Why do my motives even matter?
From 1 Samuel: A 6-Week Devotional
A young man helping an elderly lady cross the street because he wants to ensure her safety has an honorable motive. However, if this same young man was helping an elderly lady cross the street so he could steal her wallet we’d say his motive is detestable.
Our motives matter because God cares more about who we are becoming than what we are achieving. Our motives determine what we do, who we are, and who we will become.
Every person, in every generation, since the beginning of humanity has experienced moments where their motives are put to the test. In 1 Samuel 18, King Saul became jealous of David, the best friend of his son Jonathan. Saul was used to getting all the attention, so David's growing popularity was just too much for Saul to handle.
Motives give meaning to our behaviors.
Saul began scheming of ways he could kill David. One of these ways was offering David the privilege to marry one of the king’s daughters—if David could prove himself worthy. Saul figured David would be forced to go to battle to achieve this honor. Perhaps, Saul thought, the Philistines would kill David then Saul would be most popular once again.
Motives give meaning to our behaviors. God knew the true motives of Saul’s heart were to harm David. Just as God knew the motives of David’s heart were to be humble and honorable.
Psalm 26:2 says, “Test me, Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind.”
One of the best ways to keep our motives pure is to ask God to show us the real reasons we do the things we do. Because when we consider our motives before taking action, we are more likely to act in a way that honors Jesus.
- How can we tell if our motives are more like Saul, selfish and harmful, or like David, genuine and honorable?
- Why is it important to test our motives before posting a comment online or responding in a conversation?