♣ Our Motives Behind Our Motifs
Posted by Shade of the Moriah Tree
“…not by way of eye-service, as people pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man…” – Ephesians 6:6-7
ALTHOUGH THE ABOVE reference is mainly in context to slaves and masters, it holds as much relevance concerning everything we do, particularly our motives; what makes us do what we do, and what lies behind all our motifs – our designs, our patterns and our desires?
Arthur Neil poignantly said, “Actions speak louder than words, we are told in the axiom: but, with God, motives speak louder than either.” How many of us, who call ourselves Christians, lean on the motto that ‘actions speak louder than words’? We can all ‘play’ the part, look the part and appear convincingly real to others – and sometimes to ourselves – while being a million miles away from sincerity of heart.
David, in Psalm 51, declared, “Behold, You delight in truth in the inward being.” Many of us say we’re dead to ourselves and slaves to Christ, but circumstances reveal otherwise; we may put up a good front, but caught off guard shows who we really are – “Circumstances make a man reveal what spirit he is of. Crises reveal character more quickly than anything else.” – Oswald Chambers. It is truth that God wants to be manifested from the interior to the exterior and not the other way round, and many of us that adorn ourselves on the outside (in conduct) are considered no less than the Pharisees who were ‘white-washed tombs’ by the One who created, reads and reveals our innermost being.
It is not so much what we do as to how we perform that concerns God, and by which He holds each one of us accountable in answering to Him. As Christians we ought to know better than to hide behind our ‘fig-leaves’, thinking that so long as we ‘appear’ right to others then all is well. I wonder how many of us would be willing to appear wrong to others while being right in the eyes of God; what is more important to us? We have never lived in an age, as we do now, where a generation is so infatuated with itself that it lives to please others rather than God; we fear what others think of us rather than what He thinks of us. In our pleasing others, we are only pleasing ourselves. Narcissism describes many churches – filled with members who are lovers of themselves – not lovers of God. It isn’t the world we should be pointing the finger at; how can we call the world to repent when we will not clean up the wrong in our own lives?
We make excuses saying, “We’re not perfect”, but how is it that a past generation of Christians walked in holiness while we – who are more ‘advanced’ – are content to walk in worldliness? We talk a whole lot about justification; we have our brilliant definitions of our legal standing before God, but there’s a whole lot more justifying of our sinning. Many Calvinists today ought to be called Carvenists; they carve away and lighten the call of bearing fruit in keeping with repentance. Antinomians weren’t just around in Paul’s day; today, they’re just more sophisticated and more articulate.
Of course we’re not perfect, but that doesn’t justify being lax in mortifying our members, or allowing sin to reign in our lives. There has not arisen another person better than Paul, who has encapsulated the doctrine of the sovereignty of God in election and salvation (it certainly wasn’t John Calvin who discovered this doctrine as much as Christopher Columbus did not discover America), yet Paul equally emphasised both: justification by faith alone and the outworking of that truth in sanctification. Why is it, in our so-called ‘learned’ generation, we fail to capture the balance; and to be balanced does not imply perfection.
Many say and hide behind the ‘fact’ that only God can read the motives of the heart. True that only He can read them perfectly, but sometimes motives surface themselves in such an obvious way that the odour of them are undeniably potent. Had we been rendering our service to the Lord, and not to man, would jealousy, pride and competition be harboured for long in our hearts? Sometimes our self-confessions are a contradiction, especially when others point out our sin and then we feel dejected, becoming very defensive to even becoming offensive!
Can we bless others without expecting anything in return, and can we pour out as unto the Lord alone? Can we not sulk when no-one gives us attention, especially after having declared that ‘we’re doing it for the glory of God’? Can we serve the Lord in obscurity, content that He alone sees, and can we rejoice when others succeed when we’re going down, not just ‘weep with those that weep’? – even the world does that, and better than some Christians at times! Can we manage to just glorify God without requiring the recognition and praise of others, or is our ‘need of encouragement’ just a cover up for feeding the lusts of our egos?
C.T. Studd – founder of WEC (Worldwide Evangelization Crusade) wrote:
“Learn to scorn the praise of men,
Learn to lose with God;
Jesus won the world thro shame!
And beckons us His road.”
“Learn to scorn the praise of men.” Any Christian talking like that nowadays would result in a cause for serious concern; many would assume they had lost their wits! But do you know that it was such men and women that were mightily used of God on the mission field, and of such where no records exists as to what they accomplished, that only God was aware? “Learn to scorn the praise of men”. Only God’s men and women can do that; it is impossible to even imitate as much as good of a counterfeit we may produce. The only way anyone of us can do such a ‘ridiculous’ thing (in the eyes of the world) is to have a life shattering vision of the glory of God, that man’s praise in comparison would be seen as vain, empty and shallow.
John Nelson Hyde, nicknamed ‘Praying Hyde’, missionary to India said, “The stench of self will frighten souls away.” How much do we inhibit God using us when self remains enthroned? What if our motives really were for the glory of God? Let’s rid ourselves of the pat, clever and clichéd answers that “God uses us anyway, despite our mistakes…” and seriously think how much more would God use us if the beat of our heart was for His glory. There is a difference between being an instrument of God and a servant of God.
“…not by the way of eye-service, as people pleasers, but as slaves of Christ…rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man.”
Our omniscient God is not mocked, before Whom all our motives lie bare; “…for whatever one sows, that he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
Posted on July 13, 2012, in ♣ Devotional and tagged accountable to God, Arthur Neil, C.T. Studd, devotional, Ephesians 6:6-7, fearing God, fearing man, holiness, John Nelson Hyde, Living for the glory of God, living to please God, living to please others, lovers of self, Mark Anthony Williams, motifs, motives, narcissism, Oswald Chambers, Our Motives Behind Our Motifs, praying Hyde, Psalm 51, the praise of man, unconditional giving, Worldliness. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.