What Are Our Motives?
Read John Chapter 5
Jn 5:44 How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God ?
What are some of the things we do in order to gain praise from others? Some of those are good things. We strive to do a good job in order to please our bosses. We work at our marriages and our friendships so that they grow stronger and remain strong. There are many good things we do to attract a positive kind of attention for ourselves. Those kinds are also pleasing to God.
However, some of the things we do to gain praise from others are detrimental to our spiritual lives. In today’s scripture passage, Jesus was addressing the religious leaders of His day. Many of them were of high standing in the Jewish world, and were prominent, respected leaders. If they were to accept Christ as being the Son of God and their Savior, they would have to give up their leadership positions and follow a pathway that would have made them unpopular among the majority of their peers. They were more concerned about how to impress one another than they were in impressing the Lord.
What are some of the things we might do today, in order to impress men – things which would be detrimental to our spiritual well-being and our spiritual growth? We could probably make a long list. We won’t, but we will explore some of the things SSA men and woman do which are intended to make ourselves stand out among others.
1. How we dress – As we get dressed for the day, what considerations do we contemplate as we decide what to wear?
2. Our physical appearance – Do we work out and fix our hair just right to please others, or for noble reasons?
3. Our good deeds – Are they done to call attention to ourselves or done in obedience to our Lord?
All of these things have the potential of being pleasing to God. My guess is that many of us spend much of our time attempting to impress others rather than pleasing God. We must be careful to examine our motives to insure that they are noble and honorable to our Lord. Allow me to explore one of these more closely.
Among gay circles, including some who are true Christians, there are a number of men who strive to attain buff, muscular bodies. There is nothing wrong with wanting a healthy body, including strong muscles. But a problem could arise if the drive to attain a muscular, fat-free body becomes a mentally unhealthy obsession. Steps may need to be taken to change motives after careful consideration of the issue.
This is only my observation, not a definite fact: it seems that there are a larger percentage of SSA men versus heterosexuals who work out and build up their physical appearance. I could be wrong. The verse for today gives us a clue as to what possibly is behind an unhealthy attention to one’s looks. I fear that we love praise from men more than the praise that comes from God. There is no question but that we must expend more effort in a desire to please God rather than man. After all, when our lives are over, all of our efforts to please man will be of no value. Only what we have done to please our Savior will have value in eternity.
1Ti 4:8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
Please note – Paul did not suggest that any of us ignore physical training. It is an important aspect of our lives on earth. We need healthy bodies, and if there are steps we can take to improve them, let’s get on it.
Prayer: Examine our motives, Lord. Show us those things we do which are worthless in Your eyes. Give us a desire to build our spiritual house with gold and silver, and discard our wood, hay, and stubble.