“People may be pure in their own eyes, but the Lord examines their motives” (Proverbs 16:2, NLT).
Has the Holy Spirit ever shown you that something you thought you did out of love was actually done for another reason? Perhaps the appearance of an act was loving, but the motive behind it was for less than a loving reason. Something that we do to help another person may appear to be inspired by love, but God examines the heart and knows what really inspired us. We can't escape the fact that the Holy Spirit knows the motive behind our actions. If we are open to His revelation and obedient to His conviction, His power can purify our hearts.
Guilt can be a motive behind an action. We may try to help someone for what we believe is a good reason, but what we do actually becomes an attempt to appease a guilt. God wishes what we do to come from a heart that has been cleansed of guilt and shame. We might also feel forced by circumstance or others to do something that appears totally unselfish and giving. However, deep within we know our motive does not come from a heart that has been broken of selfishness. If we give expecting something in return, then we also give in selfishness. God wishes us to have a cleansed heart with pure motives. “You must each decide in your heart how much to give,” Paul wrote, “and don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure–for God loves a person who gives cheerfully” (2 Corinthians 9:7, NLT). If we give freely in love without weighing our personal cost, our giving comes from a heart that understands the cost of what Christ gave. Freely He gave so that we might freely give. His motive was pure and unrestrained love. Ours should be the same.
Once more I ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the motives of my heart–if my actions are inspired by His love or by any guilt or selfishness. If the least bit of guilt or selfishness is involved, I ask Him to continually expose it and cleanse my heart. “Continually create in me a pure heart, O God,” David prayed, “and always renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). I want no guilty chains that bind. He removes the stain of my guilt (Psalm 51:9) that inspires selfish motive. I want no selfishness that seeks for something in return or places conditional expectations. I must daily examine and allow Him to renew my heart. If I am faithful to seek Him, He is faithful to purify my life. And I will then give cheerfully with pure love and forgiveness, because that is what He has done for me.
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