Pure Motives


            “Take heed that you don’t do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them.  Or else you have no reward from you Father in heaven.  Therefore when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men.  Assuredly I say to you they have their reward.  But when you do your charitable deed, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.  That your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will himself reward you openly” (Mathew 6: 1-4.)


            Many acts of charity were being done by the religious leaders in the days of Jesus.  Yet the majority of them were doing these works to benefit themselves, rather than to give glory to God.  Jesus identified two types of rewards (motivations) for any good action.  Some were motivated by a desire to please God and be rewarded by Him, and some were motivated by a desire to be acknowledged and rewarded by their peers.  The human heart is a deep and mysterious thing that no man can see in too, and no person can know, except God.  In fact the majority of people don’t completely understand their own motivations for doing good or evil.  God says in scripture, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it.  I the Lord search the heart.” (Jeremiah 17: 9-10.)  Nearly everyone claims to be a ‘good person.’  Only, the majority of people are good because it benefits them in some way.  Some people set out to do something selfless, but before the act is done, they have been corrupted by some selfish motive.  The heart is the battle ground on which worldly and spiritual motives war; symbolized by the left and right hand spoken by Christ in this scripture.  As soon as a pure motive arises within the heart, a selfish motive attempts to corrupt it.  What then is a suggested remedy for this corruption?  Jesus suggests that you make no provision to satisfy your worldly desires, by removing all possible human benefit.  Charity done in secret cannot possibly be rewarded by anyone but God.  Knowing this, it is easy to see why Jesus condemned those who appeared to be the most Godly in His day.  Their actions and their hearts told different stories; that is why they were called hypocrites by Jesus; everything they did was for their own benefit.  Their motives were corrupted [Important to note:  This does not mean that God wants us to do all of our works in secret.  He says in Mathew 5: 16, Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.”  He wants us to always be mindful of our hearts when we do a good work in front of others, and we should always make sure that God gets the credit for that deed.  We must live in this world and God desires us to be constantly doing good works, public and private.]      

            Most churches have teams of talented individuals that lead the congregation in song.  The purpose of a worship team is to direct others in focusing on God.  Sadly, being on stage can lead the pure in heart to begin to desire for themselves, the attention that is God’s.  Many performers shake their hips and dance around on stage; they wear clothing that sparkles and belt out lyrics in a manner that emphasizes their vocal talents rather than God’s worthiness.  The focus is to be placed on God and not a performer.  It is human nature to want to be the center of attention…to receive the admiration of others, but as Christians, we are never to be the center of attention; rather, we are to place all of our attention on God, and attempt to point others toward Him. 

            Christ came to put the focus back on the heart and back on God.  The good action is no longer just the action, but the heart that prompted that action.  How then can we make sure that our hearts are pure?  By practicing.  “How can I practice purity in my heart,” you might ask?  Easy; you make efforts to do things that only God can see.  You take the time to pray when no one is watching; you make giving in secret a new part of your life.  In this way you build your personal relationship with God (free from selfish motives), and that relationship then manifests itself in every area of your life (public as well as private.)

            “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You and we pray that You give us a clean heart Lord, free from the selfish motives of our flesh.  Help us Lord to desire Your rewards above all others, and give us opportunities to give, and to be charitable in secret.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we give You thanks, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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