“All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit.” – Proverbs 16:2

In yesterday’s devotional we talked about Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” This verse is so powerful because it shows us that when we have issues, there is a great chance we have a heart problem. There are so many times in our lives when we are quick to pass the blame for our issues off on some external force, or person, and here the Bible is telling us to look inward and not allow the wrong people access to our lives.

In today’s devotional I want to talk about motives. Or in other words, why do we do what we are doing? Motives are key elements to our decision making and they play a role in keeping us in or getting us out of God’s will for our life. Proverbs 21:2 says, “We can justify our every deed, but God looks at our motives.” (TLB) And Psalm 7:9 says, “End the evil of those who are wicked, and defend the righteous. For you look deep within the mind and heart, O righteous God.”?

Remember the story of mother who went to ask Jesus for an eternal place for her sons at His right and left hands? (Matthew 20:20-28) First she kneeled and then got around to what she really wanted. “And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” But this is not about intentions and motives. Nor is it about the sons of Zebedee and it is not about us. It is all about Jesus. It’s about helping the whole world find and follow Jesus. When His heartbeat and motives become what drives us, there is no limit to what He will do in our lives.

But sometimes we fall into the trap of believing that God does not look at our motives. The fact is, nothing is hidden from God about us. God knows not only our actions, thoughts and words, but He also knows the motives behind them all. Imagine, God knows the raw motives behind everything we do or think. We have no “private” thoughts before God.

Now, this can be scary or freeing, comforting or terrifying, depending on how we understand the gospel. Remember, the gospel changes everything. The gospel says that Jesus came to die for those sinful motives and bring us back into a right relationship with God. The gospel says that through Christ, God has forgiven us of our sinful heart motives. The gospel says that God is working in our heart to change our raw motives and turn them into pure, God-glorifying motives. The gospel is not just to convert us, but to change us daily, from the inside out, from the heart to the hands, every moment of every day.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How often do you question other people’s motives? How often do you question your own motives?
  2. Read 1 Chronicles 28:9: What advice is given to Solomon and to us?
  3. Your heart can’t be trusted. The truth is, if you let it, your heart will direct you down a path that leads to the very spot you most want to avoid. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
  4. How do our motives and intentions determine our direction? We typically don’t drift in good directions. What does it take to get where we want to go?
  5. Read 2 Corinthians 10:3–5: The apostle Paul tells us to take every thought captive, so that it conforms to the will of God. What steps can we take to move in that direction?