‘God examines every heart and sees through every motive.’1 Chronicles 28:9 MSG
When Ananias and Sapphira saw their friends in the early Church selling their land and giving the money to the poor, they thought it was a great idea. In theory. So when they sold some land, they kept part of the money back for themselves. And then lied about it. ‘It’s all very lovely, but this is the real world. We’ve got the pet sheep to think about.’ They wanted the spiritual status without any of the personal cost, but Peter saw through it, saying, ‘You have not lied just to human beings but to God’ (Acts 5:4 NIV). Not only were their motives exposed, they both… dropped dead. God was laying down, early on, just how important it is for His Church to stay clear of deceit. This kind of thing unfortunately still floats around the Church. An (unnamed) pastor said: ‘Numerous Sundays I’ve preached a message that deeply moved the members of my congregation. But ironically I’d “prepared” by arguing with my wife on the way to church, or making life miserable for my children. I easily morphed into “the pastor”, becoming instantly spiritual. I was faking … [because] feeling needed, respected, and wanted can become as great a motivation as love for Christ.’ The human brain is pretty good at hiding its own motives. But it’s worth outsmarting – because God is committed to helping you get your motives back on course: ‘God examines every heart and sees through every motive’ (that’s in The Message paraphrase.)
Ask yourself what’s been behind your actions this week. Take ten minutes to free-write (that’s writing whatever’s in your head without caring about spelling or tidiness) about your motives.