Over my next five posts we’ll be asking ourselves some questions as we continue to look at the issue of pride, partially excerpted from my book, Seeing Through the Lies: Unmasking the Myths Women Believe. This week’s question is, What is my motive?
The answer to that question is often complex, and I hate to admit it, but the battle is a life-long process. Even after years of evaluating my heart, I continually struggle to know my motives.
And I’m not alone. Jeremiah 17:9 says, The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Left to their own devices, our hearts cannot be trusted! They require continual comparison to Scripture, evaluation, and confession.
Regardless of what our actions may look like to others, we must look internally. What’s driving me? Why do I want (or NOT want) to do this? Am I following the rules so people will admire me? Or am I following them from a heart of true obedience?
And the one that often gets me: Am I following the letter of the law, while ignoring the spirit of it? If so, I’m just like the Pharisees. In Matthew 23, we see Jesus’ confrontation with the religious leaders and their commitment to following the law with an impure heart. Jesus said (in part):
- Everything they do is done for men to see.
- You give a tenth . . . but have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy, and faithfulness.
- On the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.
In contrast to the Pharisees, Peter rebuked the people when they tried to praise him for healing the crippled beggar. Instead, Peter points to the Father when he says, “Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?” (Acts 3:12)
“Humble yourself . . . Don’t be afraid to seem unimportant in the eyes of people,” says Catherine Martin in her book, Revive My Heart. “Choose to be famous in the secret audience of God. Don’t worry if it seems life is passing you by. Stay at the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ, worshiping and following Him.”
As speakers and writers, it’s so easy to get caught up in the all-consuming goals of more events and more books. I know, because at one time I was entrenched there. After years of writing and accummulating nothing but a stack of rejection letters, I attended Write His Answer, Marlene Bagnull’s writing seminar. During the 2-hour drive up the mountain, I cried out to God, begging Him to let me get published. I even promised I’d do anything if He’d only let me see my name in print.
I had no idea what God had in store. You see, I drove up the mountain begging for publication. But after 24 hours of truly seeking Him, I drove down the mountain a different person, promising I would write…regardless of the outcome. It was no longer about seeing my name in print. It was no longer about receiving praise. I was all about doing what He had called me to do, regardless of the earthly outcome.
David knew the danger of seeking the praises of men. He knew the necessity of a heart examination. In Psalm 139:23-24, he says:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24
Would you join me in praying the prayer David prayed? Asking God to search our hearts will be a daily, continual request, but it will be one that will lead us the way He wants us to go.
And it all begins with the question, “What is my motive?”
Grace and peace,
(Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and Salvatore Vuono)