Heart Motivation: It’s a Big Deal to Jesus
Have you ever sat back and wondered why you do they things you do and feel they way you feel?
Delving into the depths of your heart isn’t always pretty but Jesus is there, and you don’t have to be afraid to see the “whys” that may be lurking there.
Recently, God has brought the topic of heart motivation to the forefront of my mind and while it can be a deep and difficult subject to contemplate, it is our core as people. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34, Luke 6:45).
The greatest commandment in the Bible is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. There is nothing more important than making God numero uno in your heart.
Jesus cares more about your heart motivation than you probably realize. Today, I want to invite you on a challenging journey that may begin your adventure of freedom.
The manner in which Jesus spoke to individuals and groups was based on their heart’s motivation, this is made very clear in the difference between how Jesus addressed His followers and the Pharisees.
When the disciples stumbled or didn’t understand something, Jesus spoke to the heart of the issue because He saw where they faltered: “Oh, you of little faith.” He would tell them (Matthew 6:30, 8:26, 14:31, 16:8, 17:20, etc).
Jesus saw that in the disciple’s hearts they wanted to believe, but didn’t understand quite yet. He refrained from calling them names, getting frustrated, or defensive (I mean, they had seen Him do all sorts of miracles), He saw their intentions and addressed the issue at its root. He corrected them in their unbelief, but He did so gently.
Take a minute and open your Bible to Matthew 12:33-40, in this passage Jesus calls the Pharisees (the religious leaders of the day) a “brood of vipers” and a “evil and adulterous generation”! Can you image someone calling your pastor downright evil and a snake? Why would Jesus do such a thing?
Jesus saw their heart motivation and He addresses it in verse 34. He saw that they had evil intentions He confronted them on their false pretenses and was in harsh in His correction because of their evil hearts.
Jesus talks about people’s hearts all through the gospels: Matthew 5:28, Matthew 9:4, Luke 6:8, Luke 9:47, John 1:47, John 2:24, John 6:61, etc. The list goes on.
One of the most poignant things Jesus says about heart motivation can be found in Matthew 15:18-20, “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person.”
Yikes! Have you allowed yourself to be defiled by any of these recently? Do you entertain these thoughts often? Are you beginning to see why the depths of your heart need to be explored? If any of these things lurk there, they could be the motivation behind your actions. And as we have seen, Jesus cares very much about your heart’s motivation.
Let’s get to the heart of it: What drives you to do what you do? You can think about it in the grand scheme of things or in specific situations.
Recently, I had a conversation with a gentleman on a Facebook wall who wanted to challenge me to “keep the faith”. I had never met this man and he knew nothing about me or what I stood for, beyond saying that I was a Christian. By the end of the conversation, he blatantly told me that I was not doing God’s will and that I was in danger of creating a God in my own image. He did all of this because he said he wanted to challenge me to “keep the faith.”
Now, I’m aware that I do not walk according to the Gospel perfectly. On occasion, I do misunderstand God’s Word, that is why I firmly tell people to read Scripture for themselves with the Holy Spirit.
However, I do know that I am not in danger of making a God in my own image for several reasons, but specifically in this situation because there were certain things that I wanted to say to this gentleman that a God in my own image would have justified. The God I serve told me not to say those things and to choose to see this man through His eyes. Not only was obeying God best for this gentleman, but for me as well. It allowed me to be free of his judgement because I know I’m right with God despite his accusation.
Now, challenging people to uphold the Bible as the authority of truth is certainly a noble cause but I knew the manner in which he was doing it was wrong, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then God showed me: This man’s heart motivation was wrong.
He wasn’t challenging me in love, or because he wanted me to walk more freely in the grace of God, or because he knows I am a teacher, or because he wanted to help me from one Bible lover to another, he wanted to win a fight where he would be the victor, not Jesus.
You know what this showed me? The intentions of your heart can turn a good action evil. Do you hear that? Things meant to bring the kingdom glory can bring the enemy glory simply by your heart’s motivation.
One bad apple can turn the whole barrel. Have you ever heard that one?
So, next time you talk to a girlfriend because you see her not walking according to the Word, or you want to react with harsh words because of an unjust comment, think about your why. In everything you do, whether in word or deed, think about your heart’s motivation. If you can determine this and course correct, not only will you walk in more freedom, but you’ll bring joy to your savior’s heart.
For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7 (NKJV)