Can you tell when your motives are self-serving rather than humble?
All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord. Proverbs 16:2
Jacob’s motives were methodical. When he was to meet his brother Esau for the first time in twenty years, he sent generous gifts ahead of the family lineup, hoping to pacify his brother so he would receive him.
David’s motives were insane. Literally. When he feared Achish king of Gath and his servants, he pretended to be a madman in their presence.
Ananias and Sapphira’s motives were self-promoting. They lied to God and others to look more generous than they really were.
It’s been said, “What you see is what you get.” Yet how often does what we see, not really line up to the motives of the heart? As we seek to live out our theme verse, He must become greater; I must become less (John 3:30), do we focus on how things appear on the outside or how things really are within?
Have you ever “tried” to look humble . . .
- By how you phrase a prayer request or a Bible study answer?
- By downplaying your spiritual gifts or refusing to do great things for God because you fear what others may think?
- By constantly thinking, “Does this look humble, sacrificial, or godly?”
Oh, my! We simply must get over ourselves and get honest with God. Why do we do what we do? What are our heart motives – really? Is it to please others or to please God? Honestly, we can’t even trust ourselves with these questions for the heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9). Where do we begin?
- Start in prayer. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me (Psalm 51:10). Ask the Father to purify every motive so that the overflow of the heart is for His glory, exaltation, and fame.
- Live for the audience of One. Find out what pleases the LORD and go do that (Ephesians 5:10). That may or may not win the praise of people and that’s OK. Fear God, not people. Do all things for His praise alone.
What motivates you?
Father, any humility we have is the gift of your Holy Spirit. Please, please touch us now with a humble heart, and break our pride and self-dependence. C. John Miller