This blog entry begins a series called “ My Confession,” which is aimed at unmasking some common core beliefs that are non-scriptural. Unmasking these inner thoughts and bringing them into His light allows our faith to grow as we take our thoughts captive and align them with His Truth.
Here begins a series of confessions, or transparent acknowledgments of my inner thoughts. The first to come into the light: motives. I share these thoughts because I believe that I’m not alone in them and that aligning them with God’s truth is essential for transformation.
So, in the depth of my heart, beneath the “things I know” and amidst the “things I actually believe in my heart,” I find that sometimes I actually believe that I can do something to deserve God’s blessing. Maybe if I read the Bible more or muster up the strength to wake up a little earlier to pray, then those lifelong dreams of mine will come true. Maybe if I give to those in need, He will give back to me. Maybe if I do _____, He will _____. God looks beyond the service and into the heart. My actions seemed conditional, though not intentionally so. Hands down, most of us know that salvation comes by faith and not by works, but yet many of us still believe that spirituality scores us points on the winning side.
However, this mindset is dangerous because of two primary reasons:
1. It doesn’t allow us to experience the fullness of His grace. I can easily mask my motivation with faith and spirituality, but God unmasked these motives and brought them into the light. He did so at first to show me the extent of His grace. If I even slightly believe that His work in my life is because of me or anything I’ve done, then I don’t know the fullness of His character. He is Grace. And it is by grace that He works in our lives, that He blesses us, that we even have fellowship with Him. He will _____ even if we don’t _____. His grace is beyond what we would even deem fair. But our motive should not be for the gift or what we will get out of it; our motive should be for the Giver – knowing Him, serving Him, obeying Him.
2. It results from prideful and egocentric thinking. God also unmasked this motive to show me my pride. As I realized the greatness of His grace, it humbled me. It is an egocentric, self-centered motive to believe that I can do anything to deserve or win God’s blessings. To follow Christ, I must deny myself. I cannot have my motives in the back of my mind or in the depths of my heart. I must be about His Kingdom, His motives, His glory. I do not serve Him to gain anything. In fact, I’ve had to deny everything valuable to me in my journey with Him. In God’s grace, He blesses us and gives us the desires of our hearts. But our motives must be focused on Him and glorifying His Name. We serve God not so that He can serve us, but so that He can be glorified. We seek God not in hopes that He will bless us, but with the sole purpose of seeing His beauty, glory, and splendor.
Our motives reveal the condition of our hearts. The condition of my heart was pride, and yet His grace humbled me. What are your deepest motives? What is the condition of your heart?