with a Masters of Religious Studies and a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions. Dave is the Associate Pastor of Pemberton’s First Baptist Church. He is the author of two devotional books, “From a Chair by the Window.” And “#PrayerWinsThe Day”.
Think About This: “In moments when you wish you knew what you can’t know, there is rest to be found. There is One who knows.” ―